An enlightening comparison for federal FOIA costs:


During FY 2016, 4,263.76 “full-time FOIA staff” were devoted to the administration of the FOIA throughout the government. 5 The total estimated cost of all FOIA related activities across the government was $514,614,589.00. Nearly 93% ($478,455,050.17) of the total costs was attributed to the processing of requests and appeals by agencies.

Roughly 7% was reported to have been spent on litigation-related activities. By the end of the fiscal year, agencies reported collecting a total of $3,870,921.51 in FOIA fees. The FOIA fees collected in FY 2016 amounts to less than 1% of the total costs related to the government’s FOIA activities.

Source: DOJ Summary of Annual FOIA Reports for Fiscal Year 2016.


Now compare that number with American Halloween spending of over $3 billion:


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