All communications between Darin Selnick and officials at the VA

Jasper Craven filed this request with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs of the United States of America.
Tracking #

18-04203-F

17-13183-F

Status
Completed

Communications

From: Jasper Craven

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

All e-mail communications between Darin Selnick, Veteran Affairs Advisor at White House Domestic Policy Council, and employees at the VA between Jan. 20, 2017 and current day

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 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Jasper Craven

From: Johnson, Doloras F.

Mr. Craven,
I have attached an update to your FOIA request.

Ms. Doloras Johnson
VA FOIA Service-Office of Privacy Information and Identity Protection (PIIP)
Quality, Privacy, and Risk (QPR)
Office of Information and Technology (OIT)
Phone: 202-632-7233
Fax: 202-632-7581
Hotline: 1-877-750-3642

From: Jasper Craven

Good evening,

As the request for clarification was rather vague itself, let me try and be more clear:

I am requesting all email communications between Darin Selnick, (described on LinkedIn as Veteran Affairs Advisor at White House Domestic Policy Council https://www.linkedin.com/in/darin-selnick-a0419b5/) and the 17 VA leadership staff mentioned in this link: https://www.va.gov/opa/bios/ I am requesting all communications between Jan. 20 and present day. Please give me a call at 802-274-0365 if you require further clarification, and thanks for the diligent work on this.

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Craven,
I have attached an update to your request.

Ms. Doloras Johnson
VA FOIA Service-Office of Privacy Information and Identity Protection (PIIP)
Quality, Privacy, and Risk (QPR)
Office of Information and Technology (OIT)
Phone: 202-632-7233
Fax: 202-632-7581
Hotline: 1-877-750-3642

From:

November 13, 2017

Via email: requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

Mr. Jasper Craven
MuckRock - Dept. 44249
411 A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516

This is an acknowledgment, fee category, and deadline extension to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated October 18, 2017, and received in this FOIA office on November 8, 2017. You requested:

· "...all email communications between Darin Selnick, (described on LinkedIn as Veteran Affairs Advisor at White House Domestic Policy Council) and 17 VA leadership staff mentioned in this link: https//www.va.gov/opa/bios between the dates of January 20, 2017 and present."

Your request has been assigned FOIA Tracking Number 18-00974-F. Please refer to it whenever communicating with the VA about your FOIA request.

Initial Agency Findings

The VA's FOIA operations are decentralized. As stated in Mr. John Buck's November 1, referral letter your original request will be processed by a number of VA Offices. Our office will only be processing information as it relates to the Executive Director, OALC; Mr. Gregory Giddens.

"Media-Use" Fee Category

I placed you in the "media-use" requester fee category, for which we charge duplication fees only after the first free one hundred (100) pages, and the VA does not collect FOIA duplication fees below $25.00. 38 C.F.R. § 1.561(e)(5), (f), and (g). "For other forms of duplication, including electronic copies, the FOIA Officer will charge the direct costs of that duplication." 38 CFR § 1.561(d)(2). "Direct costs include, for example, the salary of the employee performing the work (the basic rate of pay for the employee, plus 16 percent of that rate to cover benefits costs)..." 38 C.F.R. § 1.561(b)(3). At this time I do not see this request incurring any fees, should this change our office will notify you in advance.

Deadline Extension

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

A no responsive documents response.

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

November 29, 2017

Via email: requests@muckrock.com

Mr. Jasper Craven
MuckRock - Dept. 44249
411 A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516

This is an update and clarification request to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated October 18, 2017, and received in this FOIA office on November 8, 2017. You requested:

• “…all email communications between Darin Selnick, (described on LinkedIn as Veteran Affairs Advisor at White House Domestic Policy Council) and 17 VA leadership staff mentioned in this link: https//www.va.gov/opa/bios between the dates of January 20, 2017 and present.”

Your request has been assigned FOIA Tracking Number 18-00974-F. Please refer to it whenever communicating with the VA about your FOIA request.

