VA Correspondence with McDemott Will & Emery lobbyists

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

18-01716-F to 18-01727-F, 18-01723-F

Est. Completion None
Status
No Responsive Documents

Communications

From: Jasper Craven

To Whom It May Concern:

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

All email correspondence between top VA leadership -- all 15 listed at the following link https://www.va.gov/opa/bios/ --- and officials at McDermott Will & Emery with emails ending in @mwe.com between Jan. 20 and present day

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

Good afternoon,

This email acknowledges receipt of your FOIA request dated October 19, 2017, requesting a copy of "All email correspondence between top VA leadership -- all 15 listed at the following link https://www.va.gov/opa/bios/ --- and officials at McDermott Will & Emery with emails ending in @mwe.com between Jan. 20 and present day." Your request was received in our office on October 20, 2017. The VACO FOIA Service Office do not maintain the records that you are seeking. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a decentralized agency; therefore, we must reach out to various offices within the VA that may have the records that you requested. Recently, there has been a voluminous amount of media requests coming into our office. Your request is in the process of being assigned to several different offices for processing. You should receive an acknowledgment letter very shortly with the point-of-contact information included for each office so that you may check the status of your request. We apologize for the delay. We thank you for your interest in the VA.
Regards,

VACO FOIA Service Office

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Good afternoon,

Please see the attached regarding your FOIA request.

********************************
Barbara J. Brown
Government Information Specialist, FOIA Service
Office of Privacy, Quality, Privacy, and Risk (QPR)
Office of Information and Technology (OI&T)

202-632-7382 (Telephone)
202-400-5958 (Mobile)
202-632-7581 (Fax)
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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QPR's Mission Statement:
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From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

November 28, 2017

Via email: requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

Mr. Jasper Craven
MuckRock - Dept. 44249
411 A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516

This is an acknowledgment, fee category, and deadline extension to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated October 19, 2017, and received in this FOIA office on November 27, 2017 (See Attached). You requested:

· "All email communications between top VA leadership -- all 15 listed at the following link: https//www.va.gov/opa/bios - and officials at McDermott Will & Emery with emails ending in @mwe.com between the dates of January 20, 2017 and present day."

Your request has been assigned FOIA Tracking Number 18-01729-F. Please refer to it whenever communicating with the VA about your FOIA request.

Initial Agency Findings

The VA's FOIA operations are decentralized. As stated in Mr. John Buck's November 20, referral letter your original request will be processed by a number of VA Offices. Our office will only be processing information as it relates to the Executive Director, OALC; Mr. Gregory Giddens.

"Media-Use" Fee Category

I placed you in the "media-use" requester fee category, for which we charge duplication fees only after the first free one hundred (100) pages, and the VA does not collect FOIA duplication fees below $25.00. 38 C.F.R. § 1.561(e)(5), (f), and (g). "For other forms of duplication, including electronic copies, the FOIA Officer will charge the direct costs of that duplication." 38 CFR § 1.561(d)(2). "Direct costs include, for example, the salary of the employee performing the work (the basic rate of pay for the employee, plus 16 percent of that rate to cover benefits costs)..." 38 C.F.R. § 1.561(b)(3). At this time I do not see this request incurring any fees, should this change our office will notify you in advance.

Deadline Extension

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

November 29, 2017

Via email: requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

Mr. Jasper Craven
MuckRock - Dept. 44249
411 A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516

This is an update and clarification request to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated October 19, 2017, and received in this FOIA office on November 27, 2017 (See Attached). You requested:

· "All email communications between top VA leadership -- all 15 listed at the following link: https//www.va.gov/opa/bios - and officials at McDermott Will & Emery with emails ending in @mwe.com between the dates of January 20, 2017 and present day."

Your request has been assigned FOIA Tracking Number 18-01729-F. Please refer to it whenever communicating with the VA about your FOIA request.

