The Freedom of Information Act allows any person to file a request for government documents — but two in every three requests to the City of Hartford come from either a lawyer or a reporter.
The city posts a list of every request on its data portal, which is what we analyzed. (The list of FOI requests to the state are tougher to piece together, since each agency keeps their own list. Perhaps that’s a project for another time.)
Here’s how the FOI requests break down.
|Type of organization||Requests|
|no organization listed||46|
|engineering / environmental / construction||24|
There were 252 requests filed from February 2014 to March 2015, and 102 of the filers reported affiliation with a media organization. The Hartford Courant filed 24 of the requests, and NBC Connecticut filed 15. Many of them relate to law enforcement, the courts and the New Britain Rock Cats, the minor league baseball team with plans to move to Hartford.
People reporting affiliation with legal firms accounted for 55 of the requests, often asking for recordings of legal proceedings, police records and information relating to specific properties.
Engineering, construction and environmental companies also made a handful of requests, mostly asking for information on specific properties.
About 77 percent of requests are marked as “complete,” as of last week, but 17 percent are still open and the rest, largely requests for police data, were referred to specific departments.
Image courtesy of Niklas Bildhauer, used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license