FOIA REQUEST PLACED "ON HOLD" PENDING FURTHER CLARIFICATION

The FOIA provides that agencies are to search for records responsive to FOIA requests that "reasonably describe" the records requested. 38 C.F.R. § 1.554(d)(1)-(3)

Essentially, the Office of Automation/E-Messaging Services (OAE) will search for records responsive to a FOIA request when that request describes the records sought so that a professional agency employee familiar with the subject area may identify the records that would be responsive to the FOIA request and locate those records with a "reasonable amount of effort". For example, a request for any and all e-mails between two parties is not considered a reasonably described request, and would impose an unduly burdensome search responsibility on OAE.

The FOIA provides that the requester must describe the records sought in enough detail to allow VA personnel to locate them with a reasonable amount of effort. To the extent possible, the requester should include specific information about each record sought, such as the date, title or name, author, recipient, and subject matter of the document. Generally, the more information the requester provides about the record sought, the more likely VA personnel will be able to locate any responsive records. Wide-ranging requests that lack specificity, or contain descriptions of very general subject matters, with no description of specific records, may be considered "not reasonably described" and thus not subject to further processing.
We have determined that your FOIA request does not reasonably describe the records with sufficient particularity for OAE employees to identify and search for the records with a reasonable amount of effort. I am seeking clarification of your request to ensure that a search conducted by OAE is focused on locating the records you seek.

Specifically, I am requesting clarification of the following, the title and/or subject matter of the e-mails you seek.

In accordance with VA's implementing regulations, found at 38 C.F.R. § 1.554(d)(4), I am providing you with 30 calendar days to provide clarification on your request. If I have not heard from you by January 10, 2018, I will assume that you are no longer interested in pursuing your request and will take the appropriate measures to administratively close your request. Please keep in mind that the timeframe, which our office has to respond to your FOIA request does not run while we wait for your response to our request for clarification.

Should you have any questions concerning this letter or the processing of this request please contact me at patricia.litewski@va.gov or 202-461-6923?

VA FOIA Public Liaison, OGIS & Appeal Options

The undersigned processed your request. Should you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding the processing of this request, you have the right to seek assistance from the VA FOIA Public Liaison at 1-877-750-3642 or by email at vacofoiase@va.gov.

Additionally, as part of the 2007 FOIA amendments, the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) was created to offer mediation services to resolve disputes between FOIA requesters and Federal agencies. You may contact OGIS by email at ogis@nara.gov; by toll-free telephone at 1-877-684-6448 (or 202-741-5770); by facsimile at 202-741-5769; or by writing to: Office of Government Information Services, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, Room 2510, College Park, MD 20740-6001.

Should you disagree with these findings, you may administratively appeal in writing to: General Counsel (024), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20420. You must file your appeal within 90 days from the date of this letter clearly marking both the letter and the envelope “Freedom of Information Act Appeal.” Please include a copy of this letter with your appeal, and state why you disagree with this determination.

If you are dissatisfied with any appeal results, judicial review will thereafter be available to you in the United States District Court of your residence, principal place of business, or the District of Columbia where the records you seek are located.

Sincerely,

Patricia Litewski

Patricia Litewski
Deputy FOIA Officer
Office of Acquisition, Logistics & Construction

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Good Afternoon Mr. Craven,

Attached to this message is VHA's acknowledgment of your FOIA Request. Ms. Amber Smith will be processing your request and her contact information is listed on the attached letter. Please let me know if you should have any questions.

I would kindly appreciate your confirmation of receipt of this email. A hard copy of the attached letter will not follow in postal mail unless specifically requested by you.

V/R,

Mrs. Tracy R. Cephas, Staff Assistant
VHA Central Office FOIA Office
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Office: 202-461-5879
Fax: 202-273-9387
Email: Tracy.Cephas@va.gov<mailto:Tracy.Cephas@va.gov>
[http://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?&id=HN.608020842350182619&w=300&h=300&c=0&pid=1.9&rs=0&p=0]
"I am a Disabled Army Veteran and former Army Civilian and I CARE!"

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

A no responsive documents response.

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

A no responsive documents response.

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

December 22, 2017

Via email: requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

Mr. Jasper Craven
MuckRock - Dept. 44249
411 A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516

This is an update and deadline extension to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated October 4, 2017, received in this FOIA office on November 8, 2017, and clarified on November 30, 2017. You requested:

1. "Email communications between Executive Director, OALC; Mr. Gregory Giddens and Mr. Darin Selnick, (described on LinkedIn as Veteran Affairs Advisor at White House Domestic Policy Council) between the dates of January 20, 2017 and present day.

