It is a clone of this request.
|Submitted||May 12, 2018|
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To Whom It May Concern:
Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:
To Whom It May Concern:
This letter constitutes a request under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act (collectively, “FOIA/PA”), 5 U.S.C. §§ 552, 552a, and the Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) implementing regulations, 28 C.F.R. § 16, by independent journalist Alejandro Ramirez. For purposes of this request, the definition of “records” includes, but is not limited to, documents, letters, faxes, memoranda, notes, reports, e-mail messages (including e-mails to and from personal e-mail accounts), other correspondence, orders, policy statements, data, technical evaluations or analysis, and studies. The definition of “records” expressly refers to materials already in existence, whether in physical or electronic form, and does not imply any need for DOJ to create new records.
A. Request for disclosure
I seek disclosure of any and all records or communications created from Jan. 8, 1947, to the date your office processes this request, inclusive, that were prepared, received, transmitted, collected, and/or maintained by the FBI relating or referring to Pam Warren, better known by her stage name Pam the Funkstress.
I request these records pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 16.3(a)(4) ("Where a request for records pertains to a third party, a requester may receive greater access by ... submitting proof that the individual is deceased (e.g., a copy of a death certificate or an obituary)"). Ms. Warren died on Dec 22, 2017, as reported Rolling Stone and other media outlets (https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/pam-the-funkstress-the-coup-dj-dead-at-51-w514656).
Associated acts of Ms. Warren include Prince (Prince Rogers Nelson), The Coup, and Boots Riley (Raymond Lawrence Riley).
B. Search parameters
Please conduct a search of the Central Records System, including but not limited to the Electronic Surveillance (ELSUR) Indices, the Microphone Surveillance (MISUR) Indices, the Physical Surveillance (FISUR) Indices, and the Technical Surveillance (TESUR) Indices, for both main-file records and cross-reference records.
C. Request for limitation of processing fees
I request a limitation of processing fees pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(ii)(II) (“fees shall be limited to reasonable standard charges for document duplication when records are not sought for commercial use and the request is made by ... a representative of the news media”) and 28 C.F.R. §§ 16.11(c)(1)(i) and 16.11(d)(1) (“Search fees shall be charged for all requests — other than requests made by … representatives of the news media,” and “No search fee will be charged for requests by … representatives of the news media”). As a “representative of the news media,” I fit within this statutory and regulatory exemption. Fees associated with the processing of this request should, therefore, be limited accordingly.
I meet the definition of a “representative of the news media” because I am “an entity that gathers information of potential interest to a segment of the public, uses its editorial skills to turn raw materials into a distinct work, and distributes that work to an audience.” See National Security Archive v. Department of Defense, 880 F.2d 1381, 1387 (D.C. Cir. 1989).
I am a full-time, professional journalist who has reported on rap music, Latino issues, immigration, homelessness and politics. My reporting on these topics has appeared in VICE, the Boston Globe, Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, Scout Somerville, Scout Cambridge, Dig Boston, and WBUR. In addition, I am the current editor-in-chief of Spare Change News, both located in Boston, Mass. My portfolio is available at ramirezalej.contently.com.
Although I am a freelance journalist, my ongoing professional relationship with editors at a number of outlets ensures any articles I write based on these documents will be published, demonstrating “a solid basis for expecting publication through that organization,” as required by the definition of “representative of the news media” in C.F.R. § 16.11 (b)(6). Under that same regulation, “components shall also look to the past publication record of a requester in making this determination.” Id.
This request is made as part of the news-gathering process and not for commercial purposes. As such, I am entitled to a limitation of processing fees.
In the event that processing fees cannot be limited, please inform me of the anticipated total charges in advance of fulfilling my request.
D. Request for fee waiver
I additionally request a waiver of all costs pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii) (“Documents shall be furnished without any charge ... if disclosure of the information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester”) and C.F.R. § 16.11(k)(1) (“Records responsive to a request will be furnished without charge or at a charge reduced below that established … where a component determines, based on all available information, that the requester has demonstrated that … Disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government, and … Disclosure of the information is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester”). This request is made as part of the news-gathering process and not for commercial purposes. As such, I am entitled to a fee waiver.
Disclosure in this case meets the statutory criteria, and a fee waiver would fulfill Congress’s legislative intent in amending FOIA. See Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Rossotti, 326 F.3d 1309, 1312 (D.C. Cir. 2003) (“Congress amended FOIA to ensure that it be ‘liberally construed in favor of waivers for noncommercial requesters.’”).
Disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest. This request will further public understanding of government conduct; specifically, the FBI’s monitoring, surveillance, and infiltration of organizations on the basis of organizational membership, political views or affiliation, or participation in protest activities or demonstrations. This type of government activity concretely affects many individuals and groups and implicates basic privacy, free speech, and associational rights protected by the Constitution.
Moreover, disclosure of the requested information will aid public understanding of the implications of the Department of Justice’s decision to relax guidelines that previously restricted the FBI’s ability to spy on organizations without a threshold showing of suspected criminal activity. These restrictions were created in response to the Hoover-era FBI’s surveillance of politically active individuals and organizations, despite the lack of evidence that such individuals and organizations had been involved in any unlawful behavior. Understanding the scope of the FBI’s surveillance and infiltration of law-abiding organizations is, therefore, crucial to the public’s interest in understanding the consequences of the Department of Justice’s important change in policy.
As a “representative of the news media,” supra Section C, I am well-situated to disseminate the information I gain from this request to the general public, to targeted communities, and to groups that protect constitutional rights. Because I meet the test for a fee waiver, fees associated with responding to my FOIA/PA requests should be – and regularly are – waived.
The records requested are not sought for commercial use. I plan to disseminate the information disclosed as a result of this FOIA/PA request through the channels
In the event that fees cannot be waived, please inform me of the anticipated total charges in advance of fulfilling my request.
Pursuant to applicable regulations and statute, I expect the determination of this request for documents within 20 days of your receipt of this request. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(i) and 28 C.F.R. § 16.5(d)(4).
If this request is denied, in whole or in part, please justify all deletions by reference to specific exemptions to FOIA/PA. DOJ must also release all segregable portions of otherwise exempt material. I reserve the right to appeal any decision to withhold any information in whole or in part, to deny the request to limit processing fees, or to deny the request for a fee waiver.
I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.
Thank you for your time and attention.
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.
There are eFOIA files available for you to download.
Thanks so much for your help with this request! I really appreciate it.