Download the entire report in
Adobe PDF format (927 KB)
Note: Many documents on this Website are in
Adobe PDF format.
You will need to download and install the free Adobe
Acrobat Reader to view.
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (DOC)
19 DAYS TO RESPOND TO ARCHIVE; OUTSTANDING REQUESTS AS
OLD AS 10 YEARS
|Recordkeeping Issues - DOC's FOIA Office indicated
that it had to contact each of the Department's components
in order to assemble the collection of the Ten Oldest FOIA
|Ten Oldest - DOC responded within 19 business days
with requests dating from December 28, 1993 to December 12,
2000. Seven of these were from the last quarter of 2000 and
were primarily from environmental and public interest organizations.
The oldest request relates to records that pertain to export
controls on cryptography and includes an extensive list of
the issues and types of records encompassed within the request.
It appears on its face quite complex. The second oldest request
is also quite complex, detailing 22 names, subjects, companies
and issues relating to Loral Space and Communications Ltd.
(which was the subject of an export violation investigation
during the Clinton Administration) about which records are
sought. The remaining requests concern the Atlantic Pelagic
Fisheries, Ocean Dunes Off Highway Vehicle Area and Pismo
State Beach in San Luis Obispo County California, a contract
with Allied Signal, the Marble Mountain Ranch and its owners,
applications and pre-application communications by Sierra
Pacific Industries for a Habitat Conservation Plan, the status
and number of bluefin tuna and the number of annual fishing
permits issued, and observer data from the 2000 Experimental
|Workload Statistics - Although DOC's reported statistics
from 1998 through 2002 indicate that the agency has received
a decreasing number of FOIA requests (down 9.5% from 2366
in 1998 to 2142 in 2002), some of the interim years had lower
numbers than 1998 or 2002. The number processed each year
has remained close to the number received and also has decreased
(down 9.6% from 2283 processed in 1998 to 2063 processed in
2002), although some of the interim years had lower numbers
than 1998 or 2002. DOC's processing rate per year - a comparison
of the number processed to the number received - decreased
from 96.49% in 1998 to 96.31% in 2002.
|Backlog Statistics - DOC's backlog of pending FOIA
requests has increased (from 157 FOIA requests pending at
the end of 1998 to 298 FOIA requests pending at the end of
2002). DOC's backlog as a percentage of FOIA requests processed
each year has increased from 6.88% in 1998 to 14.44% in 2002.
Its backlog rate per year -- a comparison of the number of
requests pending at the end of the year to the number received
during that year -- has increased from 3.13% in 1998 to 13.91%
|Processing Time - Under its two track system, DOC
reported processing times within the statutory timeframes
for simple requests (12 days in 2002). Processing times for
complex requests have ranged from 30-54 days in the 1998-2002
period, with 45 days reported for 2002. Expedited requests
have a median processing time range of 3-8 days over the 1998-2002
time period, with none reported for 2000 or 2002. The backlogged
requests are reported as pending for a median of 55 days.
As demonstrated by the Ten Oldest FOIA Requests provided,
however, some requests wait far longer; some of the Ten Oldest
FOIA Requests have been pending at least 2400 business days.
DOC March 24,
DOC July 17,
21, 2000 Letter
2, 2000 Letter
13, 2000 Letter
30, 2000 (1) Letter
30, 2000 (2) Letter
3, 2000 Letter
17, 2000 Letter
12, 2000 Letter