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Judicial Watch • JW v. DHS (Secret Service) 01983

JW v. DHS (Secret Service) 01983

JW v. DHS (Secret Service) 01983

Page 1: JW v. DHS (Secret Service) 01983

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Number of Pages:9

Date Created:November 10, 2015

Date Uploaded to the Library:November 17, 2015

Tags:01983, IPres, Obamas, press, mexico, Plaintiffs, requests, SECRET, release, service, DHS, defendant, filed, Obama, plaintiff, request, document, records, travel, FOIA


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Case 1:15-cv-01983 Document Filed 11/10/15 Page THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT COLUMBIA
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.,
425 Third Street SW, Suite 800
Washington, 20024,
Plaintiff,
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT HOMELAND SECURITY,
Office the General Counsel
245 Murray Lane
Mailstop 0485
Washington, 20528,
Defendant.
Civil Action No.
COMPLAINT
Plaintiff Judicial Watch, Inc. brings this action against Defendant U.S. Department
Homeland Security compel compliance with the Freedom oflnformation Act, U.S.C. 552
(FOIA). grounds therefor, Plaintiff alleges follows:
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
The Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(B)
and U.S.C. 1331.
Venue proper this district pursuant U.S.C. 1391(e).
PARTIES
Plaintiff Judicial Watch, Inc. not-for-profit, educational organization
incorporated under the laws the District Columbia and headquartered 425 Third Street
SW, Suite 800, Washington, 20024. Plaintiff seeks promote transparency, integrity, and
accountability government and fidelity the rule law. part its mission, Plaintiff
Case 1:15-cv-01983 Document Filed 11/10/15 Page
regularly requests records from federal agencies pursuant FOIA. Plaintiff analyzes the
agencies responses and disseminates both its findings and the requested records the American
public inform them about what their government to.
Defendant United States Department Homeland Security agency the
United States Government and headquartered 245 Murray Lane SW, Washington,
20528. Defendant has possession, custody, and control records which Plaintiff seeks
access.
STATEMENT FACTS
For years, Plaintiff has regularly monitored expenditures U.S. Government
funds VIP travel. part this on-going monitoring, Plaintiff has served numerous FOIA
requests the U.S. Secret Service (Secret Service), component Defendant, seeking
access records about U.S. Government funds expended travel the President, members
the First Family, and other VIPs receiving Secret Service protection. Secret Service records
typically include records expenses incurred for ground transportation, lodging, meals, and
other related costs for the VIP and accompanying Secret Service detail. Plaintiff also regularly
serves FOIA requests the U.S. Air Force and other agencies for records about federallyfunded, VIP travel. U.S. Air Force records reflect the cost air travel.
Plaintiff typically analyzes the records receives response its requests and
issues reports its findings. See, e.g., Press Release, Documents Show $200,383 Taxpayer
Expenses for Obamas Denver Fundraising Trip, (Dec. 30, 2014); Press Release, Judicial
Watch Obtains Records Revealing $937,487.94 Security Expenses for Obamas 2013
Vacations Honolulu and Aspen, (Oct. 2014); Press Release, Judicial Watch Obtains
Documents: Secret Service Tab for Obama Family 2013 Africa Trip Cost Taxpayers
-2-
Case 1:15-cv-01983 Document Filed 11/10/15 Page
$2,189,727.60 for Lodging, Entertainment, and Security, (May 29, 2014); Press Release,
Obama, Biden Presidents Day Weekend Vacation Cost Taxpayers $295,437 According
Mexico: $115,500.87, (Dec. 2012). Plaintiff also typically provides links where the
records may reviewed Plaintiffs website.
The Secret Service regularly fails issue determinations response Plaintiffs
VIP, travel-related FOIA requests within the time period required FOIA, causing Plaintiff
bring suit order obtain the requested records. These lawsuits include the following: (1)
Judicial Watch, Inc. US. Secret Service, Case No. 12-1562 (BAH) (D. District Columbia)
(filed Sept. 20, 2012); (2) Judicial Watch, Inc. US. Secret Service, Case No. 13-0647 (ESH)
(D. District Columbia) (filed May 2013); (3) Judicial Watch, Inc. US. Secret Service,
