FOIA March Madness 2018 - Agency Talking Points (November 8, 2016 - March 13, 2018) (Securities and Exchange Commission)

Beryl Lipton filed this request with the Securities and Exchange Commission of the United States of America.
Tracking #

18-01333

Multi Request FOIA March Madness 2018 - Agency Talking Points (November 8, 2016 - March 13, 2018)
Est. Completion None
Status
Fix Required
Tags

Communications

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:

(SUMMARY)

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.

----
(SPECIFICALLY)

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

TALKING POINTS
STMT
STATEMENT
PRESS STRATEGY
___________

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:

TALKING POINTS
STMT
STATEMENT
PRESS STRATEGY

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.

Sincerely,

Beryl Lipton

From: Securities and Exchange Commission

From: Securities and Exchange Commission

Dear Ms. Lipton,

We are in receipt of your request (copy attached) seeking records from 11/8/2016 through 3/13/2018 regarding how to handle the media. We have interpreted your request as asking for the following:

1. All documents generated or received by the SEC's Office of Public Affairs from 11/8/2016 through 3/13/2018 containing any of the following phrases:

* Talking Points

* STMT

* Statement

* Press Strategy

2. All emails to and from all SEC employees from 11/8/2016 through 3/13/2018 containing any of the following phrases:

* Talking Points

* STMT

* Statement

* Press Strategy

If our interpretation of your request is incorrect, please let us know.

We have some concerns with respect to the email portion of item 1 of your request seeking OPA emails and item 2 seeking agency-wide emails that we would like to address with you before commencing our search for those records. Specifically, a search for emails containing the phrases "Talking Points" and "Statement" will likely return a lot of false hits. For example, there may be emails discussing talking points for testimony on the Hill related to a proposed rule change, a new policy initiative, etc. Likewise, emails containing the phrase "statement" would not be limited just to emails regarding how to handle the media. Please let us know if there is a way to modify the phrases "Talking Points" and "Statement" with respect to emails to better home in on what it is you are looking for. For example, does it make sense to add another qualifying term such as "Press AND Talking Points" or "Media AND Statement" to help reduce the number of potential false hits?

Please contact me at your earliest convenience to discuss your request. I can be reached directly by phone at (202) 551-6249. I look forward to working with you on this request.
Regards,

Ray McInerney
FOIA Branch Chief
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Office of FOIA Services
Office: 202-551-6249
Mobile: 202-304-6638
Email: McInerneyR@sec.gov<mailto:Ovallj@sec.gov>

From: Beryl Lipton

Hello Mr. McInerney,

Thank you so much for your message and request for clarification. Would it be possible, for part 1 related to emails from the OPA, to limit the search, for now, to those emails that have the requested phrases in the Subject line or equivalent title field?

Also, for such a search of all agency emails, is it possible to do a search of those terms and get a rough idea of the number of emails, false hits and all, and then proceed from there? I completely understand, if not; I'm just trying to get a sense for how the search might be conducted if one were to go through the whole process and then how we might work back from there.

Thanks, again, so much! Looking forward to chatting with you more about this!

Best wishes,
Beryl

From: Securities and Exchange Commission

Ms. Lipton,

Thank you for your email. As a starting point, we can certainly limit the search for part 1 of your request related to emails to/from OPA to just those emails that have the requested phrases in the subject line of the email. Do you want us to limit the agency-wide email search in the same manner for now?
Thanks,
Ray

From: Securities and Exchange Commission

Ms. Lipton,

Please see the attached interim response to your FOIA request. If you have any questions, please feel free to email or call me.
Thanks,
Ray

Ray McInerney
FOIA Branch Chief
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Office of FOIA Services
Office: 202-551-6249
Mobile: 202-304-6638
Email: McInerneyR@sec.gov<mailto:Ovallj@sec.gov>

From: Beryl Lipton

Ray,

Thank you so, so much for your letter and for the continued agency-wide search for the requested materials. In addition to the subject line search, would it be possible to get an understanding of how a full email search might be conducted? If this could be more easily discussed by phone on Monday, that can easily be arranged. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Talk soon,
Beryl

From: Beryl Lipton

Ray,

I said Monday, but I can also be available this afternoon.

