MuckRock emails (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)

Emma Best filed this request with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs of the United States of America.

It is a clone of this request.

Tracking #


Multi Request MuckRock emails
Due June 26, 2018
Est. Completion None
Awaiting Response


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 "", 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: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Ms. Best,

This email acknowledges receipt of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) dated May 29, 2018, in which you are seeking the information stated in your email below.

The FOIA Service received your request on May 29, 2018, and assigned it FOIA tracking numbers 18-08242-F. Please refer to this number when communicating with the VA about this request.

Your request is too broad, in order to process your request we need clarification as to which office, the subject matter and a timeframe for us to do a thorough search of the records you are requesting. Please respond within 10 days of this email, until then your request will be placed on hold.

We appreciate your interest in the Department of Veterans Affairs.


Jacqueline (Jackie) Short
VACO FOIA Service (005R1C)
Office of Privacy Information and Identity Protection (PIIP)
Quality, Privacy, and Risk (QPR)
Office of Information and Technology (OI&T)
Office: (202) 632-7426
Fax: (202) 632-7581
FOIA Service Hotline: 1-877-750-3642

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From: Emma Best

The request is more than adequately described, as I have provided the exact terms required. Your request for the office (all of them), the time frame (all of it) and the subject matter (already more than clear due to the precise search terms provided). A system wide email search is more than possible, and courts have recently held that just such a request is reasonably described and compelled agency compliance.

Please process the request. Thanks!!