transgender policy - HUD

Emily Crose filed this request with the Department of Housing and Urban Development of the United States of America.
Due Oct. 18, 2019
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Response

Communications

From: Emily Crose


To Whom It May Concern:

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

Any internal communications between employees up to and including the director which include the words "transgender" and/or "transsexual" and/or "transgenders" and/or "trannies". Please consider any electronic messaging, policy development documentation, legal communications between other US government agencies and handwritten notes to be responsive to this request.

Please also limit the scope of this request to dates between October 1, 2016 and September 21, 2019.

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,

Emily Crose

From: Department of Housing and Urban Development

Hello,

The attached letter is in reference to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated and received on September 19, 2019. You asked for a copy of any internal communications between Department of Housing and Urban Development employees up to and including the director which include the words "transgender" and/or "transsexual" and/or "transgenders" and/or "trannies." Including, any electronic messaging, policy development documentation, legal communications, between other government agencies, and handwritten notes.

Please be advised that HUD will comply with your request to the extent permissible by law. Any records not subject to an exemption will be forwarded to you promptly upon completion of the Department's search and review process. However, your request is too broad and vague to be processed. Asking for copies of internal communications between employees up to and including the director doesn't provide a narrow enough scope. The Department performs electronic searches by custodial names, has many employees at HUD, and you haven't provided any HUD employee names in which to utilize for a search. Also, you initially state, "internal communications" and then later state "communications between other US government agencies." You need to specify whose records you want, or, if you truly only want internal records.

Please clarify your request within 15 business days from the date of this letter. If I do not hear from you within that time, your request will be withdrawn. Please be advised that such an action will not preclude you from filing other requests in the future. If you wish to clarify your request, please email your clarification to eugene.a.mcgirt@hud.gov<mailto:eugene.a.mcgirt@hud.gov> or submit it to the following address:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Office of the Executive Secretariat, FOIA Branch

451 Seventh Street, SW, Room 10139

Washington, DC 20410-3000

Attention: Eugene McGirt
Telephone: (202) 402-4315

From: Emily Crose

Please include in the scope of this request, any communications including the provided list of words both internally, and between the Executive Office of the President (EOP) and the Department of Justice.

From: Department of Housing and Urban Development

I received your updated request asking for "any communications including the provided list of words both internally, and between the Executive Office of the President (EOP) and the Department of Justice".

But, you still haven't provided any HUD employee names in which to utilize for a search.

The Department performs electronic searches by custodial names, has many employees at HUD, and you need to provide names (or program office) in which to search.

From: Emily Crose

I'm curious how I might know the names of specific employees within HUD. I would start by asking for any emails involving the current Director of HUD (Secretary Dr. Ben Carson since we're dealing with explicit names...) or any of his direct deputies (whose names I'm baffled you'd expect me to know without any contextual information).

However, I would also like to see emails involving lower level employees as well. I've never been challenged to provide specific names to fulfill a broad FOIA request of a similar nature, so perhaps you would be able to advise me how I might be able to help you get specific names. Is there not a way for you to perform a keyword search of recorded messages for the keyword list provided? If no, what is the technical challenge that is causing this?

From: Department of Housing and Urban Development

HUD doesn't utilize a system that allows for a "keyword search of recorded messages for the keyword list [you] provided" unless it's connected to a custodian's name.

Most submitted requests of this nature indicate employee names in which to conduct a search.

Names are usually provided based on the requester having an idea of the parties involved.

It seems that communicating about this via phone would provide an easier opportunity for clarity than our current fax/email method.

From: Emily Crose

I don't have any idea of the parties that may be involved in policy development of this type and it's unreasonable for you to expect that I would have specific names of individuals involved in this kind of policy development without privileged information.

From: Department of Housing and Urban Development

Ben Carson is the Secretary and Brian Montgomery is the Deputy Secretary.

From: Department of Housing and Urban Development


From: Department of Housing and Urban Development

Your request asks for emails of HUD employees. It requires utilization of the Department's eDiscovery tool for a search for responsive records. The Department's eDiscovery tool is contracted with a third-party. The system utilized by this contractor auto-assigns a collection date on a first-in-first-out basis, and is capable of collecting records for a set number of custodians per day. As a result, the Department does not maintain direct control over the collection process and cannot alter the scheduled collection date for a particular request.

Given the high volume of requests for eDiscovery searches, the third-party system is operating at capacity with a significant backlog. Once the record collection has been completed, responsive records will be delivered to the FOIA Branch for review. At that time, we will work diligently to finalize your request as quickly as possible.

From: Department of Housing and Urban Development

The request is still open and pending.

From: Department of Housing and Urban Development

The request is still open and pending.

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