US Customs records on Columba Bush re detaining her in Atlanta 1999 incident for her failure to declare $19,000 worth of new clothing and jewelry bought in Paris

Susan A. filed this request with the United States Customs and Border Protection of the United States of America.
Tracking # CBP-2015-043332
Due Aug. 11, 2015
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Response

Communications

From: Susan A.

Submitted via online portal:

Bureau of Customs and Border Protection
FOIA Officer, Mail stop 1181
90 K Street NE, 9th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20229-1181

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following public records re: 1999 First Lady of Florida, Columba Bush (wife of current presidential candidate Jeb Bush) following her detention by U.S. Customs upon arrival from Paris at the Hatfield Airport in Atlanta, GA, for herdeliberate failure to declare to U.S. Customs her $19,000 of purchases of new clothing and jewelry she bought overseas.

Specifically, I am seeking a certified copy of any and all public record documents U.S. Customs has on file in that 1999 Hatfield Airport incident in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, involving the US Customs' detention and fine of then First Lady of Florida, Columba Bush, due to her deliberate failure to declare $19,000 worth of new clothing and jewelry she had purchased in Paris.

A June 1999 Florida newspaper article about this incident is below, in full, for your reference about this matter.

--------------------------------------------
http://www.sptimes.com/News/62299/State/Gov_Bush_says_his_wif.shtml

Bush: Wife meant to hide shopping spree from me

Mrs. Bush was given two chances to declare the correct amount of tax owed on her Paris purchases. Columba Bush paid a $4,100 fine and was briefly detained by Customs in Atlanta

Mrs. Bush was given two chances to declare the correct amount of tax owed on her Paris purchases.

By JO BECKER

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 22, 1999

TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Jeb Bush said Monday that his wife misled U.S. Customs officials about $19,000 in new clothing and jewelry she brought into the country because she didn't want him to know how much she had spent on her five-day Paris shopping trip.

Forced to explain his wife's actions at the Atlanta airport Thursday, Bush said Monday that the episode had disrupted their family life. His wife, Bush said, feels "horrible about this."

"It was a difficult weekend at our house," Bush said.

On Friday, the Bushes disclosed that Columba Bush had paid a $4,100 fine and was briefly detained by Customs agents for failing to declare merchandise when she arrived at Hartsfield International Airport. With that, the low profile enjoyed by the governor's quiet wife ended. "Shop 'til you drop," read a headline Saturday in the Bush's new hometown paper, the Tallahassee Democrat.

In his first public remarks about the Customs fine, Bush on Monday declined to specify exactly what his wife had purchased, and he tried to guard her privacy.

"I love my wife more than life -- she is my comfort and I am very proud of her. . . . What she does with our money is our business -- she can deal with that with me," Bush told reporters before signing into law the education reform package that is the biggest achievement of his first year in office.

The U.S. Customs Service, meantime, disclosed that Mrs. Bush had been given two chances to truthfully identify the amount of federal duty she owed on her purchases.

On a mandatory declaration form handed out Thursday on her Delta flight from France to Atlanta, Mrs. Bush falsely stated she had purchased $500 worth of goods, according to the Bushes and a U.S. Customs service spokesman.

Customs agents then found some shopping receipts in her purse. But Mrs. Bush declined the opportunity to change her declaration, Customs spokesman Patrick Jones said.

After that, Customs agents searched her luggage and found the merchandise. At that point Mrs. Bush confessed to all of her purchases, telling agents she did not answer truthfully at first because she did not want her husband to know how much she had spent, according to Bush spokesman Cory Tilley.

Mrs. Bush's civil fine of $4,100 was three times the duty she owed. She returned home to Tallahassee Thursday evening -- with her purchases.

“I love my wife more than life — she is my comfort and I am very proud of her. . . . What she does with our money is our business -- she can deal with that with me.”
—JEB BUSH
Governor of Florida
Customs agents could have fined Mrs. Bush up to the full dollar amount of her purchases or confiscated the merchandise. But Jones, the Customs spokesman, said that would be a highly unusual step. Thousands of people each year fail to properly declare their purchases, Jones said.

"The way it is typically done is to use the three-times-the-loss-of-revenue formula," Jones said. "Get the (duty) revenue, get the penalty and get these folks on their way."

Mrs. Bush also will have to pay a 6 percent state "use tax," which is a tax on goods that are purchased out of state but used in Florida. The tax is due by July 20. Bush spokesman Cory Tilley said Mrs. Bush is aware of the state tax -- which would be $1,140 on $19,000 in merchandise -- and she plans to pay it

The Bushes are trying to put the episode behind them, but the political ramifications could linger. Already, the Florida Democratic Party is saying the incident shows that while Bush has cultivated a down-home image, he "ain't an everyday Floridian." As of 1997, the Bushes had a net worth of $2,356,000.

Bush himself conceded that the matter could be used against his brother, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination. Jeb Bush said a sense of voyeurism characterizes modern-day politics.

"Anything is possible in politics in 1999," Bush said. "There is no line anymore, as there should be, between private lives and public actions."

Mindy Tucker, a press spokeswoman for George W. Bush's presidential campaign, would not comment on the Customs incident.

"A lot of people in political campaigns talk about a lot of things," Tucker said. "He will be running a positive, issue-oriented campaign."

Bush said he promised Mrs. Bush during his gubernatorial campaign that she could take the trip as a reward "for the sacrifices my wife made." He said she went alone because "it was clear I couldn't be gone -- I had a lot of work."

Columba Bush, a notoriously shy woman, has kept a low profile during both her husband's campaigns. During the legislative session, she often sat quietly, impeccably dressed in Chanel suits, while her husband held forth at luncheons with lawmakers.

The Bushes issued a written apology disclosing the incident late Friday night.