FOIA REQUEST PLACED "ON HOLD" PENDING FURTHER CLARIFICATION

The FOIA provides that agencies are to search for records responsive to FOIA requests that "reasonably describe" the records requested. 38 C.F.R. § 1.554(d)(1)-(3)

Essentially, the Office of Automation/E-Messaging Services (OAE) will search for records responsive to a FOIA request when that request describes the records sought so that a professional agency employee familiar with the subject area may identify the records that would be responsive to the FOIA request and locate those records with a "reasonable amount of effort". For example, a request for any and all e-mails between two parties is not considered a reasonably described request, and would impose an unduly burdensome search responsibility on OAE.
The FOIA provides that the requester must describe the records sought in enough detail to allow VA personnel to locate them with a reasonable amount of effort. To the extent possible, the requester should include specific information about each record sought, such as the date, title or name, author, recipient, and subject matter of the document. Generally, the more information the requester provides about the record sought, the more likely VA personnel will be able to locate any responsive records. Wide-ranging requests that lack specificity, or contain descriptions of very general subject matters, with no description of specific records, may be considered "not reasonably described" and thus not subject to further processing.

We have determined that your FOIA request does not reasonably describe the records with sufficient particularity for OAE employees to identify and search for the records with a reasonable amount of effort. I am seeking clarification of your request to ensure that a search conducted by OAE is focused on locating the records you seek.

Specifically, I am requesting clarification of the following, the title and/or subject matter of the e-mails you seek.

In accordance with VA's implementing regulations, found at 38 C.F.R. § 1.554(d)(4), I am providing you with 30 calendar days to provide clarification on your request. If I have not heard from you by January 10, 2018, I will assume that you are no longer interested in pursuing your request and will take the appropriate measures to administratively close your request. Please keep in mind that the timeframe, which our office has to respond to your FOIA request does not run while we wait for your response to our request for clarification.

Should you have any questions concerning this letter or the processing of this request please contact me at patricia.litewski@va.gov<mailto:patricia.litewski@va.gov> or 202-461-6923?

VA FOIA Public Liaison, OGIS & Appeal Options

The undersigned processed your request. Should you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding the processing of this request, you have the right to seek assistance from the VA FOIA Public Liaison at 1-877-750-3642 or by email at vacofoiase@va.gov<mailto:vacofoiase@va.gov>.

Additionally, 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. You may contact OGIS by email at ogis@nara.gov<mailto:ogis@nara.gov>; by toll-free telephone at 1-877-684-6448 (or 202-741-5770); by facsimile at 202-741-5769; or by writing to: Office of Government Information Services, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, Room 2510, College Park, MD 20740-6001.

Should you disagree with these findings, you may administratively appeal in writing to: General Counsel (024), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20420. You must file your appeal within 90 days from the date of this letter clearly marking both the letter and the envelope "Freedom of Information Act Appeal." Please include a copy of this letter with your appeal, and state why you disagree with this determination.

If you are dissatisfied with any appeal results, judicial review will thereafter be available to you in the United States District Court of your residence, principal place of business, or the District of Columbia where the records you seek are located.

Sincerely,

Patricia Litewski

Patricia Litewski

Deputy FOIA Officer

Office of Acquisition, Logistics & Construction

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Patricia Litewski
Deputy FOIA Officer
Department of Veterans Affairs
Office of Procurement Policy Services
425 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Office: (202) 632-5952
Cell: (202) 697-3655

Week 1

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Office 202.632.5952
06:00-03:30 EST

Telework 202-697-3655 06:00-03:30

Office 202.632.5952
06:00-03:30

Telework 202-697-3655 06:00-03:30

CWS/RDO

Week 2

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Office 202.632.5952
06:00-03:30 EST

Telework 202-697-3655 06:00-03:30

Office 202.632.5952
06:00-03:30

Telework 202-697-3655 06:00-03:30

Office 202.632.5952
06:00-03:00

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

Mr. Craven,

Attached is the Office of General Counsel's response to your October 18, 2017, FOIA request.

Thank you for your interest in the VA.

