|Submitted||Oct. 20, 2014|
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To Whom It May Concern:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:
Any and all communication between current chairman Tom Wheeler and Mintz Levin law firm between November 2013 and today. In this request any and all communication includes but is not limited to emails; records documenting phone or in-person meetings, including but not limited to calendar items and meeting notes; faxes; letters; voicemails and electronic messages.
I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.
In the event that fees cannot be waived, 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.
Dear Ms. Hamilton:
This acknowledges receipt of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Your request has been assigned FOIA Control Number 2015-045. Agencies are allowed 20 working days to respond to your request, extending this period for an additional 10 working days under certain circumstances. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(i) and 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(B)(i). We anticipate responding to your request on 11/18/14. If additional time is needed to respond to your request you will be notified.
If you have any questions concerning this notice, please call the FOIA Office at: (202) 418-0440.
FCC FOIA Office
You recently filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the Federal Communications Commission in which you request reduced fees and/or a waiver of the fees associated with responding to your request. Pursuant to Commission rules, such a request must be accompanied by "a statement explaining with specificity, the reasons demonstrating that [the requester] qualifies for a reduced fee or a fee waiver." 47 C.F.R. 0.470(c). In your initial FOIA request, you stated, "I request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage." We are writing you to request further information on the reasons why you believe a reduced fee or a fee waiver is justified.
The FOIA and Commission rules provide for three categories of FOIA fee levels. First, commercial use requesters must pay the full direct costs of searching for, reviewing, and duplicating the records requested. Second, educational and non-commercial scientific institution requesters and requesters who are representatives of the news media pay only for the cost of reproduction of the records requested (excluding the first 100 pages). Third, requesters that do not fit into either of the two prior categories (referred to as "all other requesters") must pay the full, reasonable direct cost of searching for and reproducing the requested records, except that the first 100 pages of reproduction and the first two hours of time shall be furnished without charge. 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(A)(ii)(III); 47 C.F.R. 0.470(a).
If you intended to apply for a reduced fee status as a representative of the news media, we need additional information on your affiliation with a news media entity. The FOIA defines representative of the news media as any person or entity that gathers information of potential interest to a segment of the public, uses its editorial skills to turn the raw materials into a distinct work, and distributes that work to an audience. "News" means information that is about current events or that would be of current interest to the public. Examples of news media entities include, but are not limited to, television or radio stations broadcasting to the public at large and publishers of periodicals who make their products available for purchase by or subscription by or free distribution to the general public. A freelance journalist shall be regarded as working for a news media entity if the journalist can demonstrate a solid basis for expecting publication through that entity. A publication contract would present a solid basis for such an expectation; the government may also consider the past publication record of the requester in making such a determination. 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(A)(ii); 47 C.F.R. 0.466(a)(7). If you wish to be designated as a representative of the news media for purposes of FOIA fee assessment, please provide additional information as to how you personally qualify as a representative of the news media.
Commission rules also provide that search and review charges shall be waived or reduced when disclosure of the information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. 47 C.F.R. 0.470(e)(1). The rules specifically note that simply repeating the fee waiver language is not sufficient to obtain a fee waiver. Id.
If you intended to apply for a fee waiver, we need additional information on how this disclosure would be in the public interest by contributing significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government. In making this determination, the Commission considers whether the subject of the requested records concerns the operations or activities of the government; whether the disclosure is likely to contribute to an understanding of government operations or activities; and whether the disclosure of the requested information will contribute to public understanding, as opposed to individual understanding of the requester or a narrow segment of interested persons. 47 C.F.R. 0.470(e)(2). If you wish to apply for a fee waiver, please provide additional information regarding how this disclosure serves the public interest.
Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(A)(ii)(II), our request is necessary to clarify issues regarding fee assessment and thus the twenty-day time period for the agency to respond to your request is tolled (i.e., the clock is stopped) until you respond. If we do not receive a response from you in ten calendar days, we will process your request under the "all other requesters" fee category. If search costs are estimated to exceed $25, we will notify you of the estimated amount of fees and confer with you with the object of revising or clarifying the request. 47 C.F.R. 0.467(e)(1). Please let us know if you have any further questions.
Federal Communications Commission
Office of General Counsel
Dear Mr. Yates -
I replied to your earlier correspondence on 10/31 regarding my position as a member of the media entitled to fee waivers. I have not heard back and, if I understand correctly, even if I had not responded my request would be processed 10 days after your original notice. The twenty-day time period would then have been extended to 11/28.
I'd like to follow up on the progress of this request.
Thank you so much,
Attached please find a response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, FOIA Control No. 2015-045.
Federal Communications Commission
Office of General Counsel