2. Search terms to include: "congress," "veteran," "VA Choice Act," "concerned veteran," "hospital," "privatization," "accountability," "community care," "trump," "VA", "meeting," and any combination of "Darin Selnick."

Your request has been assigned FOIA Tracking Number 18-00974-F. Please refer to it whenever communicating with the VA about your FOIA request.

Initial Agency Findings

Our office has located 70 pages of responsive documents to your request; we have completed our initial review and determined that Mr. Darin Selnick is considered a White House employee. As such the documents are considered of interest to the White House and our office must consult with the White House FOIA staff prior to release.

Deadline Extension

On December 26, 2017, our office will formally request that the White House FOIA office provide this FOIA office with a review the records, mark any proposed redactions, state the exemption(s) they would claim for each proposed redaction, and return the records, along with their proposed redactions to us, by January 16, 2018.

While we can request the records be returned to us by a specific date, we cannot dictate that they meet this date. It is our sincere hope to provide you with a final response as soon after as possible once the records are received. Our office will provide you with an update to this request no later than January 16, 2018.

Should you have any questions concerning this letter or the processing of this request please contact me at patricia.litewski@va.gov<mailto:patricia.litewski@va.gov> or 202-461-6923.

VA FOIA Public Liaison, OGIS & Appeal Options

The undersigned processed your request. Should you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding the processing of this request, you have the right to seek assistance from the VA FOIA Public Liaison at 1-877-750-3642 or by email at vacofoiase@va.gov<mailto:vacofoiase@va.gov>.

Additionally, as part of the 2007 FOIA amendments, the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) was created to offer mediation services to resolve disputes between FOIA requesters and Federal agencies. You may contact OGIS by email at ogis@nara.gov<mailto:ogis@nara.gov>; by toll-free telephone at 1-877-684-6448 (or 202-741-5770); by facsimile at 202-741-5769; or by writing to: Office of Government Information Services, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, Room 2510, College Park, MD 20740-6001.

Should you disagree with these findings, you may administratively appeal in writing to: General Counsel (024), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20420. You must file your appeal within 90 days from the date of this letter clearly marking both the letter and the envelope "Freedom of Information Act Appeal." Please include a copy of this letter with your appeal, and state why you disagree with this determination.

If you are dissatisfied with any appeal results, judicial review will thereafter be available to you in the United States District Court of your residence, principal place of business, or the District of Columbia where the records you seek are located.

Sincerely,

Patricia Litewski

Deputy FOIA Officer
Department of Veterans Affairs
Office of Procurement Policy Services
425 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Office: (202) 632-5952
Cell: (202) 697-3655

Week 1

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Office 202.632.5952
06:00-03:30 EST

Telework 202-697-3655 06:00-03:30

Office 202.632.5952
06:00-03:30

Telework 202-697-3655 06:00-03:30

CWS/RDO

Week 2

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Current
Week

Office 202.632.5952
06:00-03:30 EST

Telework 202-697-3655 06:00-03:30

Office 202.632.5952
06:00-03:30

Telework 202-697-3655 06:00-03:30

Office 202.632.5952
06:00-03:00

These messages and attachments are For Official Use Only, not to be shared outside intended parties, and may be exempt from disclosure pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(3) prohibiting the release of information that another statute prohibits; 41 U.S.C. § 4702(b) prohibiting the release of unincorporated proposals; 41 U.S.C. § 423(a) prohibiting the release of bid or proposal information or evaluations before award; 26 U.S.C. § 6103 prohibiting the release of tax identification numbers; 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(4) prohibiting the release of confidential commercial information; 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5) under the deliberative process, attorney-client, and work product privileges; and 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6) protecting personally identifiable information. If you received these messages and attachments in error, you must inform the FOIA Officer and destroy them immediately. The VA reserves its discovery rights including, but not limited to, objections, privileges, motions, etc.

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From:

January 22, 2018

This is a follow up to request number 18-01717-F:

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Oct. 4, 2017. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #18-01717-F.

Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.