M. Reneé Baxter
OGC FOIA Officer (VACO)
FOIA, Privacy, and Records Management
Office of General Counsel (026)
810 Vermont Avenue, NW (1175H)
Washington, DC 20420
Office: (202) 461-7862 (8:00 - 5:30)
FOIA Requester Line: (202) 461-7860/ FAX (202) 273-9299

CWS: 1ST Friday
Telework: 2nd Tuesday

VA Core Values: Integrity Commitment Advocacy Respect Excellence
VA Core Characteristics: Trustworthy | Accessible | Quality | Innovative | Agile | Integrated

"This e-mail and any attachments are intended only for the use of the addressee(s) named herein and may contain privileged and/or confidential information. If you are not the intended recipient of this e-mail, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this e-mail, and any attachments thereto, is strictly prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify me via return e-mail and via telephone at (202)461-7862 and permanently delete the original and any copy of any e-mail and any printout thereof."

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Dear Mr. Jasper Craven - attached is OSVA's response to FOIA request 18-01716-F. You can expect to receive responses from other offices within the Department of Veterans Affairs processing your request under separate tracking numbers. Should you have any questions concerning the attached response, please contact OSVAFOIA@va.gov<mailto:OSVAFOIA@va.gov>.
Sincerely,
OSVA FOIA Officer

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

January 10, 2018

Via email: requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>
Jasper Craven
MuckRock
DEPT MR 44837
411A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516

This is the initial agency decision to your FOIA request dated October 19, 2017 and received November 14, 2017, our search cutoff date. You requested "All email correspondence between top VA leadership - - all 15 . . . and officials at McDermott Will & Emery with emails ending in @mwe.com between Jan. 20 and present day." Please refer to FOIA 18-01729-F when communicating with the VA OALC FOIA office about this FOIA request.

The OALC FOIA office is processing your FOIA request for electronic mail between OALC Principal Executive Director Greg Giddens and officials at McDermott Will & Emery. Other VA FOIA offices will issue separate FOIA responses for electronic mail between other senior VA leaders and officials at McDermott Will & Emery.

Initial Agency Decision

The Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction, Department of Veterans Affairs (OALC) FOIA Officer conducted a diligent search for the requested records for the timeframe 1/20/2017 to 11/14/2017, the date the search was initiated. OALC searched through thirty one thousand nine hundred sixty-eight (31,968) emails and attachments for all incoming or outgoing emails ending in @mwe.com in mailboxes belonging to OALC Principal Executive Director Greg Giddens. Unfortunately, our search resulted in no responsive records meeting the search criteria described in your request.

VA FOIA Public Liaison, OGIS & Appeal Options

The undersigned processed your request. Should you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding the processing of this request, you have the right to seek assistance from the VA FOIA Public Liaison at 1-877-750-3642 or by email at vacofoiase@va.gov<mailto:vacofoiase@va.gov>.

Additionally, 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. You may contact OGIS by email at ogis@nara.gov<mailto:ogis@nara.gov>; by toll-free telephone at 1-877-684-6448 (or 202-741-5770); by facsimile at 202-741-5769; or by writing to: Office of Government Information Services, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, Room 2510, College Park, MD 20740-6001.

Should you disagree with these findings, you may administratively appeal in writing to: General Counsel (024), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20420. You must file your appeal within 90 days from the date of this letter clearly marking both the letter and the envelope "Freedom of Information Act Appeal." Please include a copy of this letter with your appeal, and state why you disagree with this determination.

If you are dissatisfied with any appeal results, judicial review will thereafter be available to you in the United States District Court of your residence, principal place of business, or the District of
Columbia where the records you seek are located.

Sincerely,

Richard Ha, JD, CIPP/G

VA FOIA Officer

Office of Acquisition, Logistics, & Construction

Cc: Patricia.Litewski@va.gov<mailto:Patricia.Litewski@va.gov>, Patricia Litewski, Deputy OALC FOIA Officer

Richard Ha, JD, CIPP/G
OALC FOIA Officer, Procurement Policy Services (OALC-PPS)
1/2 Detail as Government Information Specialist, Office of the Executive Secretary
US Dept of Veterans Affairs
202-632-5286 o
202-445-8261 Iphone
202-343-1434 f
Richard.ha1@va.gov<mailto:Richard.ha1@va.gov>
CWS every 2nd Fri

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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