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Judicial Watch • 2012 125 Garcia Ack Letter Final

2012 125 Garcia Ack Letter Final

2012 125 Garcia Ack Letter Final

Page 1: 2012 125 Garcia Ack Letter Final


Number of Pages:9

Date Created:June 4, 2012

Date Uploaded to the Library:February 20, 2014

Tags:ofHomeland, ofInformation, Emergency, Murray, ofthe, Inspector, activities, waiver, operations, Freedom, DHS, security, watch, Obama, request, judicial, records, department, office, Washington, EPA, IRS, ICE, CIA

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Office Inspector General
Washington, 20528
JUN 2012
Ms. Lisette Garcia
Judicial Watch, Inc.
425 Third Street SW, Suite 800
Washington, 20024
Subject: Freedom Information Act Request No. 2012-125 Fee Waiver Denial
Dear Ms. Garcia:
This acknowledges your Freedom Information Act (FOIA) request the Department Homeland Security (DHS) Office oflnspector General (OIG), dated May 30, 2012,
and seeking communications respecting the legality recovering improper payments
any kind disbursed via FEMAs Emergency Food Shelter Program (copy attached for
reference). Your request also seeks fee waiver. Your letter was received this office May 30, 2012, and was assigned the above-referenced tracking number.
Your request has been placed the queue for processing the order which was
received. Simple requests are answered more quickly and will placed the fast track our multi-track processing system. More complex requests, including those calling for particularly large volume records, are segregated into group designated Project
Requests. These require significantly more processing time and are processed separately the order which received. Due the increasing number ofFOIA requests received this office, may encounter some delay processing yo11 request. Per Section
5.5(a) the DHS FOIA regulations, C.F.R. Part DHS-OIG processes FOIA requests
according their order receipt. Although DHS-OIGs goal respond within
business days receipt your request, the FOIA does permit
10-day extension this
time period under U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(B). your request seeks numerous documents
that will necessitate thorough and wide-ranging search, DHS-OIG hereby invokes this
10-day extension for your request, and estimates response your request
provided within business days. Please note, however, that the actual time required
respond your request depends how many responsive records and the types
records identified and located our records search. you care narrow the scope
your request, please contact our office. will make every effi>rt comply with your
request timely manner.
The DHS FOIA Regulations, CFR 5.1 l(k)(2), set forth six factors examine
determining whether the applicable legal standard for fee waiver has been met.
considered these factors evaluation your request for
fee waiver:
Whether the subject the requested records concerns the operations
activities the government;
Whether the disclosure likely contribute understanding
Whether disclosure the requested information will contribute public
government operations activities;
understanding, opposed the individual understanding the requestor;
Whether the disclosure likely contribute significantly public
understanding government operations activities;
Whether the requester has commercial interest that would furthered
the requested disclosure; and
Whether any identified commercial interest the requester sufficiently
large, comparison with the public interest disclosure, that disclosure
primarily the commercial interest the requester. requester, you bear the burden under the FOIA showing that the fee waiver
requirements have been met. Based review your May 30, 2012 letter, and for
the reasons stated herein, have decided deny your fee waiver request. reaching
conclusion have analyzed the above factors they apply the circumstances your
request. While the records you seek concern the operations activities OHS and
you not appear have overriding commercial interest the records, other relevant
factors have not been met. qualify for fee waiver, you must make adequate showing that release the
information you likely contribute significantly the public larges
understanding government operations activities. Your assertions how production these records will contribute the publics understanding government operations
activities are, however, conclusory. For example, you state generally that:
The particular records requested herein are sought part Judicial Watchs
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.
Such general statements not satisfy your burden under the FOIA showing that fee
waiver requirements have been met, they are too speculative for conclude that
release you would any interest anyone but narrow segment interested
persons. addition, denying your request for status representative the news media.
OHS FOIA regulations specifically define representative the news media any
person actively gathering news for entity that organized and operated publish
broadcast news the public. See, C.F.R. (b)(6). Based
the information
contained your letter, denying your request for media status because you have not
presented convincing argument that Judicial Watch, Inc. entity organized and
operated publish broadcast news the public. this point, without fee waiver being granted, OHS regulations allow recover
part the cost complying with your request. shall charge you for records
accordance with the OHS lnterim FOIA regulations they apply non-commercial
other requestors. non-commercial requestor you will charged 10-cents page
for duplication, although the first 100 pages are free, are the first two hours search
time, after which yOu will pay the per quarter-hour rate pay ($4.00, .00, $10.25)
for the searcher. You stated your request that you are willing pay assessable fees $350.00. You contacted before any further fees are accrued.
You have the right appeal the determination deny your fee aiver request. Your
appeal must writing and received within days the date this response. Please