Filed via MuckRock.com
E-mail (Preferred): requests@muckrock.com
Upload documents directly: https://www.muckrock.com/accounts/agency_login/department-of-veterans-affairs-119/all-communications-between-darin-selnick-and-officials-at-the-va-44249/?email=Patricia.Litewski%40va.gov&uuid-login=55b39c2d-08b4-42ab-a5a7-d521957d8c16#agency-reply
Is this email coming to the wrong contact? Something else wrong? Use the above link to let us know.

For mailed responses, please address (see note):
MuckRock News
DEPT MR 44249
411A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516

PLEASE NOTE: This request is not filed by a MuckRock staff member, but is being sent through MuckRock by the above in order to better track, share, and manage public records requests. Also note that improperly addressed (i.e., with the requester's name rather than "MuckRock News" and the department number) requests might be returned as undeliverable.

---

On Dec. 22, 2017:
December 22, 2017

Via email: requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

Mr. Jasper Craven
MuckRock - Dept. 44249
411 A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516

This is an update and deadline extension to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated October 4, 2017, received in this FOIA office on November 8, 2017, and clarified on November 30, 2017. You requested:

1. "Email communications between Executive Director, OALC; Mr. Gregory Giddens and Mr. Darin Selnick, (described on LinkedIn as Veteran Affairs Advisor at White House Domestic Policy Council) between the dates of January 20, 2017 and present day.

2. Search terms to include: "congress," "veteran," "VA Choice Act," "concerned veteran," "hospital," "privatization," "accountability," "community care," "trump," "VA", "meeting," and any combination of "Darin Selnick."

Your request has been assigned FOIA Tracking Number 18-00974-F. Please refer to it whenever communicating with the VA about your FOIA request.

Initial Agency Findings

Our office has located 70 pages of responsive documents to your request; we have completed our initial review and determined that Mr. Darin Selnick is considered a White House employee. As such the documents are considered of interest to the White House and our office must consult with the White House FOIA staff prior to release.

Deadline Extension

On December 26, 2017, our office will formally request that the White House FOIA office provide this FOIA office with a review the records, mark any proposed redactions, state the exemption(s) they would claim for each proposed redaction, and return the records, along with their proposed redactions to us, by January 16, 2018.

While we can request the records be returned to us by a specific date, we cannot dictate that they meet this date. It is our sincere hope to provide you with a final response as soon after as possible once the records are received. Our office will provide you with an update to this request no later than January 16, 2018.

Should you have any questions concerning this letter or the processing of this request please contact me at patricia.litewski@va.gov<mailto:patricia.litewski@va.gov> or 202-461-6923.

VA FOIA Public Liaison, OGIS & Appeal Options

The undersigned processed your request. Should you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding the processing of this request, you have the right to seek assistance from the VA FOIA Public Liaison at 1-877-750-3642 or by email at vacofoiase@va.gov<mailto:vacofoiase@va.gov>.

Additionally, as part of the 2007 FOIA amendments, the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) was created to offer mediation services to resolve disputes between FOIA requesters and Federal agencies. You may contact OGIS by email at ogis@nara.gov<mailto:ogis@nara.gov>; by toll-free telephone at 1-877-684-6448 (or 202-741-5770); by facsimile at 202-741-5769; or by writing to: Office of Government Information Services, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, Room 2510, College Park, MD 20740-6001.

Should you disagree with these findings, you may administratively appeal in writing to: General Counsel (024), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20420. You must file your appeal within 90 days from the date of this letter clearly marking both the letter and the envelope "Freedom of Information Act Appeal." Please include a copy of this letter with your appeal, and state why you disagree with this determination.

If you are dissatisfied with any appeal results, judicial review will thereafter be available to you in the United States District Court of your residence, principal place of business, or the District of Columbia where the records you seek are located.

