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Judicial Watch • JW v. State Cardin complaint 00852

JW v. State Cardin complaint 00852

JW v. State Cardin complaint 00852

Page 1: JW v. State Cardin complaint 00852

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Number of Pages:4

Date Created:May 9, 2017

Date Uploaded to the Library:May 10, 2017

Tags:Cardin, 00852, 2016 election, Russian, Relations, foreign, complaint, responsive, defendant, filed, Obama, State Department, plaintiff, request, document, committee, records, FOIA, department, Washington


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Case 1:17-cv-00852 Document Filed 05/09/17 Page THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT COLUMBIA
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.,
425 Third Street SW, Suite 800
Washington, 20024,
Plaintiff,
U.S. DEPARTMENT STATE,
The Executive Office
Office the Legal Adviser, Suite 5.600
600 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, 20522,
Defendant.
Civil Action No.
COMPLAINT
Plaintiff Judicial Watch, Inc. brings this action against Defendant U.S. Department
State compel compliance with the Freedom Information 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
regularly requests records from federal agencies pursuant FOIA. Plaintiff analyzes the
Case 1:17-cv-00852 Document Filed 05/09/17 Page
agencies responses and disseminates both its findings and the requested records the American
public inform them about what their government to.
Defendant U.S. Department State agency the United States
Government headquartered 2201 Street, N.W., Washington, 20520. Defendant has
possession, custody, and control records which Plaintiff seeks access.
STATEMENT FACTS March 2017, the New York Times reported Obama Administration
effort spread information about alleged Russian efforts undermine the 2016 presidential
election. See Matthew Rosenberg, Adam Goldman, and Michael Schmidt, Obama
Administration Rushed Preserve Intelligence Russian Election Hacking, The New York
Times (March 2017). According the report:
There also was effort pass reports and other sensitive material Congress. one instance, the State Department sent cache documents marked secret Senator Benjamin Cardin Maryland days before the Jan. inauguration.
The documents, detailing Russian efforts intervene elections worldwide,
were sent response request from Mr. Cardin, the top Democrat the
Foreign Relations Committee, and were shared with Republicans the panel.
Id. March 2017, Plaintiff submitted FOIA request Defendant seeking
access the following records:
Any and all records provided any official, employee, representative the
Department State Senator Ben Cardin, any member his staff, the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee, and/or any Senate Foreign Relations Committee
staff member regarding, concerning, related efforts the Russian
Government affect, manipulate, influence any election the United States any foreign country.
The time frame the request was identified November 2016 the present.
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Case 1:17-cv-00852 Document Filed 05/09/17 Page letter dated March 10, 2017, Defendant acknowledged receiving Plaintiff
request March 2017 and advised Plaintiff that the request had been assigned Case Control
Number F-2017-04799. the date this Complaint, Defendant has failed to: (i) produce the
requested records demonstrate that the requested records are lawfully exempt from
production; (ii) notify Plaintiff the scope any responsive records Defendant intends
produce withhold and the reasons for any withholdings; (iii) inform Plaintiff that may
appeal any adequately specific, adverse determination.
COUNT
Violation FOIA, U.S.C. 552
Plaintiff realleges paragraphs through fully stated herein.
10.
Plaintiff being irreparably harmed reason Defendant violation FOIA,
and Plaintiff will continue irreparably harmed unless Defendant compelled comply
with FOIA.
11. trigger FOIA administrative exhaustion requirement, Defendant was
required determine whether comply with Plaintiff request within twenty (20) working
days receiving the request, about March 30, 2017. minimum, Defendant was
required to: (i) gather and review the requested documents; (ii) determine and communicate
Plaintiff the scope any responsive records Defendant intended produce withhold and the
reasons for any withholdings; and (iii) inform Plaintiff that may appeal any adequately
specific, adverse determination. See, e.g., Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics Washington Federal Election Commission, 711 F.3d 180, 188-89 (D.C. Cir. 2013).
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Case 1:17-cv-00852 Document Filed 05/09/17 Page
12.
Because Defendant failed determine whether comply with Plaintiff request
within the time period required FOIA, Plaintiff deemed have exhausted its administrative
appeal remedies. U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(C)(i).
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff respectfully requests that the Court: (1) order Defendant
conduct searches for any and all records responsive Plaintiff FOIA request and demonstrate
that employed search methods reasonably likely lead the discovery records responsive Plaintiff FOIA request; (2) order Defendant produce, date certain, any and all nonexempt records responsive Plaintiff FOIA request and Vaughn index any responsive
records withheld under claim exemption; (3) enjoin Defendant from continuing withhold
any and all non-exempt records responsive Plaintiff FOIA request; (4) grant Plaintiff
award attorneys fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred this action pursuant
U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(E); and (5) grant Plaintiff such other relief the Court deems just and
proper.
Dated: May 2017
Respectfully submitted,
/s/ Ramona Cotca
Ramona Cotca
D.C. Bar No. 501159
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.
425 Third Street S.W., Suite 800
Washington, 20024
(202) 646-5172
rcotca@judicialwatch.org
Counsel for Plaintiff
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