"My wife is not a public person. She is uncomfortable with the limelight, which is why I love her," Bush said. "I don't want a political wife -- I want someone who when I get home I can have a normal life with."
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The requested certified public record documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

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,

Susan Alyn

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 July 14, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #CBP-2015-043332.

Thank you for your help.

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 July 14, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #CBP-2015-043332.

Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.

From: Susan A.

This request was filed in July 2015 and now it is December 2015.

There has been no response from US Customs,

To MuckRock:
Please re-submit this request online:
https://foiaonline.regulations.gov/foia/action/public/request/publicPreCreate

They state online that a detention record can obtained under FOI:

http://www.cbp.gov/site-policy-notices/foia/records
Detention by Border Patrol or at Port of Entry CBP

From: Susan A.

This request was filed in July 2015 and now it is December 2015.

There has been no response from US Customs,

To MuckRock:
Please re-submit this request online:
https://foiaonline.regulations.gov/foia/action/public/request/publicPreCreate

They state online that a detention record can obtained under FOI:

http://www.cbp.gov/site-policy-notices/foia/records
Detention by Border Patrol or at Port of Entry CBP

From: MuckRock

Please acknowledge this FOIA request, copied as the original communication below, and provide an appropriate tracking number.

Thank you.

From: CBPFOIA@cbp.dhs.gov

05/04/2016
Susan Alyn
DEPT 19630 P.O. Box 55819 Boston MA 02205
Dear Susan Alyn
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Division received your letter inquiring about a FOIA request that you previously submitted to CBP reference FOIA number CBP-OFO-2015-043332.
This letter is to confirm that your FOIA request has been received by CBP and will be processed in the order it was received.  Once responsive records are available, you will be notified electronically by CBP FOIA that records are available to view via your FOIAonline account.  If you already have a FOIAonline account, you can view or print responsive records from your account.  If you do not already have a FOIAonline account, please create one by taking the following steps:

* Simply go to your search engine (i.e., google, etc.) and type FOIAonline, then hit enter, that will take you to the FOIAonline site.
* From there, press the green button on the right “Create an Account” and follow the prompts to create a FOIAonline account.
* Make sure when creating your account you use the same email address that you provided when submitting your original FOIA request – that way the email addresses in your original FOIA request can be synched with the FOIAonline account you create.
Submitting a FOIA request online is the preferred method (vs. postal mail) for many reasons:
* You immediately receive a unique FOIA tracking number and acknowledgment that your FOIA request was received by CBP.
* You can track your FOIA request any day/any time through your FOIAonline account.
* When responsive records become available, you receive an email letting you know records can be viewed via your FOIAonline account,
* You can view all of your historical FOIA requests via the “dashboard” in your FOIAonline account.
In the future, please use your FOIAonline account to submit future FOIA requests to CBP.  Please note that all FOIA requests for official travel records on an individual must include 1) the subject’s name, 2) the subject’s date of birth, and 3) third party consent.  If this information is not provided with the original FOIA request, it will be considered “insufficient”, and will not be processed.
Finally, the CBP FOIA office has a significant backlog of FOIA requests.  The expected response time for a FOIA request for travel documents is 9 – 12 months.   If you do not receive a response to your FOIA request within 20 business days, please do not resubmit the same FOIA request as it creates further delays.  We are working very hard to clear the FOIA backlog and we thank you in advance for your cooperation.

CBP FOIA Division

From: CBPFOIA@cbp.dhs.gov

The FOIA request CBP-OFO-2015-043332 has had its Tracking Number changed to CBP-2015-043332. This is normally due to the request being transferred to another agency (for example, EPA to Dept. of Commerce) or to a sub-agency to process it. Additional details for this request are as follows:
* Old Tracking Number: CBP-OFO-2015-043332
* New Tracking Number: CBP-2015-043332
* Requester Name: Susan Alyn
* Date Submitted: 07/21/2015
* Long Description: I hereby request the following public records re: 1999 First Lady of Florida, Columba Bush (wife of current presidential candidate Jeb Bush) following her detention by U.S. Customs upon arrival from Paris at the Hatfield Airport in Atlanta, GA, for her deliberate failure to declare to U.S. Customs her $19,000 of purchases of new clothing and jewelry she bought overseas.
Specifically, I am seeking a certified copy of any and all public record documents U.S. Customs has on file in that 1999 Hatfield Airport incident in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, involving the US Customs' detention and fine of then First Lady of Florida, Columba Bush, due to her deliberate failure to declare $19,000 worth of new clothing and jewelry she had purchased in Paris.
(A June 1999 Florida newspaper article about this incident for your reference about this matter: http://www.sptimes.com/News/62299/State/Gov_Bush_says_his_wif.shtml)

From: CBPFOIA@cbp.dhs.gov

Your request for Fee Waiver for the FOIA request CBP-2015-043332 has been determined to be not applicable as the request is not billable. Additional details for this request are as follows:
* Request Created on: 07/21/2015
* Request Long Description: I hereby request the following public records re: 1999 First Lady of Florida, Columba Bush (wife of current presidential candidate Jeb Bush) following her detention by U.S. Customs upon arrival from Paris at the Hatfield Airport in Atlanta, GA, for her deliberate failure to declare to U.S. Customs her $19,000 of purchases of new clothing and jewelry she bought overseas.
Specifically, I am seeking a certified copy of any and all public record documents U.S. Customs has on file in that 1999 Hatfield Airport incident in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, involving the US Customs' detention and fine of then First Lady of Florida, Columba Bush, due to her deliberate failure to declare $19,000 worth of new clothing and jewelry she had purchased in Paris.
(A June 1999 Florida newspaper article about this incident for your reference about this matter: http://www.sptimes.com/News/62299/State/Gov_Bush_says_his_wif.shtml)

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