Sincerely,

Patricia Litewski

Deputy FOIA Officer
Department of Veterans Affairs
Office of Procurement Policy Services
425 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Office: (202) 632-5952
Cell: (202) 697-3655

Week 1

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Office 202.632.5952
06:00-03:30 EST

Telework 202-697-3655 06:00-03:30

Office 202.632.5952
06:00-03:30

Telework 202-697-3655 06:00-03:30

CWS/RDO

Week 2

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Current
Week

Office 202.632.5952
06:00-03:30 EST

Telework 202-697-3655 06:00-03:30

Office 202.632.5952
06:00-03:30

Telework 202-697-3655 06:00-03:30

Office 202.632.5952
06:00-03:00

These messages and attachments are For Official Use Only, not to be shared outside intended parties, and may be exempt from disclosure pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(3) prohibiting the release of information that another statute prohibits; 41 U.S.C. § 4702(b) prohibiting the release of unincorporated proposals; 41 U.S.C. § 423(a) prohibiting the release of bid or proposal information or evaluations before award; 26 U.S.C. § 6103 prohibiting the release of tax identification numbers; 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(4) prohibiting the release of confidential commercial information; 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5) under the deliberative process, attorney-client, and work product privileges; and 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6) protecting personally identifiable information. If you received these messages and attachments in error, you must inform the FOIA Officer and destroy them immediately. The VA reserves its discovery rights including, but not limited to, objections, privileges, motions, etc.

---

On Dec. 14, 2017:
A no responsive documents response.
---

On Dec. 13, 2017:
A no responsive documents response.
---

On Nov. 30, 2017:
An interim response, stating the request is being processed.
---

On Nov. 29, 2017:
Good Afternoon Mr. Craven,

Attached to this message is VHA's acknowledgment of your FOIA Request. Ms. Amber Smith will be processing your request and her contact information is listed on the attached letter. Please let me know if you should have any questions.

I would kindly appreciate your confirmation of receipt of this email. A hard copy of the attached letter will not follow in postal mail unless specifically requested by you.

V/R,

Mrs. Tracy R. Cephas, Staff Assistant
VHA Central Office FOIA Office
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Office: 202-461-5879
Fax: 202-273-9387
Email: Tracy.Cephas@va.gov<mailto:Tracy.Cephas@va.gov>
[http://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?&id=HN.608020842350182619&w=300&h=300&c=0&pid=1.9&rs=0&p=0]
"I am a Disabled Army Veteran and former Army Civilian and I CARE!"

---

On Oct. 4, 2017:
To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

All e-mail communications between Darin Selnick, Veteran Affairs Advisor at White House Domestic Policy Council, and employees at the VA between Jan. 20, 2017 and current day

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 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Jasper Craven

Filed via MuckRock.com
E-mail (Preferred): requests@muckrock.com
Upload documents directly: https://www.muckrock.com/accounts/agency_login/department-of-veterans-affairs-119/all-communications-between-darin-selnick-and-officials-at-the-va-44249/?email=Patricia.Litewski%40va.gov&uuid-login=55b39c2d-08b4-42ab-a5a7-d521957d8c16#agency-reply
Is this email coming to the wrong contact? Something else wrong? Use the above link to let us know.

For mailed responses, please address (see note):
MuckRock News
DEPT MR 44249
411A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516

PLEASE NOTE: This request is not filed by a MuckRock staff member, but is being sent through MuckRock by the above in order to better track, share, and manage public records requests. Also note that improperly addressed (i.e., with the requester's name rather than "MuckRock News" and the department number) requests might be returned as undeliverable.

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Good Morning Mr. Craven,

Our office is not processing FOIA No. 18-01717-F as stated in the subject line, that request is being processed by Ms. Anita Major for an update on that request you may e-mail her at VACO FOIA Service Inbox vacofoiase@va.gov<mailto:vacofoiase@va.gov> for more information.

In regards to the body of your e-mail our office is processing FOIA No. 18-00974-F. As my colleague Mr. Ha stated in our update of 1/17/2018 (see attached) our office is still waiting for a reply from the White House FOIA Office. Once we receive that reply we will be able to further update you.

Respectfully,

Patricia D. Litewski
Deputy FOIA Officer
Procurement Policy Services (OALC-PPS)
Department of Veterans Affairs | Central Office | Washington, DC
Office: 202.632.5952 | Mobile: 202.697.3655 | Email: patricia.litewski@va.gov<mailto:patricia.litewski@va.gov>
Telework: Tuesday and Thursday | Compressed Work Schedule: 1st Friday

These messages and attachments are For Official Use Only, not to be shared outside intended parties, and may be exempt from disclosure pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552. If you received these messages and attachments in error, you must inform the FOIA Officer and destroy them immediately. The VA reserves its discovery rights including, but not limited to, objections, privileges, motions, etc.

