FOIA March Madness 2018 - Agency Talking Points (November 8, 2016 - March 13, 2018) (Department of Agriculture)

Beryl Lipton filed this request with the U.S. Department Of Agriculture, Office of the Secretary of the United States of America.
Multi Request FOIA March Madness 2018 - Agency Talking Points (November 8, 2016 - March 13, 2018)


From: Beryl Lipton

To Whom It May Concern:

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

For the 16-month, 5-day period from Tuesday, November 8, 2016 through Tuesday, March 13, 2018:


Any and all talking points and similar memorandums, emails, and transcripts providing advice or direction on how to handle the media, media interviews, and statements.


Please include in your responsive materials any documents, emails, or communications with the following phrases in the title or subject line:


It would be greatly appreciated if materials could be provided on a rolling basis.

1. In the Office of Public Affairs or equivalent division

Please provide first all such materials produced in this agency’s Office of Public Affairs or equivalent division, and any representative thereof.

Please also provide all such materials received by this agency’s Office of Public Affairs or equivalent division, and any representative thereof.

2. Related to all agency employees

Please also include all employee email communications containing the following phrases:


Alternative Response to 2:

If processing of this portion of this request would require its distribution to another or multiple other offices, it would be greatly appreciated if a response to this request would contain a description of the necessary offices to be tasked, the process by which the search will be conducted, and an estimate of the time and fees to be incurred. Such a description will allow us to better understand the parameters of this FOIA office’s ability to respond to this request as worded and will better enable us to reorganize and limit it as appropriate.


Additional clarification:

This request is not intended for materials regarding one particular subject or event during this period.

If a different search procedure will be required dependent on segment of time covered, it would be greatly appreciated if a response could contain a description of the necessary difference in approach by time period (for example, if file keeping procedures have changed at some point in the last year and a half or if particular materials have been moved to another location).

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.


Beryl Lipton

From: U.S. Department Of Agriculture, Office of the Secretary

Dear Ms. Lipton:
This email acknowledges receipt of your below March 13, 2018, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Department FOIA Office (DFO).
The DFO is under the purview of the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) and serves as the focal point for USDA’s FOIA program. The DFO provides coordination and ensures agency-wide compliance with the FOIA. Additionally, the DFO processes requests and appeals on behalf of the Office of the Secretary and Departmental Administration’s (DA) components (previously Departmental Management). For a complete listing of DA’s components, please visit
The FOIA regulation 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(i) requires USDA to make a determination in response to a FOIA request within 20 business days from its date of receipt. In unusual circumstances, the Federal agency time limit may be extended by 10 business days as stated in 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(B). If your request seeks numerous records that will necessitate a wide-ranging search including searches with components and possible consultations with components that have a substantial interest in the determination of this request, USDA will invoke a 10 business day extension for determination of your request. You have the option to narrow the scope of your request to limit the number of potentially responsive records.
Due to the increasing number of FOIA requests received by this office, we may encounter some delay in processing your request. Pursuant to USDA FOIA regulations, Title 7 CFR §1.8(d), the USDA processes FOIA requests according to their order of receipt.
Provisions of the FOIA allow USDA to recover part of the cost of complying with your request. For purposes of fee assessment, you have been categorized as a media requester, pursuant to 7 CFR Appendix A to Subpart A of Part 1 Section (5)(c). For your review and information, a copy of the USDA FOIA Fee Schedule is attached.
A search will be conducted for records responsive to your request. If any responsive records are located, they will be reviewed for determination of releasability. Please be assured that a FOIA analyst will respond to your request as expeditiously as possible. We appreciate your patience as we proceed with your request.
Your request has been assigned FOIA Case No. 2018-DA-02993-F. Please refer to this case number in any future correspondence. If you have any questions regarding the processing of this request, please contact<>. For additional information regarding USDA FOIA regulations and process, please refer to the information available on-line at<>.
The DFO team appreciates the opportunity to assist you.

From: U.S. Department Of Agriculture, Office of the Secretary

Dear Sir/Madame:

The request was closed September 17, 2020, with the notation that there had been no response from the requester.

Feel free to re-submit the request, and we will re-initiate processing.

Thank you.