Ben Carson HUD

Emma Best filed this request with the Department of Housing and Urban Development of the United States of America.
Tracking # 17-FI-HQ-00395
Est. Completion None
Status
Fix Required

Communications

From: Michael Best

To Whom It May Concern:

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

Records from 2015 and 2016 relating to or mentioning Ben Carson, including communications received from or sent to Mr. Carson, as well as emails mentioning him.

I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I have previously written about the government and its activities for AND Magazine, MuckRock and Glomar Disclosure and have an open arrangement with each. My articles have been widely read, with some reaching over 100,000 readers. 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 the non-profit Internet Archive, 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. Additionally, case law states that “proof of the ability to disseminate the released information to a broad cross-section of the public is not required.” Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Dep’t of Justice, 365 F.3d 1108, 1126 (D.C. Cir. 2004); see Carney v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 19 F.3d 807, 814-15 (2d Cir. 1994). Further, courts have held that "qualified because it also had “firm” plans to “publish a number of . . . ‘document sets’” concerning United States foreign and national security policy." Under this criteria, as well, I qualify as a member of the news media. Additionally, courts have held that the news media status "focuses on the nature of the requester, not its request. The provision requires that the request be “made by” a representative of the news media. Id. § 552(a)(4)(A)(ii)(II). A newspaper reporter, for example, is a representative of the news media regardless of how much interest there is in the story for which he or she is requesting information." As such, the details of the request itself are moot for the purposes of determining the appropriate fee category.

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,

Michael Best

From: McGirt, Eugene A

Hello,

HUD already has a FOIA request from Dylan Tull of MuckRock asking for the same information.

This is a duplicate request.

From: Michael Best

1. Regardless of whether or not someone else requested it, you are not permitted to deny my request simply because a similar one is processing. This is true if I use MuckRock to file the request or if I use Gmail to email you the request - another Gmail user with a similar request would not be grounds to ignore mine.
2. The requests are NOT duplicates. Mine has a greater scope. Dylan Tull requested "All the Housing and Urban Development emails that mention Ben Carson." That is only the final component of my request, which was "Records from 2015 and 2016 relating to or mentioning Ben Carson, including communications received from or sent to Mr. Carson, as well as emails mentioning him." Are you unable to see how these are not duplicates?

If, however, you refuse to process the request then I request a formal rejection letter so that I may immediately appeal the matter and/or go to OGIS.

From: McGirt, Eugene A

Hello,

1. If this were a duplicate request, from the same company, you would be referred to the request number of the prior submission.

2. However, you are correct, your scope is broader since you are requesting records beyond just emails.

Therefore, your request will be given a request number and processed.

From: Michael Best

They are sent using the same service/company, not sent by the same company - Dylan and I do not share an employer. However, thank you for acknowledging they are not, in fact, duplicate requests. I am very glad that you were willing to compare the actual texts of the requests.

From: Harding, Adrienne

Good afternoon Mr. Best,
Please see the attached response to your recent FOIA request.
Thank you

From: Harding, Adrienne

Good morning Mr. Best,

I am working on your request. I will have a more definitive response for you next week. I hope this information is helpful.

Thank you,

Adrienne R. Harding
Government Information Specialist
FOIA Branch
Office of the Executive Secretariat
201-402-3379

From: Harding, Adrienne

Good afternoon Mr. Best,

I spoke with the department that is working with me on your request. They are still gathering the information you requested. As soon as I receive the information, I will forward it to you. I hope this information is helpful.

Thank you,

Adrienne R. Harding
Government Information Specialist
FOIA Branch
Office of the Executive Secretariat
201-402-3379

From: McGirt, Eugene A

Dylan,

I have been on rotation in the Office of Hearings since February.

Do you still need the information?

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