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Hello Mr. Craven, the attached FOIA No. 18-01717-F dated December 14, 2017 was forwarded to the MuckRock address. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
Thanks,

Anita L. Major
Program Analyst
Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs
Resource Management Staff (002B)
(202) 461-7440

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Craven,

Attached is the OGC response to your FOIA request dated October 18, 2017.

Thank you for your continued interest in the VA.

M. Renee Baxter
M. Renee Baxter
FOIA, Records and Privacy Officer, BSBA
Office of General Counsel
810 Vermont Avenue, NW, Room 1175P
Washington, DC 20024-0001
FOIA Requester Service Telephone: 202-461-7860

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

March 22, 2018

Via email: requests@muckrock.com

Mr. Jasper Craven
MuckRock - Dept. 44249
411 A Highland Ave<https://maps.google.com/?q=411+A+Highland+Ave+Somerville,+MA+02144&entry=gmail&source=g>
Somerville, MA 02144<https://maps.google.com/?q=411+A+Highland+Ave+Somerville,+MA+02144&entry=gmail&source=g>-2516

This is the initial agency decision to your FOIA request dated October 4, 2017 and received in this FOIA office on November 8, 2017, our search cutoff date. You requested "all email communications between Darin Selnick, (described on LinkedIn as Veteran Affairs Advisor at White House Domestic Policy Council) and 17 VA leadership staff mentioned in this link: https//www.va.gov/opa/bios between the dates of January 20, 2017 and present."

On November 30, 2017, upon our request for clarification, you clarified, "Search terms should include: 'congress,' 'veteran,' 'VA Choice Act,' 'concerned veteran,' 'hospital,' 'privatization,' 'accountability,' 'community care,' 'trump,' and any combination of Darin Selnick." You also clarified, "please also include the search terms 'VA' and 'meeting.'"

Please refer to FOIA 18-00974-F when communicating with the VA OALC FOIA office about your FOIA request for emails between Mr. Selnick and Gregory Giddens, Principal Executive Director of the Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction. To clarify, other VA FOIA offices will issue separate responses to you with respect to emails between Mr. Selnick and the other sixteen (16) VA senior leaders.

Reasonable Searches

On November 8, 2017, we requested that Martha Davis, the VA Chief of OA/E-Messaging Services, search for all responsive emails within the electronic mailboxes of Gregory Giddens. Ms. Davis provided us responsive records.

On November 8, 2017, we also requested Mr. Gregory Giddens, Principal Executive Director of the VA Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction, submit all responsive records in his possession and VA electronic mailboxes to us. This search yielded responsive records.

Initial Agency Decision

We now release six (6) emails and their attachments totaling forty-two (42) pages, Bates-numbered 001-026 and 055-070. 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5) exempts from required disclosure "inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters which would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the agency." Under the deliberative process privilege, VA redacted deliberative policy discussions, notes, drafts, and discussions on those notes and drafts; VA also withheld in full the draft VA Agency Reform Plan, Bates-numbered 027-054. None of this withheld information reflects final agency decisions or documents. Further, the release of the withheld information would negatively impact the ability of federal employees to openly and frankly consider issues amongst themselves when evaluating and analyzing government programs. Moreover, the predecisional character of a document is not altered by the passage of time. Bruscino v. BOP, No. 94-1955, 1995 WL 444406 at *5 (D.D. C. May 15, 1995), aff'd in part, No. 95-5212, 1996 WL 393101 (D.C. Cir. June 24, 1996).

5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6) exempts from required disclosure "personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." In applying Exemption 6, we conducted a balancing test weighing the privacy interests of the individuals named in a document against the public interest in disclosure of the information. The public interest in disclosure is one that will "shed light on an agency's performance of its statutory duties." DOJ v. Reporters Comm., 489 U.S. 749, 773 (1989). Information withheld consists of names, phone or facsimile numbers, email addresses, and personal signatures of federal and contractor employees. None of these employees is currently a VA Senior Executive. Disclosure could expose employees to forgery, fraud, identity theft, and harassment. The redacted information reveals nothing about how the agency performs its statutory duties.

