Faith Based Czar Communication (SBA)

Jason Smathers filed this request with the Small Business Administration of the United States of America.
Tracking # 32264 ; 2013-910-1
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Jason Smathers

To Whom It May Concern:

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

All records of communication between your agency and the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships including but not limited to emails, letters or other communication to and from Joshua DuBois or any member of his staff.

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.

Sincerely,

Jason Smathers

From: Small Business Administration

January 3, 2011

Mr. Jason Smathers
MuckRock

Re: FOIA #32264

Dear Mr. Smathers:

This is in reference to your emailed and faxed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request information "All records of communication between your agency and the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships including but not limited to emails, letters or other communication to and from Joshua DuBois or any member of his staff."

This office operates in the appellate capacity and refers all initial FOIA requests to the appropriate program or field office. Therefore your request is referred to the Office of the Executive Secretariat for initial FOIA processing. That office will respond directly to you with their initial FOIA review, fee assessment and disclosure determination. Any inquiries should be directed to (202) 205-2410, (202) 205-7021 or (202) 205-6361.

Please feel free to contact us on (202) 401-8203 or at foia@sba.gov if we can be of further assistance.

Sincerely,

Lisa J. Babcock
Chief, Freedom of Information
Privacy Acts Office

From: Small Business Administration

Mr. Smathers,

I have attempted to contact you telephonically on two occasions this week to discuss the recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request you sent to the Small Business Administration. We are attempting to contact you to discuss the scope of your January 3, 2011 FOIA request seeking “All records of communication between your agency and the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships including but not limited to emails, letters, or other communication to and from Joshua DuBois or any member of his staff. We note that your request contains no timeframe, un-specified staff member names and no specific topics to search for. Without these items, it might be cost prohibitive for you to proceed. As such, we are exploring the possibility of narrowing your request so that we can accurately assess Agency costs associated with processing your request and provide an accurate cost estimate as you requested.

If we do not here from you, we will proceed with the Fee waiver determination and assessment of costs associated with your original request.
The Agency will provide a cost estimate and fee waiver determination, shortly. However, a more narrowed request could simplify both determinations. Please contact me to discuss the issues raised herein.

Sincerely,


David A. Fishman
Assistant General Counsel
For Litigation
Small Business Administration
409 Third Street, SW
Washington, DC 20416
(202) 205-6861

From: Small Business Administration

From: Jason Smathers

You may limit responsive records to those created between January 20, 2009 and the date this request is processed.

Furthermore, you may limit responsive records to those received by or distributed to Gerard C. Flavin.

Best Regards,
Jason Smathers

From: Jason Smathers

In reply to your Jan 31 letter, this is a non commercial request which is entitled to two free hours of search time even if that search time is done on a computer. Furthermore, review time is not billable to non commercial requesters. In my last request to the SBA, you made the same mistake and I was later provided the records at no charge after an appeal. I am hoping you will provide these records at no charge now rather than forcing another appeal.

Thanks,
Jason Smathers

From: FOI/PA Office

Re: FOIA #32264

Dear Mr. Smathers:

I am forwarding your email below to Mr. Flavin for his attention and action.

Sincerely,

Lisa J. Babcock
Chief, FOI/PA Office

From: Small Business Administration

From: Jason Smathers

<p><i><b>Note:</b> The following appeal was sent independently of MuckRock and has not been verified.</i></p>
<p>
Office of Government Information Services<br />
National Archives and Records Administration<br />
8601 Adelphi Road, Room 2510<br />
College Park, MD 20740<br />
<br />
August 26, 2011<br />
<br />
Dear OGIS,<br />

<p>I am contacting you for assistance with a recent request I made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

<p>The SBA is attempting to consider me a commercial requester even though I expeicitly stated that the purpose of the request is non-commercial and described how I would use the records in a non-commercial, journalistic manor. I stated that the records would be processed by a member of the news media, but did not affirmativly request news media fee treatment, withholding such a request because the records were assumed to be accessible in less than 2 hours of search time. Furthermore, from past experiences, it seems the SBA by default places all requests in the commercial fee category and routinely charges all requesters, despite fee category, for search time when the search is done on a computer.

<p>A complete record of communication follows including links to letters sent by the SBA.

<p>I understand that your office provides mediation services for FOIA requests such as mine. I look forward to hearing from your office about how this disagreement can be mediated.

<p>In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974 as amended, I hereby authorize the Office of Government Information Services to make inquiries on my behalf, including the right to review all documentation that OGIS deems necessary regarding the Freedom of Information Act and/or Privacy Act request/administrative appeal that is the subject of my request for OGIS assistance. I understand that any documents I provide to OGIS, except those provided in confidence, may be copied and forwarded to agency officials as a part of the mediation/resolution process. I also authorize any Federal department, agency or component to release to OGIS information and records related to my Freedom of Information Act and/or Privacy Act request/administrative appeal.

<p>Electronic signature follows.

<p>Signed,<br />
/Jason Smathers/<br />
Jason Smathers<br />

From: Doreen E. Agard

From: Karen M. Finnegan

Dear Mr. Smathers: I am handling your new case and have reviewed your submission of information. Thank you for providing your signed consent with your message.

Before I reach out to SBA to discuss the requester category issue that you have raised, I wanted to be clear about something. Did you make this request in your own right using the MuckRock portal as a vehicle for submitting the request to SBA or did you make this request as an employee of or contributor to MuckRock?

FYI, I will be out of the office on official travel from 9/9/11 through 9/20/11. While on travel I will be infrequently checking my email account. I will be happy to discuss this issue with you upon my return.