Thank you!
Beryl

From: Securities and Exchange Commission

Ms. Lipton,

Can I call you at 1:00pm this afternoon to discuss? Is 617-299-1832 the best number to reach you? Thanks.

Ray

From: Securities and Exchange Commission

Ms. Lipton,

I just tried calling the number in the email below and after a few rings I was prompted to leave a message by an automatic voice recording. Since I’m not sure if this is a MuckRock mailbox I didn’t leave a message. I am in the office this afternoon and would be happy to speak with you regarding your request. I can be reached by phone on 202-551-6249.
Thanks,
Ray

Ray McInerney
FOIA Branch Chief
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Office of FOIA Services
Office: 202-551-6249
Mobile: 202-304-6638
Email: McInerneyR@sec.gov<mailto:Ovallj@sec.gov>

From: Securities and Exchange Commission

Ms. Lipton,

I called and left a voicemail message for you this morning on telephone number 617-299-1832. If you have time today to discuss your request please feel free to call me on 202-551-6249. I look forward to speaking with you.
Thanks,
Ray

From: Beryl Lipton

Ray,

I'm sorry to have missed your calls! I'll be in the office tomorrow, and I'll try to give you a call in the morning.

Thanks so much for your help!
Beryl

From: Securities and Exchange Commission

Ms. Lipton,

Thank you for your email. Hopefully we can touch base today.
Thanks,
Ray

From: Securities and Exchange Commission

Ms. Lipton,

I just left you a voicemail message. I spoke to our IT liaison and she confirmed that the 214,000+ emails that we identified through our agency-wide email search only include emails in which any of the requested phrases you provided in your request appear in just the subject line of the email. Therefore, your question as to whether we could provide the metadata instead of the actual emails would be equally problematic since the volume of emails is so large.

In light of this, would you be interested in any Boolean searches instead? I think if we can be creative in combining a few keywords it would go a long way toward eliminating a lot of extraneous and/or duplicate emails.

Please call me to discuss this when you have a free moment.
Thanks,
Ray

Ray McInerney
FOIA Branch Chief
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Office of FOIA Services
Office: 202-551-6249
Mobile: 202-304-6638
Email: McInerneyR@sec.gov<mailto:Ovallj@sec.gov>

From: Securities and Exchange Commission

Ms. Lipton,

I called your office this morning and left a message with Michael. I’m available today to discuss your request if you have time. Thanks.

Ray

Ray McInerney
FOIA Branch Chief
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Office of FOIA Services
Office: 202-551-6249
Mobile: 202-304-6638
Email: McInerneyR@sec.gov<mailto:Ovallj@sec.gov>

From: Beryl Lipton

Hi Ray,

I'm so sorry I missed your message and didn't get a chance to call today. I will give you a ring in the morning.

Thanks so much!
Beryl

From: Beryl Lipton

Ray,

I'm wondering whether there might be particular words time words (e.g. "time sensitive," "immediate," etc.) that might make sense to add to the search. I'd be interested to hear any suggestions you have; I will try to call this morning.

Thanks so much,
Beryl

From: Securities and Exchange Commission

Ms. Lipton,

I’m here today and I look forward to talking to you. Thanks.

Ray

From: Securities and Exchange Commission

Ms. Lipton,

It was a pleasure speaking with you this afternoon. We appreciate your willingness to be flexible as we continue to work together to make sure that you get the most useful response to your request, and also that you get it in a timely manner. If there is anything more that we can do to improve the level of customer service that we are providing to you, please do not hesitate to tell me.

As we discussed, the SEC typically performs email searches in one of two ways. We either search the entire agency as a whole, or we search the emails of individual SEC employees. In the latter scenario, we usually ask the requester to provide a list of employee names and/or email addresses to search. However, since part 1 of your request specifically asks for OPA emails we have taken it upon ourselves to compile a list of all OPA employees during the requested time frame. We expect to have the results for the email portion of part 1 of your request shortly.

We previously informed you that part 2 of your request, seeking all SEC emails in which any of the requested phrases you provided in your request (i.e., “Talking Points”, “STMT”, “Statement” and/or “Press Strategy”) appear in just the subject line of the email, resulted in 214,000+ emails. You indicated that you would like us to conduct a new agency-wide search to identify all emails to and from all SEC employees from November 8, 2016 through March 13, 2018 that have the phrase “Talking Points” in the subject line of the email only. We have initiated this search and will advise you of the results as soon as we have them.

