Emma Best filed this request with the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency of the United States of America.
Due March 3, 2017
Est. Completion None
Awaiting Response


From: Michael Best

To Whom It May Concern:

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

all email in the mailbox of Mark D. Jones (Executive Director of CIGIE), based on an electronic search of email accounts, that contains ANY of these words:


You may limit this request to emails dated between November 1, 2016 and the present.

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.


Michael Best

From: Howard, Jeanetta M. (OIG)

Hello Mr. Best:

After reviewing your FOIA request, a thorough search of such records would be very time consuming and require extensive research. Because two of the search terms are more general – administration and transition – it will produce numerous emails. Therefore, in order to assist and to ensure the most productive response, we wanted to see if you may want to narrow/focus your request, otherwise it will take a great deal of time to review the emails and subsequently release.

To discuss the processing of your FOIA request further, please contact us at (202) 616-0646.


Jeanetta Howard

From: Michael Best

Would it help if we eliminated any instances where it is apparent that "administration" is not being used as a noun, or where "transition" doesn't refer to the Presidential Transition?

From: Michael Best

That'd be fine. Thanks for checking! Hopefully that'll reduce the burden on you and speed up the result. I appreciate you clarifying and reaching out like this. =)