Robert Wilkie Communication

Jasper Craven filed this request with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs of the United States of America.
Tracking #

18-07982-F

Est. Completion None
Status
Fix Required

Communications

From: Jasper Craven


To Whom It May Concern:

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

All communications between Robert Wilkie and the following current and former officials: Darin Selnick, Peter O'Rourke Jake Leinenkugel, Curt Cashour, Casin Spero, David Shulkin, Jared Kushner. Please provide all communications between March 28, 2018 and present day. Search terms should include, but are not limited to: "VA," "mission," "choice," "CVA," congress," and "privatization."

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,

Jasper Craven

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Dear Mr. Craven:

This email acknowledges receipt of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) dated May 21, 2018, in which you requested all communications between Robert Wilkie and the following current and former officials: Darin Selnick, Peter O'Rourke Jake Leinenkugel, Curt Cashour, Casin Spero, David Shulkin, Jared Kushner. Please provide all communications between March 28, 2018 and present day. Search terms should include, but are not limited to: "VA," "mission," "choice," "CVA," congress," and "privatization."
The FOIA Service received your request on May 22, 2018, and assigned it FOIA tracking number 18-07982-F. Please refer to this number when communicating with the VA about this request.

The records you requested, if they exist, would be maintained by the Office of the Secretary Veterans Affairs (OSVA). Therefore, we are redirecting your request to that office for a file search and a direct response to you. If you wish to know the status of your request, please contact them directly at the following address:

Department of Veterans Affairs
OSVA, (002B) VACO
FOIA Officer: Milli O'Brien
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Email: osvafoia@va.gov<mailto:osvafoia@va.gov>
Phone: (202) 461-4809
Fax: (202) 273-4880

Questions regarding the status of your request should be directed to Ms. O'Brien.

We appreciate your interest in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Sincerely,

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

Please take a moment and let us know how we did by completing a quick evaluation: Got a minute? Rate Our Service!<https://vaww.vashare.oit.va.gov/sites/QPR/Lists/QPR%20Customer%20Satisifaction%20Evaluation/Item/newifs.aspx>

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From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Good afternoon Mr. Craven,

Please see the attached request for clarification regarding your FOIA request.

Thank you,

OSVA FOIA Office

From: Jasper Craven

Hello,

You can limit the search to the following terms:

Choice Act
Mission Act
CVA
privatize
Cohen
Trump
White House

Thank you!

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Good afternoon Mr. Craven,
We will issue a partial response tomorrow.

Regards,

Richard Ha, JD, CIPP/G
OSVA FOIA/Privacy Officer
Office of the Executive Secretary, Office of the Secretary (OSVA)
U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs
202-632-5286 o
202-309-3072 c
Richard.ha1@va.gov<mailto:Richard.ha1@va.gov>
Telework Weds
CWS 2nd Mon

These messages and attachments are For Official Use Only, not to be shared outside intended parties, and may be exempt from disclosure pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(3) prohibiting the release of information that another statute prohibits; 41 U.S.C. § 4702(b) prohibiting the release of unincorporated proposals; 41 U.S.C. § 423(a) prohibiting the release of bid or proposal information or evaluations before award; 26 U.S.C. § 6103 prohibiting the release of tax identification numbers; 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(4) prohibiting the release of confidential commercial information; 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5) under the deliberative process, attorney-client, and work product privileges; and 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6) protecting personally identifiable information. If you received these messages and attachments in error, you must inform the FOIA Officer and destroy them immediately. The VA reserves its discovery rights including, but not limited to, objections, privileges, motions, etc.

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

July 10, 2018 In Reply Refer To: 001B

FOIA Request: 18-07982-F

Mr. Jasper Craven

MuckRock News

DEPT MR 54616

411A Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02144
requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

Dear Mr. Craven:

This is the Partial Initial Agency Decision to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) dated May 21, 2018, and referred to our FOIA office on May 22, 2018. You requested: "all communications between Robert Wilkie and the following current and former officials: Darin Selnick, Peter O'Rourke, Jake Leinenkugel, Curt Cashour, Casin Spero, David Shulkin, Jared Kushner. Please provide all communications between March 28, 2018 and present day. Search terms should include, but are not limited to: VA, mission, choice, CVA, congress, and privatization."

On June 6, 2018, you clarified your search terms to: Choice Act, Mission Act, CVA, privatize, Cohen, Trump, and White House. The Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (OSVA) is processing your FOIA request assigned tracking number 18-07982-F.