If I have misrepresented anything that we talked about, please let me know.
Thanks,
Ray

Ray McInerney
FOIA Branch Chief
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Office of FOIA Services
Office: 202-551-6249
Mobile: 202-304-6638
Email: McInerneyR@sec.gov

From: Beryl Lipton

Hi Ray,

Thanks so much for your thorough recap. Let me know how the search goes, and I really appreciate all of your help.

Hope the week is off to a good start,
Beryl

From: Securities and Exchange Commission

Thanks, and same to you. Talk to you soon.

Ray

From: Securities and Exchange Commission

Ms. Lipton,

I just wanted to touch base to let you know that we’re diligently working on this request. We expect to receive the search results for the OPA and agency-wide email searches very soon, and, at a minimum, provide you with another interim response shortly thereafter. I’ll be back in touch as soon as I receive any additional information.
Thanks,
Ray

From: Securities and Exchange Commission

Ms. Lipton,

I hope you had a good weekend. We’re still waiting on the results for the OPA email search, but we did receive the results for the modified agency-wide email search.

We previously informed you that part 2 of your request, seeking all SEC emails in which any of the four requested phrases you provided in your request (i.e., “Talking Points”, “STMT”, “Statement” and/or “Press Strategy”) appear in just the subject line of the email, resulted in 214,000+ emails. When we spoke on the phone on March 23rd regarding those preliminary search results, you indicated that you would like us to conduct a new agency-wide search to identify all emails to and from all SEC employees from November 8, 2016 through March 13, 2018 that have the phrase “Talking Points” in the subject line of the email only. There are 28,737 emails to/from SEC staff from November 8, 2016 through March 13, 2018 that contain the phrase “Talking Points” in the subject line.

In light of this, would you like to set up a time to talk by phone about possible ways to further narrow the agency-wide email search results? I think combining another qualifying keyword like “Media” or “Press” with the phrase “Talking Points” would help bring the number of responsive emails down, and/or using less commonly used keywords/phrases. We can share ideas with one another when we talk.

Please let me know when you’re available for a quick phone call. Or, feel free to call me on 202-551-6249 when you have a free moment. I look forward to talking to you.
Thanks,
Ray

Ray McInerney
FOIA Branch Chief
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Office of FOIA Services
Office: 202-551-6249
Mobile: 202-304-6638
Email: McInerneyR@sec.gov<mailto:Ovallj@sec.gov>

From: Beryl Lipton

Hi Ray,

Thanks so much for your message! Could we add the word "press" to the search, please?

I'll be in the office for the next couple of hours, if you'd like to give me a call.

Thanks!
Beryl

From: Securities and Exchange Commission

Ms. Lipton,

Thank you for your email and for taking my call just now. Per your request, we will be conducting a new agency-wide email search to identify all emails to and from all SEC employees from November 8, 2016 through March 13, 2018 that have the word “Press” and the phrase “Talking Points” (Press + Talking Points) in the subject line of the email. We will contact you again as soon as we receive the search results.
Thanks,
Ray

From: Securities and Exchange Commission

Ms. Lipton,

I just wanted to give you a quick update on the status of your request. I’m expecting the results of the OPA and agency-wide email searches either today or tomorrow. As soon as I receive the search results I will contact you. I don’t anticipate any setbacks, but if there is an unexpected delay for some reason I will communicate that to you and provide you with a new time frame. I apologize that this is taking a bit longer than both of us would like, but please know that we are doing everything in our power to provide you with a complete and satisfactory response to your request as quickly as possible. We appreciate your patience and understanding throughout this process. I will be back in touch tomorrow.
Thanks,
Ray

Ray McInerney
FOIA Branch Chief
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Office of FOIA Services
Office: 202-551-6249
Mobile: 202-304-6638
Email: McInerneyR@sec.gov<mailto:Ovallj@sec.gov>

From: Securities and Exchange Commission

Ms. Lipton,

I have received the search results for part 2 of your request, as amended. There are a total of 254 emails to and from all SEC employees from November 8, 2016 through March 13, 2018 that have the word “Press” and the phrase “Talking Points” (Press + Talking Points) in the subject line of the email. We are currently in the process of converting the 254 emails into PDF documents in order to get an accurate count on the total number of pages involved. If the number of pages is not too voluminous we will immediately begin processing the records for release.

