|Multi Request||Earl Brian companies|
|Submitted||Sept. 6, 2018|
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To Whom It May Concern:
Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:
files relating to or mentioning the following companies:
Financial News Network
United Press International
Please include but do not limit the response to materials relating to Earl Brian's June, 1993 settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission on charges of inflating Financial News Network's revenues by millions of dollars.
I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I have previously written about the government and its activities, 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 non-profits such as the Internet Archive and MuckRock, 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.
As my primary purpose is to inform about government activities by reporting on it and making the raw data available, I request that fees be waived.
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.
Dear Ms. Best:
This email is in reference to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request (copy attached) submitted to the SEC on September 10, 2018, asking for "files relating to or mentioning the following companies":
* Biotech Capital
* Financial News Network
* United Press International
You also asked for "materials relating to Earl Brian's June, 1993 settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission on charges of inflating Financial News Network's revenue by millions of dollars."
Since your request contains multiple subjects, we divided it into six (6) separate requests, as follows:
* 18-03101-FOIA - Infotechnology
* 18-03102-FOIA - Biotech Capital
* 18-03103-FOIA - Biotech
* 18-03104-FOIA - Financial News Network
* 18-03105-FOIA - United Press International
* 18-03106-FOIA - Materials relating to Earl Brian's June, 1993 settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission on charges of inflating Financial News Network's revenue by millions of dollars.
The FOIA requires Federal agencies to provide reasonably described records that contain information that is responsive to a FOIA request. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(3)(A)(i). As stated in our online guidance, a request must reasonably describe the records sought (by name, date, and subject matter). See https://www.sec.gov/Article/foia-reference-guide.html.
After careful review of Request Nos. 18-03101-FOIA thru 18-03105-FOIA, we have determined that they are not proper FOIA requests because they do not reasonably describe the records you are seeking. Specifically, we are not sure what types of "files" you are seeking concerning the five companies you identified in your request. Typically, FOIA requests submitted to the SEC ask for the following types of records:
* records regarding SEC investigations and related disciplinary actions;
* consumer complaints;
* publicly available reports required to be filed with the SEC; and
* specifically identified exhibits filed with the public reports.
In order to begin processing your requests, please advise us of the types of records you are seeking concerning Infotechnology, Biotech Capital, Biotech, Financial News Network and United Press International. We will place Request Nos. 18-03101-FOIA thru 18-03105-FOIA on hold until you provide the requested clarification. Please provide this information to us no later than September 28, 2018.
You also requested a waiver of all fees associated with your request. We may waive or reduce search, review, and duplication fees if (A) disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government and (B) disclosure is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester, 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(iii).
After reviewing your request, I have determined that you meet the criteria for a fee waiver. Therefore, your fee waiver request is granted. No processing fees will be charged for these requests, assuming you provide the requested clarification and they become proper FOIA requests.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
I apologize for my lack of clarity. I am interested in records regarding SEC investigations and related disciplinary actions. Thank you for reaching out and especially for being precise in exactly what clarification would be helpful. Many agencies refuse to do so, which makes it frustrating to try to help them help me! I really appreciate that your agency doesn't seem to be like that. =)
I am appealing the ridiculous finding that Financial News Network has a right to privacy, as the case law firmly establishes that organizations do not have one.