MuckRock emails (Department of Housing and Urban Development)

Emma Best filed this request with the Department of Housing and Urban Development of the United States of America.

It is a clone of this request.

Due June 26, 2018
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Response

Communications

From: Emma Best


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

Copies of all emails containing the terms "MuckRock", "Muck Rock" or "MuckRock.com", excluding emails sent to or from a MuckRock.com email address. Please include the complete email exchange for each email, including any emails that are being replied to as well as any subsequent replies.

I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I have previously written about the government and its activities. I have a reasonable expectation of publication and my editorial and writing skills are well established. I discuss and comment on the files online and make them available through non-profits such as the Internet Archive and MuckRock, 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 my primary purpose is to inform about government activities by reporting on it and making the raw data available, I 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,

Emma Best

From: Department of Housing and Urban Development

Dear Ms. Best:

This letter is in reference to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated and received on May 29, 2018. You asked for copies of all emails containing the terms "MuckRock", "Muck Rock", or "MuckRock.com", excluding emails sent to or from a MuckRock.com email address. Including, the complete email exchange for each email, any emails that are being replied to, and any subsequent replies.

Please be advised that the Department of Housing and Urban Development will comply with your request to the extent permissible by law. Any records not subject to an exemption will be forwarded to you promptly upon completion of the Department's search and review process. However, your request is too broad and vague to be processed. Asking for all emails containing the keywords you provided doesn't provide a narrow enough scope. HUD performs electronic searches by custodial names and you haven't provided any HUD employee names in which to utilize for a search. HUD will need a more specific request in order to conduct a search.

Please clarify your request within 15 business days from the date of this letter. If I do not hear from you within that time, your request will be withdrawn. Please be advised that such an action will not preclude you from filing other requests in the future. If you wish to clarify your request, please email your clarification to eugene.a.mcgirt@hud.gov<mailto:eugene.a.mcgirt@hud.gov> or submit it to the following address:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Office of the Executive Secretariat, FOIA Branch

451 Seventh Street, SW, Room 10139

Washington, DC 20410-3000

Attention: Eugene McGirt

Telephone: (202) 402-4315

Thank you for your interest in the Department's programs and policies.

From: Emma Best

"HUD performs electronic searches by custodial names and you haven't provided any HUD employee names in which to utilize for a search. HUD will need a more specific request in order to conduct a search."

Government email systems, on the whole, do not actually require this. If you need, I can use FOIA to get you to turn over documents showing how you perform the searches. So far, every government agency has confirmed that they are able to perform the search I have requested. For agencies where it is technically feasible, courts have found the request to be reasonable and compelled agencies to comply.

Shall we do this the easy way, where you process the request as is, or the hard way, where I generate more work for you and ultimately consider filing another lawsuit against the government to compel compliance with FOIA?

Files

pages

Close