DOJ Antitrust -- BHFS

David Sirota filed this request with the Department of Justice, Antitrust Division of the United States of America.
Tracking # ATFY17-077
Status
Completed

Communications

From: David Sirota

To Whom It May Concern:

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

- Email correspondence to or from employees of the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division to or from email addresses from the domain name @bhfs.com. I hereby request such correspondence from 6/1/08 to 12/31/09 and from 7/1/15 to 12/31/16.

These documents are not subject to the privacy exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act. Government records show that officials from Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck (bhfs.com) were in contact with Antitrust Division employees on matters of public importance and public policy (see here: https://soprweb.senate.gov/index.cfm?event=getFilingDetails&filingID=B56EDFA0-55B7-4C08-AC36-69A63F17D313&filingTypeID=51)

If it is your position that any portion of the requested records is exempt from disclosure, I request that you provide it with an index of those documents as required under Vaughn v. Rosen, 484 F.2d 820 (D.C. Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 415 U.S. 977 (1972). As you are aware, a Vaughn index must describe each document claimed as exempt with sufficient specificity “to permit a reasoned judgment as to whether the material is actually exempt under FOIA.” Founding Church of Scientology v. Bell, 603 F.2d 945, 949 (D.C. Cir. 1979). Moreover, the Vaughn index must “describe each document or portion thereof withheld, and for each withholding it must discuss the consequences of supplying the sought-after information.” King v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 830 F.2d 210, 223-24 (D.C. Cir. 1987) (emphasis added). Further, “the withholding agency must supply ‘a relatively detailed justification, specifically identifying the reasons why a particular exemption is relevant and correlating those claims with the particular part of a withheld document
to which they apply.’” Id.at 224 (citing Mead Data Central v. U.S. Dep’t of the Air Force, 566 F.2d 242, 251 (D.C. Cir. 1977)).

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 and is not primarily in my commercial interest. This request is not a commercial request -- it is being made by an award-winning media organization.

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 enforcement of antitrust law at a time when there is significant public debate about consolidation, market power, and regulations. The records that are responsive to this request will spotlight the way the government shapes antitrust policy and will also show the ways enforcement is shaped by corporate representatives seeking to 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 the senior editor for investigations at Newsweek/IBT, I plan to disseminate this information to the public at large through publication in Newsweek and at International Business Times. Those award-winning publications get millions of visitors per month.

In addition, the release of this information will have a significant impact on public understanding because it will illustrate how antitrust enforcement decisions are influenced and made by public officials. Antitrust enforcement matters affect tens of millions of Americans in their daily lives, and these documents will show how those matters are perceived by public officials and influenced by outside interests.

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).

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,

David Sirota
IBT/Newsweek
(646) 867-7100

From: Antitrust Foia Web Mailbox

Dear Mr. Sirota:

Your request is on our backlog of pending FOIA requests. We will be sending you a letter regarding the scope of your request soon. Thanks.

Ronald Wiercioch
FOIA Public Liaison

From: Hayes, Shaniece (ATR)

Please see attached.

From: David Sirota

This is in reference to request ATFY17-077. I request all email correspondence to or from employees of the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division to or from email addresses from the domain name @bhfs.com. I hereby request such correspondence from 6/1/08 to 12/31/09 and from 7/1/15 to 12/31/16. My request is not limited to emails to or from Makan Delrahim. Thank you.

David Sirota
Newsweek/IBT

From: Wiercioch, Ronald

Dear Mr. SIrota:

As we informed you in our May 16, 2017 letter, the Antitrust Division does not maintain an index reflecting all incoming or outgoing emails between Division staff and outside entities or individuals. Accordingly, we have no way to search for emails responsive to your April 7, 2017 FOIA request as originally written: “Email correspondence to or from employees of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division to or from email addresses from the domain name @bhfs.com. . . . from 6/1/08 to 12/31/09 and from 7/1/15 to 12/31/16.” Please advise this office whether you are willing to limit your request to emails to or from Antitrust Division Deputy Assistant Attorneys General to or from email addresses from the domain name @bhfs.com, during the time periods from 6/1/08 to 12/31/09 and from 7/1/15 to 12/31/16.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Ronald Wiercioch
FOIA Public Liaison
Antitrust Division

From: Hayes, Shaniece (ATR)

Dear Mr. Sirota:
As we informed you in our May 16, 2017 letter, the Antitrust Division does not maintain an index reflecting all incoming or outgoing emails between Division staff and outside entities or individuals. Accordingly, we have no way to search for emails responsive to your April 7, 2017 FOIA request as originally written: "Email correspondence to or from employees of the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division to or from email addresses from the domain name @bhfs.com. . . . from 6/1/08 to 12/31/09 and from 7/1/15 to 12/31/16." Please advise this office whether you are willing to limit your request to emails to or from Antitrust Division Deputy Assistant Attorneys General to or from email addresses from the domain name @bhfs.com, during the time periods from 6/1/08 to 12/31/09 and from 7/1/15 to 12/31/16.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Ronald Wiercioch
FOIA Public Liaison
Antitrust Division

From: David Sirota

Mr. Wiercioch:

Regarding ATFY17-077, yes I am willing to have you narrow my request to emails to or from Antitrust Division Deputy Assistant Attorneys General to or from email addresses from the domain name @bhfs.com, during the time periods from 6/1/08 to 12/31/09 and from 7/1/15 to 12/31/16.

Thank you.

David Sirota

From: Wiercioch, Ronald

Dear Mr. Sirota:

We are in the process of searching for emails responsive to your request.

Ron Wiercioch
FOIA Public Liaison

From: Hayes, Shaniece (ATR)

Please see attached.

From: Hayes, Shaniece (ATR)

Please see attached.

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