Should you request additional information under the FOIA or believe that additional information or records are responsive to this FOIA request, the VA is entitled to charge additional processing fees at $64.33 per hour accordingly.

VA FOIA Public Liaison, OGIS & Appeal Options

The undersigned processed your request. Should you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding the processing of this request, you have the right to seek assistance from the VA FOIA Public Liaison at 1-877-750-3642 or by email at vacofoiase@va.gov<mailto:vacofoiase@va.gov>.

Additionally, as part of the 2007 FOIA amendments, the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) was created to offer mediation services to resolve disputes between FOIA requesters and Federal agencies. You may contact OGIS by email at ogis@nara.gov<mailto:ogis@nara.gov>; by toll-free telephone at 1-877-684-6448 (or 202-741-5770); by facsimile at 202-741-5769; or by writing to: Office of Government Information Services, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, Room 2510, College Park, MD 20740-6001.

Should you disagree with these findings, you may administratively appeal in writing to: General Counsel (024), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20420. You must file your appeal within 90 days from the date of this letter clearly marking both the letter and the envelope "Freedom of Information Act Appeal." Please include a copy of this letter with your appeal, and state why you disagree with this determination.

If you are dissatisfied with any appeal results, judicial review will thereafter be available to you in the United States District Court of your residence, principal place of business, or the District of Columbia where the records you seek are located.

Sincerely,

Richard Ha, JD, CIPP/G

VA FOIA Officer

Office of Acquisition, Logistics & Construction

Attachments

Six (6) emails and their attachments totaling forty-two (42) pages, Bates-numbered 001-026 and 055-070

Richard Ha, JD, CIPP/G
OALC FOIA Officer, Procurement Policy Services (OALC-PPS)
US Dept of Veterans Affairs
202-632-5286 o
202-445-8261 Iphone
202-343-1434 f
Richard.ha1@va.gov<mailto:Richard.ha1@va.gov>
Telework MW
CWS every 2nd Fri

These messages and attachments are For Official Use Only, not to be shared outside intended parties, and may be exempt from disclosure pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(3) prohibiting the release of information that another statute prohibits; 41 U.S.C. § 4702(b) prohibiting the release of unincorporated proposals; 41 U.S.C. § 423(a) prohibiting the release of bid or proposal information or evaluations before award; 26 U.S.C. § 6103 prohibiting the release of tax identification numbers; 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(4) prohibiting the release of confidential commercial information; 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5) under the deliberative process, attorney-client, and work product privileges; and 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6) protecting personally identifiable information. If you received these messages and attachments in error, you must inform the FOIA Officer and destroy them immediately. The VA reserves its discovery rights including, but not limited to, objections, privileges, motions, etc.

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Good morning Mr. Craven,

On Monday, June 11, 2018, I reported to duty as the new FOIA/Privacy Officer for the Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (OSVA). I am processing your FOIA request (18-00361-F) dated October 5, 2017 and received in this FOIA Office on October 10, 2017. You requested, "All email communication between Darin Selnick, VA Advisor at White House Domestic Policy Counsel and 17 VA Executive Leadership staff located on the VA website." To clarify, the VA Office of the Secretary would respond only for email communication between Darin Selnick on one hand and the other, the VA Secretary, VA Deputy Secretary, and VA Chief of Staff. Other VA FOIA Offices would issue their own responses for records located within their respective offices.

We seek clarification as to whether you are still interested in your FOIA request. Please kindly consider whether the requested information is still newsworthy. Withdrawing this FOIA request would mean that we could process your more recent FOIA requests quicker. If we do not receive this clarification within thirty (30) days, we will conclude that you are no longer in pursuing your FOIA request. 38 C.F.R. § 1.558(d)(4).

So that you may receive your requested information (if any exists) quicker, we also seek clarification as to whether you are willing to narrow your FOIA request by time period, topic, or custodians of responsive records.

Your FOIA request also presents "unusual circumstances" because we must search for responsive records, collect them from, and consult with VA field offices and components and because records are voluminous. Thus, we take the deadline extension. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(B)(i) & 38 C.F.R. § 1.556(c)(i)-(iii).