address any appeai to:
FOIA/PA Appeals Unit
OHS/Inspector General
STOP 2600
245 Murray Drive, SW, Building 410
Washington, 20528
Both the envelope and letter appeal must clearly marked, Freedom Information
Act/Privacy Act Appeal. Your appeal letter must also clearly identify the OIGs
response. Additional information submitting appeal set forth the OHS
regulations C.F.R. 5.9. you have any questions about this response please contact
Kirsten Teal, FOIA/PA Disclosure Specialist, 202-632-0346.
The Office Government Information Services (OGIS) also mediates disputes between
FOIA requesters and Federal agencies non-exclusive alternative litigation. you
are requesting access your own records (which considered Privacy Act request),
you should know that OGIS does not have the authority handle requests made under
the Privacy Act 1974. you wish contact OGIS, you may email that entity call 877-684-6448.
Assistant Counsel the Inspector General
Copy the
FOIA Reguest
05/30/2012 00:16
05/30. 00:14
STANDARD JudiciaIWatcli
425 Third St., SW, Ste. 800
Washington. 20024
Phone: 202-646-5172
Fax: 202-646-5199
fDh CJ,HeF
Fax=. t.=
Phone: Oraent For D/7--0 2(Including cover page)
Review Please Comment Please Reply
Because one above the law!
May 30, 2012
(703) 235-0443; (202) 254-4398; (202) 646-3347; (2()2) 282-9186; {202) 646-3055
Deputy FOIA Chief Delores Barber
Dept Homeland Security Mail Stop-0655
245 Murray Dr., S.W., Bldg. 410
Washington, D.C. 20528-0655
FOIA ChiefAnthony Bennett
Federal Emergency Mgmt Agency
Department Homeland Security
500 Street, S.W., Rm. 840
Washington, D.C. 20472
Acting FOIA Chief Fernando Pineiro
Office General Counsel
Department Homeland Security
245 Murray Lane
Mail Stop-3650
FOIA ChiefKatherine Gallo
Office the Inspector General
Dept. Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528-0001
Mail Stop-2600
245 Murr Dr., S.W., Bldg. 410
Washington, D.C. 20528-0001
Records Management/Disclosure Branch
1800 Bell St., 4th Fl.
Mail Stop-3005
Arlington, 22202
Re: FOIA About Uncollected Emergency Food Shelter Program Overpavments
Dear Mmes. Barber Gallo, Messrs. Bennett Pineiro:
The Department Homeland Security (DHS) yesterday published its High
Dollar Overpayments Report for the Quarter Ending March 31, 2012. The report stated
that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) overpayments disbursed via its
Emergency Food Shelter Program (EFSP) the amount of$362,484.63 had been
outstanding for 137 days March 31, 2012. The report further stated that
collection action was underway with respect the $362,484.63 improperly paid EFSP
because FEMA was unclear the legality recovering such funds.
Hence, pursuant the Freedom oflnformation Act (FOIA), U.S.C. 552,
Judicial Watch, Inc., (Judicial Watch) hereby requests that DHS, including its Office
March 2012, May 15, 2012,
Secretary Janet Napolitano, Dept Homeland Sec., Memo for Council Insp. Gen. for Integrity
Efficiency, .Quarterly High-Dollar Overpayments Report
425 Third St, SW, Suite 800, Washing ton 20024
FAX: (202) 646-5199
Tel: (202) 646-5172or1-888-593-8442
May 30, 2012
Inspector General (DHS-OIG) and Office General Counsel (DijS-OGC), well
FEMA, including its Chief Financial Officer (FEMA-OCFO) and EFSP, each produce
the following records within twenty (20) business days:
All communications respecting the legality recovering improper
payments any kind including overpayments and wrongful
payments disbursed via FEMAs Emergency Food Shelter
The time frame for this request November 2011 through the present. placing this request, Judicial Watch directs your attention President Barack
Obamas January 21, 2009 Memorandum concerning the Freedom oflnformation Act
which states:
All agencies should adopt presumption favor disclosure,
order renew their commitment the principles embodied
FOIA ... The presumption discloslire should applied all
decisions involving FOIA.
Freedom Information Act. Pres. Mero. January 21, 2009, Fed. Reg. 4683.
The memo further provides that The Freedom Information Act 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 (a)(4)(A)(iii). Judicial Watch entitled waiver search fees under U.S.C. 552(a)( 4)(A)(ii)(II) because member
the news media. National Security Archive Department ofDefense, 880 F.2d 1381,
1387 (D.C. Cir. 1989)(defining news media within FOIA context). Judicial Watch has
also been recognized member the news media other FOIA litigation. See, e.g.,
Judicial Watch, Inc. US. Department ofJustice, 133 Supp.2d (D.D.C. 2000);
and, Judicial Watch, Inc. Department ofDefense, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44003,
(D.D.C. June 28, 2006). Judicial Watch regularly obtains information about the
operations and activities gov ernment through FOIA and other means, uses its editorial
May 30,2012
skills turn this information into distinct works, and publishes and disseminates these
works the public. intends likewise with the records receives response
this request.
Judicial Watch also entitled complete waiver both search fees and
duplication fees 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 government 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 Government Act 2007, which amended FOIA U.S.C. 552
Judicial Watch 501(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 are sought part Judicial Watchs 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 Watchs 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 information
obtained through FOIA the public, demonstrated its long-standing and
continuing public outreach efforts.
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 costs 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
May30,2012 effort facilitate record production within the statutory time limit, Judicial
Watch willing accept documents electronic format (e.g. mai .pdfs). When
necessazy, Judicial Watch will also accept the rolling production documents.
Judicial Watch anticipates promptreceipt the requested documents and waiver
both search and duplication costs within twenty (20) business ch!.ys. Thank you for your
timely compliance with all applicable laws.