|FBI/DOJ FOIA consult
|Aug. 26, 2019
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To Whom It May Concern:
Pursuant to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act., I hereby request the following records:
Copies of any emails, letters, memos or other records of consultations regarding public records requests (FOI/FOIL/FOIA etc.) with either the Department of Justice, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Agency components.
I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I have previously written about the government and its activities, with some reaching over 100,000 readers in outlets such as Gizmodo, MuckRock, Motherboard, Property of the People, Unicorn Riot, and The Outline, among others. As such, as I have a reasonable expectation of publication and my editorial and writing skills are well established. In addition, I discuss and comment on the files online and make them available through non-profits such as the library Internet Archive and the journalist non-profit MuckRock, disseminating them to a large audience. While my research is not limited to this, a great deal of it, including this, focuses on the activities and attitudes of the government itself. As such, it is not necessary for me to demonstrate the relevance of this particular subject in advance.
As my primary purpose is to inform about government activities by reporting on it and making the raw data available, I request that fees be waived.
The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.
In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 5 business days, as the statute requires.
ILLINOIS STATE POLICE
Office of the Director
JB Pritzker Brendan F. Kelly
Governor Acting Director
RESPONSE TO FOIA REQUEST
August 29, 2019
Re: FOIR #19-2613 Response
Dear Ms. Best:
Thank you for writing the Illinois State Police ("ISP") with your request for information pursuant to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 ILCS 140/1 et seq. The ISP acknowledges receipt of your FOIA request dated August 26, 2019. (See attached request).
Your request, in part, states:
"Copies of any emails, letters, memos or other records of consultations regarding public records requests (FOI/FOIL/FOIA etc.) with either the Department of Justice, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Agency components" (emphasis added).
Please clarify the exact records that you are requesting. Your use of the phase "etc." creates an ambiguity on whether these are the only documents that you are requesting or merely examples. Please also do not use abbreviations unless you have previously in your request stated the meaning of the word. Some abbreviations are well know, for example, "FOIA." This presumably means the Freedom of Information Act, 5 ILCS 140/1 et seq. However, it could also refer to the federal FOIA. Please clarify. Please also clarify the meaning and citation of "FOI and "FOIL."
Finally, your request did not include a date range. Please include a time date range for your request. Without a date range, the request is unduly burdensome.
Section 3(g) of FOIA, in relevant part, provides:
(g) Requests calling for all records falling within a category shall be complied with unless compliance with the request would be unduly burdensome for the complying public body and there is no way to narrow the request and the burden on the public body outweighs the public interest in the information. Before invoking this exemption, the public body shall extend to the person making the request an opportunity to confer with it in an attempt to reduce the request to manageable proportions. If any public body responds to a categorical request by stating that compliance would unduly burden its operation and the conditions described above are met, it shall do so in writing, specifying the reasons why it would be unduly burdensome and the extent to which compliance will so burden the operations of the public body. Such a response shall be treated as a denial of the request for information.
Repeated requests from the same person for the same records that are unchanged or identical to records previously provided or properly denied under this Act shall be deemed unduly burdensome under this provision. (5 ILCS 140/3(g)).
The lack of clarity on the actual records you are requesting and the number of records that could conceivably be responsive to your request would burden the operations of the public body. The burden on the public body outweighs the public interest.
The FOIA Officer, or his designee, must review the records for responsiveness and exemptions before providing a final response. The FOIA Unit would need to exercise careful judgment and expend a tremendous amount of personnel hours to review these documents. The time required for this request would result in delays for other FOIA requests and contribute to a backlog of FOIA requests. Consequently, the burden on the public body outweighs the public interest in these records. Therefore, the ISP is extending to you the opportunity to clarify and reduce your request to manageable proportions. If you fail to notify the ISP within five (5) business days of your proposal to reduce the request to manageable proportions, your request will be deemed denied.
You have the right to have the decision of the ISP reviewed by the Public Access Counselor ("PAC") at the Office of the Attorney General (5 ILCS 140/9.5(a)). You can file your Request for Review with the PAC by writing to:
Public Access Counselor
Office of the Attorney General
500 South 2nd Street
Springfield, Illinois 62706
Fax: (217) 782-1396
If you choose to file a Request for Review with the PAC, you must do so within 60 calendar days of the date of this letter (5 ILCS 140/9.5(a)). Please note that you must include a copy of your original FOIA request and this letter when filing a Request for Review with the PAC.
You also have the right to seek judicial review of the decision of the ISP by filing a lawsuit in the State circuit court (5 ILCS 140/11).
Freedom of Information Officer:
Bruce A. Kugler
Illinois State Police
801 S. Seventh St., Suite 1000-S
Springfield, Illinois 62703
State of Illinois - CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: The information contained in this communication is confidential, may be attorney-client privileged or attorney work product, may constitute inside information or internal deliberative staff communication, and is intended only for the use of the addressee. Unauthorized use, disclosure or copying of this communication or any part thereof is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender immediately by return e-mail and destroy this communication and all copies thereof, including all attachments. Receipt by an unintended recipient does not waive attorney-client privilege, attorney work product privilege, or any other exemption from disclosure.