FOILS to New York City’s Mayoral Agencies Outnumber those to City Council 500 to 1

December 16, 2015

In 2013, New York City mayoral agencies (like NYPD, DOT etc) received 50,000 Freedom of Information Law requests and the City Council under 100. (One report says Council received a total of 77 FOILs.) Mayoral agencies get so many more FOIL requests because they perform many more functions which immediately effect the FOILing public, including providing public services and issuing contracts. The New York City Council is a highly functional legislature and makes many decisions which directly effect the general public and powerful interests. Still, the council gets very few FOIL requests.

Governor Cuomo recently vetoed two bills which would have strengthened FOIL. He claimed that the bills were unfair because they, and FOIL, do not apply to the state legislature. The governor has subsequently asserted that extending FOIL to the legislature is the highest priority for strengthening FOIL. Based on this robust sample of NYC FOIL, the public does not agree. Fixing the FOIL we have – which is being widely disregarded and abused by local governments, public authorities, and state agencies – is a far higher priority.

In NYC, the executive gets 500x more FOILs than the legislature:

foil priority