Case No. 13-0950 (KBJ) (D. District Columbia) (filed June 21, 2013); (4) Judicial Watch, Inc. US. Secret Service, Case No. 14-0046 (RLW) (D. District Columbia) (filed Jan. 13, 2014);
and (5) Judicial Watch, Inc. US. Secret Service, Case No. 14-1732 (BAH) (D. District
Columbia) (filed Oct. 16, 2014).
Since July 21, 2014, Plaintiff has submitted travel-related FOIA requests the
Secret Service part Plaintiffs on-going monitoring federally-funded, VIP travel. All
the requests were identical nearly identical but for the name the VIP and the date and/or
destination the travel. Plaintiffs requests sought: All records concerning use U.S.
Government funds provide security and/or any other services [name VIP] and any other
companions their [date] trip [location].
The Secret Service has not made determination single, travel-related FOIA
request served Plaintiff since July 21, 2014.
-3-
Case 1:15-cv-01983 Document Filed 11/10/15 Page
10. all but two instances, the Secret Service acknowledged receipt Plaintiffs
request and assigned tracking number the request.
11. three instances, the Secret Service provided further communication about the
status the request, but otherwise failed issue determination whether comply with the
request, produce responsive records, demonstrate that responsive records were exempt from
production under one more FOIAs exemptions.
12.
The chart attached hereto Exhibit and incorporated herein reference sets
forth, with respect each request: the date the request was sent; (2) the date any
acknowledgment letter; (3) the tracking number assigned the request the Secret Service; (4)
the date any further communication; and the identity the VIP, the date travel, and the
location the travel.
13.
Pursuant U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(A)(i), the Secret Service was required
determine whether comply with each request within twenty (20) working days receipt and notify Plaintiff immediately its determination, the reasons therefor, and the right appeal
any adverse determination.
14. the date this Complaint, the Secret Service has failed to: (i) determine
whether comply with each request; (ii) notify Plaintiff any such determination the
reasons therefor; (iii) advise Plaintiff the right appeal any adverse determination; (iv)
produce the requested records otherwise demonstrate that the requested records are exempt
from production.
15.
Because the Secret Service has failed comply with the time limit set forth
U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(A), Plaintiff deemed have exhausted any and all administrative remedies
with respect its requests, pursuant U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(C).
-4-
Case 1:15-cv-01983 Document Filed 11/10/15 Page
16. result the Secret Services failure make determination Plaintiffs
travel-related FOIA requests, Plaintiff has been prevented from gathering complete records
federally-funded, VIP travel, and Plaintiffs reports about federally-funded, VIP travel have been
incomplete. See, e.g., Press Release, Judicial Watch Obtains Records Revealing Obamas
February, March 2015 Golf Vacations and Fundraisers Cost Taxpayers $4,436,245.50 Travel
Expenses Alone, (Oct. 15, 2015) (noting Secret Services failure produce requested
information regarding security costs); Press Release, Records Reveal Michelle Obamas June
Trip UK, Italy Cost Taxpayers $240,495.67 Flight Expenses Alone, (Aug. 20, 2015)
(noting Secret Services failure respond request for attendant costs for personnel,
accommodations, meals, rental cars, and related expenses); Press Release, Judicial Watch:
Records Reveal Michelle Obamas 2014 Trip China Cost Taxpayers More Than $360,000
Air Transportation Expenses Alone, (same); Press Release, Judicial Watch: Air Force
Records Show Obamas Single-Day Earth Day Trip Florida Everglades Cost Taxpayers
$866,615.40 Flight Expenses Alone, (noting Secret Services failure produce records
regarding security costs); Press Release, Records Obtained Judicial Watch Reveal Michelle
Obamas Weekend Ski Trip February Cost More Than $57,000 Transportation Expenses
Alone, (May 2015) (noting that costs for Secret Service personnel, accommodations, meals,
rental cars, etc. are not included).
17.
Plaintiff intends continue submitting identical nearly identical, travel-related
FOIA requests the Secret Service part its on-going efforts educate and inform the
public about what their government and promote transparency, integrity, and
accountability government and fidelity the rule law.