Regards,
Karen



Karen M. Finnegan
Deputy Director
Office of Government Information Services (OGIS)
National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740
Main: 301.837.1996
Dir: 301.837.3786
Toll-free: 877.684.6448
karen.finnegan@nara.gov
www.archives.gov/ogis

From: Jason Smathers

I appeal. I have absolutely no commercial interest in making this request. This is a news media request. I intend to take the raw materials provided and turn them into a unique news story which will be published on WitnessesUntoMe.com. You can view my ability to take raw data and turn it into a unique work as well as my demonstrated ability to have my work published by visiting witnessesuntome.com and clicking the news link. I state by knowledge and belief as a member of the news media that this topic is of interest to the general public. There is a great interest in the activities of czars, which are viewed as mysterious and even illicit by members of the public. The communication between the office of the faith based czar and the SBA is expected to shed light on how faith based organizations are working with the SBA and provide insight into the office of the faith based czar. These are all topics of public interest. Furthermore, you failed to meet a statutory time limit. According to the 2007 amendment to the FOIA, your ability to charge other requesters is limited to duplication fees and your ability to charge news media requesters is entirely restricted.

Please provide the requested records ASAP.

From: Lisa J. Babcock

September 13, 2011

Mr. Jason Smathers
MuckRock

Re: FOIA #32264

Dear Mr. Smathers:

This is in response to your email below regarding your January 3, 2011
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Attached above are copies of Mr. Flavin's January 31, 2011 and February
23, 2011 letters to you. Both letters state that an appeal must be
submitted in writing within 60 days of the date of the letters. This
language is in compliance with the Small Business Administration's FOIA
regulations which at 13 CFR 102.8(b) state: The Chief must receive your
signed, written appeal within 60 calendar days of the date of the SBA
determination from which you are appealing.

Therefore, this office will take no action on your inquiry below,
however, you may submit a new request at anytime and the Agency will
consider it for FOIA fee and disclosure processing.

Sincerely,

Lisa J. Babcock
Chief, Freedom of Information/
Privacy Acts Office

From: Lisa J. Babcock

From: Karen M. Finnegan

Dear Mr. Smathers: This is in further response to your request for OGIS assistance with regard to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Small Business Administration (SBA). In my email message to you dated September 8, 2011, I asked you to clarify an issue related to your status with Muckrock.com. The text of that message appears below.

In light of the fact that I have not heard further from you, I will close this case file. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions. If you would still like OGIS assistance with this FOIA request, please provide the above-mentioned information and we will reopen this case.

Sincerely,

Karen



Karen M. Finnegan
Deputy Director
Office of Government Information Services (OGIS)
National Archives and Records Administration
800 N. Capitol Street, NW, Suite 795
Washington, D.C. 20002

From: Jason Smathers

To Whom It May Concern:

Because the appeal of my initial request was denied due to timeliness, I am making the same request again. Please process it as a new request; if the SBA fails to comply with the FOIA again, I will be sure to appeal in the appropriate amount of time. It is my hope that processing will be in accordance with the FOIA this time and no appeal or judicial review is required.

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

All records of communication between your agency and the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships including but not limited to emails, letters or other communication to and from Joshua DuBois or any member of his staff.

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.

Sincerely,

Jason Smathers
Filed via MuckRock.com

From: Jason Smathers

To Whom It May Concern:

Because the appeal of my initial request was denied due to timeliness, I am making the same request again. Please process it as a new request; if the SBA fails to comply with the FOIA again, I will be sure to appeal in the appropriate amount of time. It is my hope that processing will be in accordance with the FOIA this time and no appeal or judicial review is required.

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

All records of communication between your agency and the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships including but not limited to emails, letters or other communication to and from Joshua DuBois or any member of his staff.

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.

Sincerely,

Jason Smathers
Filed via MuckRock.com

From: U.S. Small Business Administration

From: U.S. Small Business Administration

From: U.S. Small Business Administration

From: Jason Smathers

I have no commercial interest in this request. Please process this request as an "all other requester" I agree to fees up to $25 billed in this fee category.

From: FOIA

September 11, 2013

Mr. Jason Smathers
MuckRock.com

Re: FOIA 2013-910-1

Dear Mr. Smathers:

Yesterday our office received your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking "All records of communications between your agency and the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships including but not limited to emails, letters or other communications to and from Joshua DuBois or any member of his staff."

As this office operates in the appellate capacity, we refer initial requests to the program or field office that maintains the information. Therefore, your request is being referred to the Office of the Executive Secretariat for initial FOIA processing. That office will respond directly to you with their initial FOIA review, fee assessment and disclosure determinations. Any questions or inquiries should be directed to (202) 205-6833.

As you did not specify a time frame for this request, we will assume the time frame is from January 20, 2009 to yesterday's date, September 10, 2013.

Please feel free to contact me on (202) 401-8203 or at foia@sba.gov if you have any questions.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Jan. 3, 2011. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #32264 ; 2013-910-1.

Thank you for your help.

From: FOIA

Mr. Smathers:

Due to the lapse in appropriations between October 1 and October 16, 2013 today is the first day that the Small Business Administration is resuming normal activities.

If you have any questions regarding your FOIA request please call (202) 205-6833.

Sincerely,

Lisa J. Babcock
Chief, Freedom of Information/
Privacy Acts Office

From: Small Business Administration

A cover letter granting the request and outlining any exempted materials, if any.

From: Small Business Administration

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

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