Expert: Government ‘Playing Games’ with Public Records Requests

"It just shows a callous disregard for their obligation to the public to be accountable financially," First Amendment Attorney Tom Kelley said. "That’s a charade."

In November and December of 2006, 9Wants to Know filed two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The station wanted to learn if news tips were true that the TSA transferred some injured screeners to different government jobs and paid them two salaries.

On Aug. 20 and Oct. 7 of this year, the government sent two replies. The first contained 306 pages of information that was incomplete and didn’t contain the records requested. The station had to resubmit the first request, asking again for the correct information. The TSA has still not replied with the information, which was originally requested four years ago.

The TSA forwarded 9NEWS’ second information request to the US Department of Labor. The department replied in a letter this week that in order to give the station the information it wanted, government workers being paid $40 an hour would have to manually review 59,083 claims, which would take 29,541 hours and cost $1,181,660.
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