Case 1:15-cv-01983 Document Filed 11/10/15 Page
COUNT
(Violation FOIA, U.S.C. 552)
18.
Plaintiff realleges paragraphs 1through17 fully stated herein.
19.
Defendant violating FOIA failing conduct search reasonably calculated uncover all records responsive each Plaintiffs requests and unlawfully withholding
records responsive each request.
20.
With respect each individual request, Plaintiff being irreparably harmed
reason Defendants violation ofFOIA, and Plaintiff will continue irreparably harmed
unless Defendant compelled comply fully with FOIA.
COUNT
(Violation FOIA, U.S.C. 552)
21.
Plaintiff realleges paragraphs through fully stated herein.
22. information and belief, Defendant has policy and practice violating
FOIAs procedural requirements connection with the processing Plaintiffs FOIA requests
and, particular, ofregularly failing refusing produce requested records otherwise
demonstrate that requested records are exempt from production within the time period required FOIA least within reasonable period time.
23.
Plaintiff being irreparably harmed reason Defendants unlawful policy
and practice and will continue irreparably harmed unless Defendant compelled comply
fully with FOIAs procedural requirements.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff respectfully requests that the Court: (1) order Defendant
search for any and all records responsive Plaintiffs FOIA requests and demonstrate that
employed search methods reasonably calculated uncover all records responsive each
request; (2) order Defendant produce, date certain, any and all non-exempt records
-6-
Case 1:15-cv-01983 Document Filed 11/10/15 Page
responsive each request and Vaughn index any responsive records withheld under claim exemption; (3) enjoin Defendant from continuing withhold any and all non-exempt records
responsive each request; (4) enjoin Defendant from failing refusing produce all nonexempt records responsive Plaintiffs FOIA requests otherwise demonstrate that requested
records are exempt from production within the time period required FOIA least within
reasonable period time; grant Plaintiff award attorneys fees and other litigation costs
reasonably incurred this action pursuant U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(E); and (6) grant Plaintiff
such other relief the Court deems just and proper.
Respectfully submitted,
Dated: November 10, 2015
isl Lauren Burke
Lauren Burke
D.C. Bar No. 1028811
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.
425 Third Street SW, Suite 800
Washington, 20024
(202) 646-5172
Counsel for Plaintiff
-7-
EXHIBIT
July 21, 2014
August 2014
20140856
IPres. Obamas July 17, 2014 Trip
July 28, 2014
August 2014
20140853
IPres. Obamas July 2014 Trip
August 25, 2014
October 20, 2014
20141036
September 2014
February 2015
20150067
September 2014
November 2014
20150066 and
20150067 September 19, 2014
November 14, 2014
20150170 September 19, 2014
November 14, 2014
20150171
October 20, 2014
November 2014
January 2015
February 2015
20150107 and
20150217
20150439
February 18, 2015
March 16, 2015
20150560
February 23, 2015
March 16, 2015
20150564
March 13, 2015
March 24, 2015
20150740
March 16, 2015
April2,2015
20150759
March 30, 2015
April 29, 2015
20150815
Seattle, WA, San Francisco, CA, and
Los Angeles,
IPres. Obamas August 2014 Trip
Marthas Vineyard,
IFormer Pres. Carters August 2014
Trip Detroit,
Pres. Obamas August 29, 2014
September 2014 Trips
Westchester, and Providence, February 2015 Vice Pres. Bidens September 17, 2014
Trip Iowa February 2015 Vice Pres. Bidens May 2014 Trip South Carolina
December 2014 Pres. Obamas October 9-10, 2014
Tri Los Angeles,
Pres. Obamas December 2014
January 2015 Trip Honolulu,
IPres. Obamas February 2015 Trip
Palm Springs,
IPres. Obamas February 19, 2015 Trip Chicago, Pres. Obamas March 12-13, 2015 Trip Los Angeles,
IFirst Lady Michelle Obamas March
2015 Trip Los Angeles,
IPres. Obamas March 28-29, 2015 Trip Palm City,
Case 1:15-cv-01983 Document Filed 11/10/15 Page
New York,
April 23, 2015
May 2015
20150875
IPres. Obamas April 23, 2015 Trip
June 22, 2015
None First Lady Michelle Obamas June
Everglades Natl Park,
June 22, 2015
None
July 23, 2015
August 31, 2015
20151283
August 24, 2015
September 28, 2015
20151450
-2-
Case 1:15-cv-01983 Document Filed 11/10/15 Page
2015 Trip the United Kingdom and
Italy Pres. Obamas June 18-21, 2015 Trip California
IPres. Obamas July 17-20, 2015 Trip New York,
IPres. Obamas August 2015 Trip
Marthas Vineyard,