The State Department says is it overwhelmed by an increasing number of Freedom of Information Act requests, which it is struggling to process, Politico reports.
Adding to the deluge of requests, FOIA lawsuits have risen 60 percent over the last fiscal year, Politico noted of the increases, which if continued at the current pace could hit a 93 percent increase by year's end.
A total of 73 lawsuits against the State Department were pending as of March 31, Politico said. Of those, 29 came in within the past month.
In one response to a lawsuit motion, according to Politico,
the department noted that "State is proceeding under a crushing workload of FOIA matters … Given its extremely high FOIA workload, State must constantly balance its resources and priorities to satisfy the multiple demands placed on it by numerous litigation deadlines and administrative FOIA processing requirements."
Added Politico of the backlog: "FOIA delays beget litigation. Many of the suits might never have been filed if State had replied in a more timely way to the original requests."
The Center for Effective Government in March awarded the State Department a grade of "F" for processing FOIA requests, Politico noted.
The Department of Health and Human Services also received an "F."
The group's Sean Moulton called
the State Department "dead last in both processing the requests, which is the biggest piece of our scorecard, and they also had the worst regulations, old, outdated and insufficient regulation. In terms of processing, I would say they are abysmal in their timeliness."
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