Communication records between USDA and Corn Refiners Association

Alex Kotch filed this request with the Department of Agriculture, Food, Nutrition and Consumer Sciences - FNCS of the United States of America.
Tracking #

2018-FNS-02453-F

Est. Completion None
Status
No Responsive Documents

Communications

From: Alex Kotch

To Whom It May Concern:

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

All communications between anyone affiliated with the USDA and anyone affiliated with the Corn Refiners Association, from Nov. 1, 2016 to the present, regarding appointments to the USDA. Of particular interest is the appointment of Kailee Tkacz, former director of food policy at the Corn Refiners Association and now a policy adviser at the USDA whom Sec. Sonny Perdue appointed in July 2017. The search should include, but not be limited to, communications to and from USDA officials Kailee Tkacz, Sonny Perdue, Brandom Lipps and Maggie Lyons, and communications to and from the Corn Refiners Association's John Bode, Christina Martin, Julia Gustafson, Allison Cooke, Cassandra Kuball and Keniece Barbee. Corn Refiners Association employees have email addresses ending in corn.org.

All communications between USDA officials Kailee Tkacz, Brandon Lipps, Maggie Lyons or Sonny Perdue and anyone affiliated with the Corn Refiners Association, from July 1, 2017 to the present. Corn Refiners Association employees have email addresses ending in corn.org.

All communications between USDA officials Kailee Tkacz, Brandon Lipps, Maggie Lyons or Sonny Perdue and anyone affiliated with the SNAC International, from July 1, 2017 to the present. SNAC International employees have email addresses ending in snacintl.org.

All communications between USDA officials Kailee Tkacz, Brandon Lipps, Maggie Lyons or Sonny Perdue and anyone affiliated with the National Grocers Association, from July 1, 2017 to the present. National Grocers Association employees have email addresses ending in nationalgrocers.org.

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.

Please see my fee waiver request:

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes. I am requesting a waiver of all fees under 5 U.S.C. Section 552(a)(4)(A)(iii). The information I seek is in the public interest because it will contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government. This request is not a commercial request -- it is being made by a journalist and is seeking documents of clear public interest and concern.
I believe I meet the criteria for a fee waiver recognized by the U.S. Justice Department - and by the federal courts, See Project on Military Procurement v. Department of the Navy, 710 F. Supp. 362 363, 365 (D.C.D. 1989).

My request concerns the operations or activities of government because the records relate to the health of every American. The records that are responsive to this request will spotlight the way that officials and outside forces influence public policy.

Also, the information sought has informative value, or potential for contribution to public understanding. Please note the decision in Elizabeth Eudey v. Central Intelligence Agency, 478 F. Supp. 1175 1176 (D.C.D. 1979) (even a single document has the potential for contributing to public understanding). As an experience independent journalist, I plan to disseminate this information to the public at large through publication in one of the more than 20 outlets that have published my work. Those award-winning publications get millions of visitors per month.

In your deliberations, please take note of the following cases: Campbell v. U.S. Department of Justice, 334 U.S. App. D.C. (1998)(administrative and seemingly repetitious information is not exempt from fee-waiver consideration); Project on Military Procurement (agencies cannot reject a fee waiver based on the assumption that the information sought is covered by a FOIA exemption; and Landmark Legal Foundation v. Internal Revenue Service, 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21722 (D.C.D. 1998)(the fact that the information will soon be turned over to a public body does not exempt the material from fee-waiver consideration).

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,

Alex Kotch

From: Department of Agriculture, Food, Nutrition and Consumer Sciences - FNCS

Hello, Please see attached your FOIA acknowledgement letter. If youhave any questions, please let me know at FOIA@fns.usda.gov REMINDER: Please do not reply to this email directly, asthis email is not monitored by the FOIA Officer. To ensure a prompt and secureFOIA response, send all FOIA requests, FOIA appeals, any FOIA questions to FOIA@fns.usda.gov. Thank you, Jennifer

From: Department of Agriculture, Food, Nutrition and Consumer Sciences - FNCS

Good Afternoon,
This is in response to your request below dated February 14, 2018 and received in our office on February 15, 2018. Your request was assigned tracking # 2018-FNS-02453-F. Your request was referred to the Department FOIA Service Center (FSC) for processing as the individuals mentioned in the request are employees of the Office of the Secretary. Although your request was referred to the Department FSC, FNS also conducted an electronic search using the names and email domains mentioned in your request. Concluding the search, no responsive records were identified.

You have the right to appeal this determination. You may appeal by writing to the Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service at 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302 or by email to FOIA@fns.usda.gov <mailto:FOIA@fns.usda.gov> within 90 calendar days from the date of this letter. The phrase "FOIA APPEAL" should be placed in capital letters on the front of the envelope or in the subject of the email containing the appeal.

For dispute resolution services, you may contact the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS). The Open Government Act of 2007 created OGIS within the National Archives and Records Administration when Congress amended the FOIA. OGIS provides mediation of FOIA disputes between appellants and Federal agencies. Participation in mediation does not affect your right to judicial review. Contact information for OGIS can be located at: www.Archives.gov/ogis.<http://www.archives.gov/ogis>

If you have any questions pertaining to this request or the FOIA process you may contact us at 703-605-0773 or by email at FOIA@fns.usda.gov.<mailto:FOIA@fns.usda.gov>

Jennifer Weatherly
FNS FOIA and Privacy Act Officer
Information Management Office
USDA Food and Nutrition Service
(703) 605-0773
jennifer.weatherly@fns.usda.gov<mailto:jennifer.weatherly@fns.usda.gov>

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