FOIA request Department of Justice
Number of Pages:4
Date Created:May 17, 2011
Date Uploaded to the Library:February 20, 2014
Autogenerated text from PDF
Judicial Watcfi May 17, 2011 VIA CERTIFIED MAIL FACS.1.MILE 619-8365 1'1elanie Pustay, Jnforrnation Officer FOIA/PA Mail Referral Unit Department Justice Room LOC Building Washington, 20530-0001 (301) 583-7354 (301) 341-0772 fax Re: EXPEDITED PROCESSING for Set Audits Term Sheet Dear Ms. Pustay: 4:42 p.m. May 16, 2011, Shahien Nasiripour The Huffington Post published onlinc news article asserting that four federal officials had briefed him set audits accusing "the nation's five largest mortgage companies defrauding taxpayers their handling foreclosures homes purchased with government-backed loans." the next last paragraph the May article, Nasfripour further referred term sheet that federal officials had disclosed him the week before. That tenn sheet was the subject separate news article published 8:26 p.m. May 11, 2011. that luffington Post article, Nasi.ripour explained that the term sheet outlined plan for "the creation federal account funded the nation's largest mortgage firms help distressed bon-owcrs avoid foreclosure and settle ongoing probes into faulty mortgage practices." Despite the purportedly confidential nature ofthese records, federal courts agree that selective disclosure matters the public interest violates the letter and spirit the Freedom Information Act (FOIA), U.S.C. 552, seq. See Caton Norton, 2005 DNH 155 (D.N.H. 2005)("when the records question have already been disclos agency cannot credibly claim that releasing them response FOIA request will impede the proper functioning the administrative process inhibit the free and frank exchange opinions among govenunent personnel, because the agency has already indicated diminished expectation privacy concerning these documents through its prior voluntary disclosure")(internal citations and quotation marks omitted); Peck United States, 514 Supp. 210, 212 (S.D.N.Y. 1981 )(voluntary disclosure the privileged communications may waive the privilege); North Dakota rel. Olson 425 Third St., SW, Suite 800, Washington, 20024 Tel: (202) 646-5172 1-888-593-8442 fAX: (202) 646-5199 Email: info@JudicialWntch.org www.JudicialWatch.org USDOJ May 17, 2011 Andrus, 581 F.2d 177, 182 (8th Cir. N.D. 1978)("Prcferential treatment persons interest groups fosters precisely the distrust government that the FOIA was intended obviate.") Accordingly, pursuant FOIA, Judicial Watch, Inc., (Judicial Watch) hereby requests that the U.S. Justice Department (Justice) produce within twenty (20) business days: The set audits accusing "the nation's five largest mortgage companies defrauding taxpayers their handling foreclosures homes purchased with government-backed loans"; and, The term sheet outlining for "the creation federal account funded the nation's largest mortgage firms help distressed borrowers avoid foreclosure and settle ongoing probes into faulty mortgage practices." placing this request, Judicial Vatch directs the Justice's attention President Obama's January 21, 2009 Memorandum concerning FOIA which states: All agencies should adopt presumption favor disclosure order renew their commitment the principles embodied FOTA ... The presumption disclosure should applied all decisions involving FOIA.1 The memorandum goes state th.at FOlA "should administered with clear presumption: the case doubt, openness prevails." Nevertheless, any responsive record portion thereof claimed exempt from production under FOIA, please provide sufficient identifying information with respect each allegedly exempt record portion thereof allow assess the propriety the claimed exemption. Vaughn Rosen, 484 f?.2d 820 (D.C. Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 415 U.S. 977 1974 addition, any reasonably segregable portion responsive record must provided, after redaction any allegedly exempt material. U.S.C. 552(b). Judicial Watch also hereby requests waiver both search and duplication fees pursuant U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(A)(ii)(II) and 552(a)(4)(A)(iii). Judicial Watch entitled waiver search fees under U.S.C. 552(a)( 4)(A)(ii)(TI) because member the news media. See National Security Archive Department Defense, 880 F.2d 1381, 1387 (D.C. Cir. 1989). Judicial Watch has also been recognized member ofthe news media other FOTA litigation. See Judicial Watch, Inc. U.S. Department Justice, 133 Supp.2d (D.D.C. 2000); and, .Judicial Watch, Inc. USDOJ May 17, 2011 Deparlmenl Defense, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44003, (D.D.C. June 28, 2006). Judicial Watch regulady obtains information about the operations and activities govenunent through FOIA and other means, uses its editorial skills turn this infonnation into distinct works, and publishes and disseminates these works the public. intends likewise with the records receives response this request. Judicial Watch also entitled compJctc waiver ofboth search fees and duplication foes pursuant U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(A)(iii). Under this provision, records: shall furnished without any charge charge reduced below the fees established under clause (ii) disclosure the information the public interest because likely contribute significantly public understanding the operations activities govenunent and not primarily the commercial interest the requester. U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(A)(iii). addition, records are not produced within twenty (20) business days, Judicial Watch entitled complete waiver search and duplication fees under Section 6(b) the OPEN Govenm1ent Act of2007, which amended fOlA U.S.C. 552(a)( 4)(A)(viii). Judicial Watch 50l(c)(3), not-for-profit, educational organization, and, definition, has commercial purpose. Judicial Watch exists educate the public about the operations and activities government, well increase public understanding about the importance ethics and the rule law government. The particular records requested herein arc sought pait ofJudicial Watch's ongoing efforts document the operations and activities the federal government and educate the public about these operations and activities. Once Judicial Watch obtains the requested records, intends analyze them and disseminate the results its analysis, well the records themselves, special written report. Judicial Watch will also educate the public via radio programs, Judicial Watch's website, and/or newsletter, among other outlets. also will make the records available other members the media researchers upon request. Judicial Watch has proven ability disseminate in.formation obtained through OJA the public, demonstrated its long-standing and continuing public outreach eff01ts. Given these circumstances, Judicial Watch entitled public interest fee waiver both search costs and duplication costs. Nonetheless, the event our request for waiver search and/or duplication e-0sts denied, Judicial Watch willing pay $350.00 search and/or duplication costs. Judicial Watch requests that contacted before any such costs are incurred, order prioritize search and duplication efforts. effort facilitate record production within the statutory time limit, Judicial USDOJ May 17, 2011 Watch willing accept documents electronic format (e.g. e-mail, .pdfs). When necessary, Judicial Watch will also accept the "rolling production" documents. you not understand this request any portion thereof, you feel you require clarification, please immediately conlact Judicial Watch FOIA Manager John Althen 202-646-5172 email@example.com. Judicial Watch looks forward receiving the requested documents and wajver both search and duplication costs within twenty (20) business days. Thank you for your cooperation. Lisette Garcia, J.D. Senior Investigator Freedom lnfonnation Act. Pres. Mem. January 2009, Fed. Reg. 4683.