USTR - resubmitted letters to governors

David Sirota filed this request with the U.S. Trade Representative of the United States of America.


From: David Sirota

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act that I am resubmitting to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, per the correspondence from USTR's Jacqui Caldwell to me on 9/23/15. Ms. Caldwell requested more specificity in my request -- outlining the specific subject matter of the correspondence I am requesting. This request does that.

I hereby request specific letters or emails sent to U.S. governors, governors' offices, state agencies and/or state lawmakers by the United States Trade Representative's office between the dates 1/1/09 to the present. The specific letters or emails I request are those regarding whether or not new or existing state laws could or do violate A) the United States' existing or proposed international trade agreements and/or B) international trade rules. I also request the specific letters or emails regarding whether or not proposed state legislation could or do A) the United States' existing or proposed international trade agreements and/or B) international trade rules.

Please search for responsive records regardless of format. I request the information in a machine-processable format, such as a spreadsheet (CSV or XLS) or word processor (TXT, DOC, DOCX) format. It can be provided by email, thumb drive, or CD. If it is unavailable in any other format, an OCRed PDF (i.e. searchable) will do.

If it is your position that any portion of the requested records is exempt from disclosure, I request that you provide it with an index of those documents as required under Vaughn v. Rosen, 484 F.2d 820 (D.C. Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 415 U.S. 977 (1972). As you are aware, a Vaughn index must describe each document claimed as exempt with sufficient specificity “to permit a reasoned judgment as to whether the material is actually exempt under FOIA.” Founding Church of Scientology v. Bell, 603 F.2d 945, 949 (D.C. Cir. 1979). Moreover, the Vaughn index must “describe each document or portion thereof withheld, and for each withholding it must discuss the consequences of supplying the sought-after information.” King v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 830 F.2d 210, 223-24 (D.C. Cir. 1987) (emphasis added). Further, “the withholding agency must supply ‘a relatively detailed justification, specifically identifying the reasons why a particular exemption is relevant and correlating those claims with the particular part of a withheld document
to which they apply.’” 224 (citing Mead Data Central v. U.S. Dep’t of the Air Force, 566 F.2d 242, 251 (D.C. Cir. 1977)).

In the event some portions of the requested records are properly exempt from disclosure, please disclose any reasonably segregable non-exempt portions of the requested records. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(b). If it is your position that a document contains non-exempt segments, but that those non-exempt segments are so dispersed throughout the document as to make segregation impossible, please state what portion of the document is non-exempt, and how the material is dispersed throughout the document. Mead Data Central, 566 F.2d at 261. Claims of nonsegregability must be made with the same degree of detail as required for claims of exemptions in a Vaughn index. If a request is denied in whole, please state specifically that it is not reasonable to segregate portions of the record for release.

I request a waiver of fees associated with processing this request for records. International Business Times is a news media organization. Disclosure of the requested information to me is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government. 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 fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request.

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.


David Sirota
Senior Editor
International Business Times
(646) 867-7155

From: Caldwell, Jacqui

Mr. Sirota,

We are searching for records and will contact you next week with the status of your request.

Jacqueline B. Caldwell
Executive Office of the President
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
Office: (202) 395-9454

From: Caldwell, Jacqui B. EOP/USTR

To Whom It May Concern:

USTR responded to your FOIA request on August 31, 2016, @ 19996-25777517, however, the email was returned as undeliverable. This is our second attempt, attached is USTR's response letter to your FOIA request.