MuckRock emails (Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General)

Emma North-Best filed this request with the Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General of the United States of America.

It is a clone of this request.

Tracking #


Multi Request MuckRock emails
Due July 18, 2018
Est. Completion None
Awaiting Response


From: Emma North-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 "", excluding emails sent to or from a 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.


Emma Best

From: Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General

This message is to confirm your request submission to the FOIAonline application: View Request. Request information is as follows: (
* Tracking Number: DOJ-2018-005637
* Requester Name: Emma Best
* Date Submitted: 05/29/2018
* Request Status: Submitted
* Description: foia request

From: Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General

Ms. Best:

I have a question regarding your FOIA request submitted on May 29, 2018 seeking copies of emails containing the terms "MuckRock," "Muck Rock," or "" Before we can conduct a search for responsive records, you will need to provide a date range for the search. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you,

Brittnie R. Baker
Office of Information Policy
U.S. Department of Justice
(202) 514-0833

From: Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General

Ms. Best,

I am writing to follow up on my June 4 email seeking a date range for the search for your request submitted on May 29, 2018. Please contact me via email or phone to provide the date range as soon as possible.

Thank you,

From: Emma North-Best


I'm not limiting the request by date.



From: Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General

Good morning,

After further research, it looks as though your organization, MuckRock, which is the subject of your request, was established in May of 2010. Therefore, it would make sense to begin our search to records beginning May 1, 2010 through the present, as there would be no mention of the organization before that date.

To give some context, I am looking for a starting date for the search because it is quite burdensome, and takes quite a long time, to search email. A beginning date will help us with the searching process and allow us to get any responsive records back from our search in a more timely manner. Also, without a date range, this would require us to search from the beginning of email usage at the Department, which was sometime in the 1990s I believe. Older emails are extremely difficult for us to retrieve and search, therefore extending our response time to you by many, many months. As I previously stated, given the fact that your organization did not exist prior to May 2010, there is no reason to search email prior to that date anyway.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about this plan of action regarding your request.

Thank you,

From: Emma North-Best

You may begin the search with May 2010, if you like.

From: Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General

Thank you for the response. We will search for records dating from May 1, 2010.

From: Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General

Attached is this Office's acknowledgment of the above-referenced FOIA request.

From: Muckrock Staff

To Whom It May Concern:
I wanted to follow up on the following request, copied below. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response.
Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.