Partial Initial Agency Decision and June 5, 2018 and July 9, 2018 Reasonable Searches

On June 5, 2018, our search cut-off date, we searched through former Acting Secretary Robert Wilkie's emails and calendar from April 2, 2018 (the date he joined VA) to May 25, 2018 (the date he stepped down from his Acting role due to his status as Nominee). We searched for communications with Jared Kushner, David Shulkin, Jake Leinenkugel, Darin Selnick, and Peter O'Rourke. For communications with Jared Kushner, David Shulkin, and Jake Leinenkugel, we found no responsive records.

For communication with Darin Selnick and Peter O'Rourke, we now release three (3) pages. 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5) exempts from disclosure "inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters which would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the agency." Under the deliberative process privilege and consultant corollary doctrine, the consulting advice of consultants may be withheld if they are advocating for the government's interest and not their own commercial interests. DOI v. Klamath, 532 U.S. 1, 20 (2001). Exposure of premature discussions before a final decision is made could create undue public confusion and jeopardize the integrity of the decision-making process or successful completion of improvements to government programs. Further, the release of the redacted information would negatively impact the ability of consultants and federal employees to openly and frankly consider issues amongst themselves when evaluating and analyzing government programs. Moreover, the predecisional character of a document is not altered by the passage of time. Bruscino v. BOP, No. 94-1955, 1995 WL 444406 at *5 (D.D. C. May 15, 1995), aff'd in part, No. 95-5212, 1996 WL 393101 (D.C. Cir. June 24, 1996).

5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6) exempts from required disclosure "personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." "Withholding a telephone number or e-mail address, alone, is not sufficient to protect that [privacy] interest; alternate means of contacting and harassing these employees would be readily discoverable on the Internet if this court ordered their names disclosed." Long v. Immigration & Customs Enf't, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160719 (D.C. Cir. 2017). Information withheld consists of names, phone or facsimile numbers, and email addresses of VA employees who are not Senior Executives and VA consultants. Disclosure could expose employees to forgery, fraud, identity theft, and harassment. The redacted information reveals nothing about how the agency performs its statutory duties.

We will conduct further searches for former Acting Secretary Robert Wilkie's communication with Peter O'Rourke, Curt Cashour, and Casin Spero and, if there are any responsive records, release redacted pages accordingly.

FOIA Mediation
As part of the 2007 FOIA amendments, the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) was created to offer mediation services to resolve disputes between FOIA requesters and Federal agencies as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation. Using OGIS services does not affect your right to pursue litigation. Under the provisions of the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, the following contact information is provided to assist FOIA requesters in resolving disputes:

VA Central Office FOIA Public Liaison:
Name: John Buck
Email Address: vacofoiaservice@va.gov<mailto:vacofoiaservice@va.gov>

Office of Government Information Services (OGIS)
Email Address: ogis@nara.gov<mailto:ogis@nara.gov>
Fax: 202-741-5769
Mailing address:
National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001

FOIA Appeal
This concludes OSVA's partial IAD to request 18-07982-F. Please be advised that should you desire to do so, you may appeal the determination made in this response to:

Office of General Counsel (024)
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420

If you should choose to file an appeal, please include a copy of this letter with your written appeal and clearly indicate the basis for your disagreement with the determination set forth in this response. Please be advised that in accordance with VA's implementing FOIA regulations at 38 C.F.R. § 1.559, your appeal must be postmarked no later than ninety (90) days of the date
of this letter.

Sincerely,

Richard Ha, JD, CIPP/G

OSVA FOIA Officer

Attachments - three (3) redacted pages

Richard Ha, JD, CIPP/G
OSVA FOIA/Privacy Officer
Office of the Executive Secretary, Office of the Secretary (OSVA)
U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs
202-632-5286 o
202-309-3072 c
Richard.ha1@va.gov<mailto:Richard.ha1@va.gov>
Telework Weds
CWS 2nd Mon

These messages and attachments are For Official Use Only, not to be shared outside intended parties, and may be exempt from disclosure pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(3) prohibiting the release of information that another statute prohibits; 41 U.S.C. § 4702(b) prohibiting the release of unincorporated proposals; 41 U.S.C. § 423(a) prohibiting the release of bid or proposal information or evaluations before award; 26 U.S.C. § 6103 prohibiting the release of tax identification numbers; 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(4) prohibiting the release of confidential commercial information; 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5) under the deliberative process, attorney-client, and work product privileges; and 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6) protecting personally identifiable information. If you received these messages and attachments in error, you must inform the FOIA Officer and destroy them immediately. The VA reserves its discovery rights including, but not limited to, objections, privileges, motions, etc.

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