Regards,

Richard Ha, JD, CIPP/G
OSVA FOIA/Privacy Officer

Richard Ha, JD, CIPP/G
OSVA FOIA/Privacy Officer
Office of the Executive Secretary, Office of the Secretary (OSVA)
U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs
202-632-5286 o
Richard.ha1@va.gov<mailto:Richard.ha1@va.gov>

These messages and attachments are For Official Use Only, not to be shared outside intended parties, and may be exempt from disclosure pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(3) prohibiting the release of information that another statute prohibits; 41 U.S.C. § 4702(b) prohibiting the release of unincorporated proposals; 41 U.S.C. § 423(a) prohibiting the release of bid or proposal information or evaluations before award; 26 U.S.C. § 6103 prohibiting the release of tax identification numbers; 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(4) prohibiting the release of confidential commercial information; 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5) under the deliberative process, attorney-client, and work product privileges; and 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6) protecting personally identifiable information. If you received these messages and attachments in error, you must inform the FOIA Officer and destroy them immediately. The VA reserves its discovery rights including, but not limited to, objections, privileges, motions, etc.

From: Jasper Craven

Richard,

I'm happy to withdraw this request under the agreement that other outstanding FOIA requests of mine are addressed quicker. Do you have time to touch base on those requests? I'm working on a news deadline, and would love some sense of when these other requests will realistically be processed. Thanks!

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Good morning Mr. Craven,

As long as I’m not being recorded (I’ve been recorded before at a previous job), we can speak at 10AM or later today. I show three (3) more recent OSVA FOIAs from you: 18-07982-F, 18-07084-F, and 18-03943-F. I show 18-04203-F as belong to NCA (National Cemetery Administration), but I think you meant OSVA FOIA 18-03943-F.

For 18-03943-F, by the end of next week at the latest, we were planning on producing about one thousand (1000) redacted pages concerning either internal VA emails amongst VA senior executives mentioning CVA, or emails between VA senior executives and CVA. If it helps, I might be able to expedite to middle of next week or even end of this week.

Regards,

Richard Ha, JD, CIPP/G
OSVA FOIA/Privacy Officer
Office of the Executive Secretary, Office of the Secretary (OSVA)
U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs
202-632-5286 o
Richard.ha1@va.gov<mailto:Richard.ha1@va.gov>

These messages and attachments are For Official Use Only, not to be shared outside intended parties, and may be exempt from disclosure pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(3) prohibiting the release of information that another statute prohibits; 41 U.S.C. § 4702(b) prohibiting the release of unincorporated proposals; 41 U.S.C. § 423(a) prohibiting the release of bid or proposal information or evaluations before award; 26 U.S.C. § 6103 prohibiting the release of tax identification numbers; 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(4) prohibiting the release of confidential commercial information; 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5) under the deliberative process, attorney-client, and work product privileges; and 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6) protecting personally identifiable information. If you received these messages and attachments in error, you must inform the FOIA Officer and destroy them immediately. The VA reserves its discovery rights including, but not limited to, objections, privileges, motions, etc.

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Craven,

The purpose of this email is to communicate the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Central Office Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Office's response to your October 19, 2017 FOIA request. Please refer to the attached First partial initial agency decision letter and responsive document.

Unless specifically requested by you, a hard copy of the attached documents will not be mailed via postal mail.

If I can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact me at (319) 530-7694.

Sincerely,

Amber Smith, CIPP/US, CIPP/G
VHA FOIA Officer | Information Access and Privacy Office
Office of Health Informatics (10A7)
810 Vermont Avenue, N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20420
Tel. (319) 530-7694 | Fax (202) 273-9387

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Good afternoon Mr. Craven,

This correspondence is in reference to FOIA #18-09699-F, in which you requested all email communications between Darin Selnick and the our PDAS Mr. Dat Tran. I have attached a copy of the only email conversations between the two.

Truly appreciate you interest in VA and if you require additional information concerning FOIA #18-09699-F, please contact me at 202-461-5325 or Belinda.alvies@va.gov<mailto:Belinda.alvies@va.gov>.

Thank you,
Belinda

Belinda K. Alvies
Office of Enterprise Integration
Department of Veterans Affairs
202-461-5325/5800

Files

pages

Close