DOJ Attorney FOIA Conduct Complaints 2012-2014

Michael Morisy filed this request with the Department of Justice, Office of Professional Responsibility of the United States of America.
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Est. Completion None
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From: Michael Morisy

To Whom It May Concern:

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

Records pertaining to complaints about DOJ attorneys’ conduct in FOIA and/or Privacy Act cases. You may limit your search to complaints received in 2012-2014, and may also limit your search to attorneys in the Civil Division’s Federal Programs Branch and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

Once you identify a complaint which would be responsive to this request, all DOJ records about the handling of that complaint—regardless of date—will be responsive to this request. You may redact names, addresses, and similar personally identifiable information about the attorneys who were the subjects of the respective complaints; I am only interested in the nature of the complaints.

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest.

I am the founder and editor of the MuckRock ( website, which publishes original news content on a daily basis. All of MuckRock's content focuses either on FOIA itself or reports off of documents received via public records requests. Below are a number of the dozens of articles I have written for MuckRock:

In addition to my capacity as fouder and editor of MuckRock, I am also a full-time journalist whose work has been published in such online and print outlets as the Boston Globe, Commonwealth Magazine, and the New York Daily News.

My professional biography and some recent articles for the Boston Globe:

My coverage of topics from national cybersecurity to privacy to government waste has been cited by a host of other news outlets at the international, national and local levels.

I plan to report on the contents of these documents, and believe that they are newsworthy to a general audience.

The Office of Professional Reponsiblity oversees misconduct and crimes among DOJ attorneys, and as such is of inherent public interest in better understand the operations of federal government.

The requested documents in particular would shed light on FOIA and Privacy Act requests, which are one of the key methods of informing the public, and as such have a heightened public interest. This requested documents will better inform the public about the critical question of whether they are able to have faith that DOJ attorneys are behaving ethically when defending those cases.

This conduct was recently questioned in a POGO report:

The documents will shed light on whether and how much these violations impact government transparent and federal FOIA litigation.

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.


Michael Morisy

From: Michael Morisy

I apologize, I just realized that I included incorrect links in my 4/3/14 letter. MuckRock’s other editor, Shawn Musgrave, obviously wrote the three MuckRock articles I listed. I did not mean to take credit for Mr. Musgrave’s reporting, and I apologize for any confusion this has caused.

Here are the correct links to articles I have written on MuckRock in reference to my media credentials:

Again, my apologies for any confusion or inconvenience, and thank you for your help processing this request.

From: Barnett, Ginae (OPR)

Good morning Mr. Morisy:

Attached is a final response to the above-referenced FOIA request.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at the information provided in the attached final response.

Ginae Barnett
Government Information Specialist