Shutdown communication with congress (Department of Veterans Affairs)

Jason Smathers filed this request with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs of the United States of America.
Tracking # 14-00617-F
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Jason Smathers

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

All congressional communication in September and October of 2013 referencing the possibility of a government shutdown or the actual shutdown occurring from Oct 1-16, 2013. Please include records between 9/1/2013 and 10/31/2013 or through the date this request is processed. Please note, this is not a request for future documents, but a request to include documents generated while this request is pending the first major search for records, as the courts have allowed. Please include communication to or from any member of congress or anyone acting upon a member of congress such as their staff member. Further, please include all communication from or on behalf of congressional committees, subcommittees, etc.

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, 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,

Jason Smathers

From: VACO FOIA Service Inbox

Hello Mr. Smathers,

This is to acknowledge receipt of your October 18, 2013, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request addressed to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) seeking:

“All congressional communication in September and October of 2013 referencing the possibility of a government shutdown or the actual shutdown occurring from Oct 1-16, 2013. Please include records between 9/1/2013 and 10/31/2013 or through the date this request is processed. Please note, this is not a request for future documents, but a request to include documents generated while this request is pending the first major search for records, as the courts have allowed. Please include communication to or from any member of congress or anyone acting upon a member of congress such as their staff member. Further, please include all communication from or on behalf of congressional committees, subcommittees, etc."

The FOIA Service received your request via email on October 18, 2013, and assigned it case number 14-00617-F.

I am contacting you to find out if you would be willing to limit the scope of your request to the offices which are most likely to maintain the responsive records? That would include the Office of the Secretary and the Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs.

Please confirm/or correct the following statements as needed:

1. This search will include the Washington Offices listed above (Central Office).

2. We will not include the following VA Administrations listed below in the record search:

Veterans Health Administration
Veterans Benefits Administration
National Cemetery Administration

3. We will not include constituent-based correspondence, if any. (Note: Constituent-based correspondence may contain sensitive information concerning Veterans which cannot be released. Processing correspondence with sensitive information will required additional processing time.)

I would appreciate you responding to this email before we begin the search. In accordance with our regulations, if we do not receive confirmation and/or correction from you within 30 calendar days, we will assume you are no longer interested and close your case file. [See CFR §1.554(4).]

Please contact me to discuss, or send your clarification to: diane.cooke@va.gov or you can send it to the FOIA Service mailbox at: vacofoiaservice@va.gov .

From: Jason Smathers

Regarding #1, that is agreeable, plus search any agency likely to have records mentioned below.

Regarding #2, why would we exclude these offices? I'd be very interested in congressional communication concerning Veterans heath, benefits or burial during the shutdown.

Regarding #3, Again, if this constituent-based correspondence includes a matter that came about because of the shutdown, I would be interested in seeing it and would not want to exclude it.

From: VACO FOIA Service Inbox

Mr. Smathers,

I received your October 31, 2013, email response. Per your request, we will include the Washington Offices of the Veterans Health Administration, Veterans Benefits Administration, and the National Cemetery Administration. Also, per your request, we will include constituent based correspondence, if any.

If I have misunderstood or miscommunicated any information, please let me know.

Thank you.

From: Department of Veterans Affairs

The request has been forwarded from one agency to another agency or department for further review or follow up.

From: Department of Veterans Affairs

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: Parrillo, Jeffrey M. (VACO)

Mr. Smathers,

Attached is your letter acknowledging your FOIA request. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Regards,

Jeffrey M. Parrillo MBA, MHA, CIPP/G
Veterans Health Administration (VHA) FOIA Officer
Department of Veterans Affairs
Office of Informatics and Analytics
Health Information Governance Office, Information Access and Privacy Office,
VHA FOIA Office (10P2C1)
810 Vermont Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20420
Phone: (202) 461-5543 Fax: (202) 273-9386

This document may contain information that is privileged, CONFIDENTIAL, and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient, please notify me immediately, as the use of this information is strictly prohibited.

From: Parrillo, Jeffrey M. (VACO)

Mr. Smathers,
Attached are the initial agency decision and responsive records to your FOIA request.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

Thank you,

Jeffrey M. Parrillo MBA, MHA, CIPP/G
Veterans Health Administration (VHA) FOIA Officer
Department of Veterans Affairs
Office of Informatics and Analytics
Health Information Governance Office, Information Access and Privacy Office,
VHA FOIA Office (10P2C1)
810 Vermont Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20420
Phone: (202) 461-5543 Fax: (202) 273-9386

This document may contain information that is privileged, CONFIDENTIAL, and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient, please notify me immediately, as the use of this information is strictly prohibited.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Oct. 18, 2013. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Parrillo, Jeffrey M. (VACO)

Mr. Smathers,
I do not understand what you are seeking with this email. The email I sent you on November 22, 2013, included the initial agency decision and responsive records that are maintained at VHA Central Office.
I would be happy to assist if you clarify your concern.
Happy Holidays!
Thank you,

Jeffrey M. Parrillo  MBA, MHA, CIPP/G
Veterans Health Administration (VHA) FOIA Officer
Department of Veterans Affairs
Office of Informatics and Analytics
Health Information Governance Office, Information Access and Privacy Office,
VHA FOIA Office (10P2C1)
810 Vermont Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20420
Phone (202) 461-5543     Fax (202) 273-9386
 
This document may contain information that is privileged, CONFIDENTIAL, and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient, please notify me immediately, as the use of this information is strictly prohibited

From: Killens, James III

Good Afternoon Sir,

Please see the attached acknowledgment and final response letters regarding your FOIA request. Thanks.

James Killens III, FOIA/Privacy Officer
Department of Veterans Affairs
National Cemetery Administration
IT Business Requirements & Administrative Service
1100 1st St. NE (43D)
Washington, DC 20002
202 632-7728 (desk)
202 257-2711 (bb)
202 632-7572 (fax)
http://vaww.nca.va.gov/it_busreq_admsvc/

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This e-mail message and any attachments is intended only for the named recipient(s) above and is covered by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2510-2521. This e-mail message is confidential and may contain information that is privileged or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you have received this message in error please immediately notify the sender by return e-mail or telephone number listed above, and permanently delete this e-mail message and any attachments from your computer.

From: Department of Veterans Affairs

A no responsive documents response.

From: Department of Veterans Affairs

A cover letter granting the request and outlining any exempted materials, if any.

From: Department of Veterans Affairs

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

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