MuckRock emails (United States Agency for International Development)

Emma Best filed this request with the United States Agency for International Development of the United States of America.

It is a clone of this request.

Tracking #

F-00160-18

Multi Request MuckRock emails
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: United States Agency for International Development

May 29, 2018 RE:  USAID FOIA No. F-00160-18 Dear Best: Thank you for your letter dated May 29, 2018, requesting information pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552.  The tracking number for your request is F-00160-18.  Please use this number when corresponding with our office. At this time, we are in the process of perfecting your request.  A perfected request for records reasonably describes such records and is made in accordance with published rules stating the time, place, fees (if any) and procedures to be followed.  This process includes reviewing the request for clarity and fee category determination and related commitment to pay, if applicable. Once your request is perfected, you will be notified of the FOIA Specialist assigned to process your case.  If you have questions, please contact us at foia@usaid.gov.  Please cite the above-referenced number when corresponding with our office. (mailto:foia@usaid.gov) Thank you. Sincerely, Pamela A-Campbell FOIA Specialist
Bureau for Management
Office of Management Services
Information and Records Division

From: United States Agency for International Development

June 04, 2018 RE:  USAID FOIA No. F-00160-18 Dear Ms. Best: This acknowledges receipt of your May 29, 2018, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  Specifically, you requested 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 complete email exchange for each email, including emails that are being replied to, as well as, any subsequent replies. Fee/ Fee Waiver
The FOIA provides that fees should be waived or reduced if disclosure of the information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.  As a member of the media, the only applicable fee is duplication.  Duplication is $0.10 per page, but the first 100 pages are free. Since the only applicable fee is duplication, and USAID routinely furnishes responsive records to FOIA requesters in electronic format, it's most likely there will be no duplication fees to assess.
Appeal rightsYou have a right to appeal the denial of expedited processing.  Your appeal must be received by USAID no later than 90 days from the date of this communication.  In order for it to considered an official appeal, please address and send directly to the FOIA Appeal Officer:
Director, Office of Management Services
U.S. Agency for International Development
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Ronald Reagan Building, Room 2.12-010
Washington, DC 20523
If you wish to fax your appeal, the fax number is
(202) 216-3369 .  Both the appeal and envelope should be marked "FOIA Appeal".  Please include the subject-referenced tracking number in your letter
FOIA Specialist Your request has been assigned to
Pamela A-Campbell, FOIA Specialist.  You may contact Pamela A-Campbell by email at parringtoncampbell@usaid.gov or by phone on 202-712-4476.  Please reference the tracking number cited above in any future correspondence.
Qianna Norman FOIA Specialist
Bureau for Management
Office of Management Services
Information and Records Division

From: United States Agency for International Development

Dear Ms. Best:

In reviewing your request, you have requested the following [copies of all
emails containing the terms "Muck Rock", "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].

*Please consider narrowing the scope to the FOIA office and providing a
time frame*. Otherwise, you could potential receive numerous news articles
or other information that may mention the search terms provided.

Your request has been placed on hold pending your response. Please provide
the requested information within 10 days from the date of this email. You
may send that correspondence to me at parringtoncampbell@usaid.gov, and
please reference the FOIA request number cited above. If we do not receive
a response from you within the specified time frame, we will consider the
non-response a withdrawal of your FOIA request and no further action will
be taken on it.

Pamela A-Campbell
Government Information Specialist (FOIA)
USAID U.S. Agency for International Development
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
M/MS/IRD, Rm. 2.07-079, Washington, DC 20523
Direct: 202 712-4476 / Fax: 202 216-3070
parringtoncampbell@usaid.gov <psmith@usaid.gov>

From: Emma Best

Thank you for your response. I don't wish to limit the scope by time, and I'd like to hear from the agency as a whole. However, I will consider changing that if it appears that the search returns far too many results as it is.

I can, however, add one limit that might help. If an email is sent from a USAID email address to another USAID email address, there's no reason to provide copies from both inbox - only from the sender. This should eliminate duplicates and any news alerts that are distributed to multiple people (or entire offices).

Again, if the search turns up an unreasonable number of hits outside the FOIA office, I will consider limiting the scope there. My instinct, however, is that this won't be an issue.

I hope this helps, and I really appreciate your help and patience with this!

-Emma Best

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