We are still waiting on the search results for the email portion of part 1 of your request, asking for all emails to and from OPA staff from November 8, 2016 through March 13, 2018 that have any of the four requested phrases (i.e., “Talking Points”, “STMT”, “Statement” and/or “Press Strategy”) in the subject line of the email. As soon as we know the volume of responsive OPA emails we will contact you.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact me at McInerneyR@sec.gov<mailto:McInerneyR@sec.gov> or (202) 551-6249.
Thanks,
Ray

Ray McInerney
FOIA Branch Chief
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Office of FOIA Services
Office: 202-551-6249
Mobile: 202-304-6638
Email: McInerneyR@sec.gov<mailto:McInerneyR@sec.gov>

From: Securities and Exchange Commission

Ms. Lipton,

This email is to memorialize our telephone conversation from this afternoon. I informed you that after reviewing the 254 agency-wide emails that we received yesterday, only 180 of them (consisting of 701 pages, including attachments) have the word “Press” and the phrase “Talking Points” in the subject line of the email. I also advised you that it would take some time to review, redact, and coordinate the release of these emails since they contain equities concerning multiple SEC division and offices. To speed the process up, you suggested that we only provide you with the following six fields from the 180 emails: From, Sent, To, Cc, Subject and Attachments. Using these parameters, the body of the emails and any attachments to the emails will be considered non-responsive.

With respect to part 1 of your request asking for emails to and from OPA staff with the phrases “Talking Points”, “STMT”, “Statement” and/or “Press Strategy” in the subject line, I informed you that there are 3,061 potentially responsive emails. We will first have to review them like we did with the agency-wide emails to make sure that one or more of the requested phrases appear in the subject line of each email. Once that is done, you requested that we provide you with a sampling of the responsive emails (the first 100 pages including attachments), and for the remaining emails you asked us to provide the same six fields that you requested for the agency-wide emails (i.e., From, Sent, To, Cc, Subject and Attachments). Again, the body of the emails and any attachments to the emails will be considered non-responsive.

We have begun processing the agency-wide and OPA emails as described above. If I misrepresented anything that we talked about with regard to how we are going to proceed with your request please let me know. I will contact you if any problems arise on our end in terms of processing the records in the manner that we talked about.

Also, I wanted to let you know that I will be out of the office next week (April 16-20), so my colleague Jeff Ovall may be contacting you regarding this request while I’m out. I’ve cc’d Jeff on this email, and his phone extension is 1-6376. Please include Jeff on any communications next week regarding this request. I will return to the office on April 23.
Thanks,
Ray

From: Securities and Exchange Commission

Ms. Lipton,

Please see the attached second interim response to your FOIA request. If you have any questions, please feel free to email or call me.
Thanks,
Ray

Ray McInerney
FOIA Branch Chief
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Office of FOIA Services
Office: 202-551-6249
Mobile: 202-304-6638
Email: McInerneyR@sec.gov<mailto:McInerneyR@sec.gov>

From: Securities and Exchange Commission

Good afternoon, Ms. Lipton. As Ray mentioned below, he’s out of the office this week so I’ll be communicating with you concerning your FOIA request in the meantime.

In reviewing the 3,061 emails to and from OPA staff that Ray mentioned below, we located 302 emails that contain the phrase “statement” in the subject line that can be processed fairly quickly. Please let me know if you would like us to complete the processing of these 302 emails as we continue processing the remainder of your FOIA request, or if you would rather we wait until we are completely finished before sending any additional records.
Thanks!
Jeff

From: Securities and Exchange Commission

You have received 1 secure file from OvallJ@SEC.GOV.
Use the secure link below to download.
Good morning, Ms. Lipton.

Please see the attached third interim response to your FOIA request. If you have any questions, please feel free to call or email me.

Thanks!

Jeff

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18-01333-FOIA 3rd Interim Response (4.19.2018).pdf ,21.38 MB - [Fingerprint: 3d213f7c5028980018aa5bff504288dc]
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