Ethics Memos

Emma Best filed this request with the Office of Government Ethics of the United States of America.
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Michael Best

To Whom It May Concern:

By the power vested in me under the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

Each ethics advice memo it has produced during the month of January 2017 and the month of December 2016.

I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I have previously written about the government and its activities for AND Magazine, MuckRock and Glomar Disclosure and have an open arrangement with each. My articles have been widely read, 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 the non-profit Internet Archive, 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 such, my primary purpose is to inform about government activities by reporting on it and making the raw data available and I therefore 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.

Sincerely,

Michael Best

From: USOGE

Attached, please find a final response in OGE FOIA FY 17/152.

Thank you.

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From: Michael Best

Hi,

Thanks so much for your help with this request! I really appreciate it.

Sincerely,
Michael Best

From: USOGE

Mr. Best –

This acknowledges receipt of your February 9, 2017, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for materials relating to any outages, problems or take down/removal decisions regarding the OGE website (oge.gov), OGE computer networks and or intranets beginning on February 9, 2017. Your requests, which OGE received on February 13, 2017, is assigned OGE Tracking Numbers: OGE FOIA FY 17/183 is being processed.

You may now track the status of your FOIA request online at:
https://extapps2.oge.gov/FOIAStatus/FOIAInfo.nsf/SearchByFOIANumber?OpenForm. Please enter the individualized tracking number above for status information, including the estimated date of completion. Status information is updated on an hourly basis.

Thank you.

OGE Confidential Notice: This email, including all attachments, may constitute a Federal record or other Government property that is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed. This email also may contain information that is privileged, confidential, or otherwise protected from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient or the employee or agent responsible for delivering the transmission to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, copying or use of this email or its contents is strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in error, please notify the sender by responding to the email and then immediately delete the email.

From: USOGE

Good morning,

Our records indicate that OGE responded to your Jan. 30 request for “each ethics advice memo it has produced during the month of January 2017 and the month of December 2016,” tracking number OGE FOIA FY 17/152, on February 15. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you.

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