FOIA Facts: The Crazy World of FOIA Fees
Scott Hodes discusses how the issue of FOIA fees may be the most complex area of an already confusing subject. There are multiple agencies involved in overseeing the issue and in general the money collected doesn’t help agency FOIA operations in the least. He clarifies that most agencies only collect a fraction of what it costs for them to process FOIA requests. Further, even if they broke even on their FOIA processing, the money does not go to them. In most cases, requesters write out checks to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, not the individual agencies processing the requests. The money goes to the general treasury fund, the same fund payments for n income taxes go to. Agencies do not get this money back, so charging exorbitant FOIA processing fees does not help their bottom line.