Today, Cause of Action, a government accountability organization, released the report, “Grading the Government,” a case study in federal agency transparency. In conjunction with, the report is a prototype for an ongoing project to evaluate the efficacy of federal agencies in the FOIA process.

Cause of Action submitted identical FOIA requests to 16 different federal agencies in April 2012. This report examines their responses, and assigns grades on their compliance with FOIA law. The report found that the majority of the agencies are not compliant, averaging the grade of a “C-“.

Among the worst offenders was the Department of Commerce who earned an “F” for failure to produce any documents in response to our request. The Department of Defense, who initially informed us they had no way of tracking the information we were seeking also earned an “F”.

The Department of Education was the only agency to earn an “A”, yet that grade was generous; the average response time for all offices within the agency was 45 days still fifteen days longer than the permitted FOIA timeline.

“What Grading the Government shows is an inconsistency at best, and a failure at worst, by federal agencies in not just compliance with the President’s pledge for transparency, but compliance with basic FOIA protocol,” said Dan Epstein, Executive Director. “Failure by these agencies to disclose documents is a failure in their service to the American taxpayers who fund them and rely on them to be accountable and transparent.”

To download a copy of the report and review the rest of the grades awarded, visit