National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

OGIS helps to resolve three-year old FOIA request

From Matt Ehling, Public Record Media, via Twin Cities Daily Planet:  In keeping with our mission, PRM aspires to be a comprehensive requester of public records. We not only submit a wide variety of data requests to government agencies, but we also pursue each through to its resolution, in order to ensure the integrity of Freedom of Information (FOI) processes at both the state and federal level.

The ways in which FOI requests resolve vary widely. Sometimes, agencies fulfill their statutory obligations without outside prompting. Our experience has shown that Minnesota state agencies fall into this category more often than not. At the same time, it should be noted that other requesters that we correspond with have encountered frequent problems with some of Minnesota’s county and municipal entities.


When agencies fail to respond in a timely fashion, FOIA requesters have the option of filing an administrative appeal with the agency, or going to district court to force compliance. As an example, PRM used both the administrative and litigation tracks to obtain documents from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services after a response delay of nearly eleven months.