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Judicial Watch • JW DCNF v State Steele Obama admin complaint 00968

JW DCNF v State Steele Obama admin complaint 00968

JW DCNF v State Steele Obama admin complaint 00968

Page 1: JW DCNF v State Steele Obama admin complaint 00968

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Number of Pages:6

Date Created:April 24, 2018

Date Uploaded to the Library:April 25, 2018

Tags:00968, Orbis, DCNF, ADMIN, Cheney, christopher, Steele, Plaintiffs, complaint, Hillary Clinton, defendant, filed, Obama, State Department, request, document, records, department, FOIA, Washington


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Case 1:18-cv-00968 Document Filed 04/25/18 Page THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT COLUMBIA
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.,
425 Third Street SW, Suite 800,
Washington, 20024,
and
THE DAILY CALLER NEWS FOUNDATION,
1920 Street, N.W., Suite 200,
Washington, 20036,
Plaintiffs,
U.S. DEPARTMENT STATE
The Executive Office
Office the Legal Adviser, Suite 5.600
600 19th Street
Washington, 20522,
Defendant.
Civil Action No.
COMPLAINT
Plaintiffs Judicial Watch, Inc. and The Daily Caller News Foundation bring this action
against Defendant U.S. Department State compel compliance with the Freedom
Information Act, U.S.C. 552. grounds therefor, Plaintiffs allege 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).
Case 1:18-cv-00968 Document Filed 04/25/18 Page
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.
Judicial Watch seeks promote transparency,
accountability, and integrity government and fidelity the rule law. part its
mission, Judicial Watch regularly requests records from federal agencies pursuant FOIA.
Judicial Watch analyzes the responses and disseminates its findings and the requested records
the American public inform them about what their government to.
Plaintiff The Daily Caller News Foundation has its principal place business
1920 Street, N.W., Suite 200, Washington, 20036.
Founded 2011 Tucker Carlson, 20-year veteran print and broadcast media, and Neil Patel, former chief policy adviser
Vice President Dick Cheney, DCNF 501(c)(3) non-profit organization providing original
investigative reporting from team professional reporters that operates for the public benefit.
DCNF website reaches approximately three million unique monthly visitors and its content,
which available without charge any eligible news publisher, published The Daily
Caller, Yahoo News, Business Insider and growing host other media outlets, reaching
combined audience estimated excess million readers.
Defendant U.S. Department State agency the United States
Government headquartered 2201 Street NW, Washington, 20520.
Defendant has
possession, custody, and control records which Plaintiff seeks access.
STATEMENT FACTS January 19, 2018, Judicial Watch submitted FOIA request Defendant
seeking:
Case 1:18-cv-00968 Document Filed 04/25/18 Page
Any and all records communications between State Department
officials, including but not limited former Secretary State John
Kerry, former Secretary State Hillary Clinton, and Assistant Secretary State Victoria Nuland, the one hand, and British National
Christopher Steele and/or employees contractors Steele company,
Orbis Business Intelligence, the other hand.
Any and all records and/or memoranda provided Christopher Steele
and/or his firm Orbis Business Intelligence others acting
Steele s/Orbis behalf, State Department officials.
The time frame for the requested records January 20, 2009 through the present.1 letter dated February 27, 2018, Defendant acknowledged receiving Judicial
Watch January 19, 2018 FOIA request January 26, 2018 and informed Judicial Watch that
had assigned the FOIA request Case Control Number F-2018-00827. February 2018, Judicial Watch submitted FOIA request Defendant
seeking
Any and all reports, memoranda, notes, emails and other records provided the State Department, either State Department officials directly
through third parties, British national Christopher Steele and/or his firm,
Orbis Business Intelligence.
Any and all reports, memoranda, notes, emails and other records provided British national Christopher Steele and/or his firm, Orbis Business
Intelligence, either directly through third parties, the State
Department.
The time frame for the requested records January 20, 2009 through the present.
Judicial Watch February 2018 FOIA request was sent certified mail.
According U.S. Postal Service records, Judicial Watch February 2018 FOIA request was
received Defendant February 20, 2018.
The FOIA request also sought two additional categories records, which Plaintiff
longer seeks.
Case 1:18-cv-00968 Document Filed 04/25/18 Page
10.
Defendant assigned Judicial Watch February 2018 FOIA request Case
Control Number F-2018-01467.
11. emails dated April 11, 2018, Judicial Watch and Defendant agreed modify
the language Judicial Watch February 2018 FOIA request to:
Any and all records the custody the State Department related the provision documents British national Christopher Steele and/or his firm, Orbis
Business Intelligence, the receipt documents from Steele his firm. Time
period January 20, 2009 through the present.
12. January 23, 2018, DCNF submitted FOIA request Defendant seeking
records created 2016 Jonathan Winer relating research compiled Christopher
Steele.
13. letter dated February 2018, Defendant acknowledged receiving DCNF
January 23, 2018 FOIA request January 23, 2018 and informed DCNF that had assigned the
FOIA request Case Control Number F-2018-00529.
14. February 10, 2018, DCNF submitted FOIA request Defendant seeking
records provided Defendant Christopher Steele for the time period January 2014
February 10, 2018.
15. letter dated February 21, 2018, Defendant acknowledged receiving DCNF
February 10, 2018 FOIA request February 12, 2018 and informed DCNF that had assigned
the FOIA request Case Control Number F-2018-01063.
16. 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 Plaintiffs the scope any responsive records Defendant intends
produce withhold and the reasons for any withholdings; (iii) inform Plaintiffs that they may
appeal any adequately specific, adverse determinations.
Case 1:18-cv-00968 Document Filed 04/25/18 Page
COUNT
(Violation FOIA, U.S.C. 552)
17.
Plaintiffs reallege paragraphs through fully stated herein.
18.
Plaintiffs are being irreparably harmed Defendant violation FOIA, and
Plaintiffs will continue irreparably harmed unless Defendant compelled comply with
FOIA.
19. trigger FOIA administrative exhaustion requirement, Defendant was
required determine whether comply with Plaintiffs FOIA requests within the time limits set FOIA.
Accordingly, Defendant determinations with respect Judicial Watch January
19, 2018 and February 2018 FOIA requests were due February 26, 2018 and March 20,
2018, respectively. addition, Defendant determinations with respect DCNF January
23, 2018 and February 12, 2018 FOIA requests were due February 21, 2018 and March 13,
2018, respectively. minimum, Defendant was obligated to: (i) gather and review the
requested documents; (ii) determine and communicate Plaintiffs the scope any responsive
records Defendant intended produce withhold and the reasons for any withholdings; and
(iii) inform Plaintiffs that they 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).
20.
Because Defendant failed determine whether comply with Plaintiffs FOIA
requests, Plaintiffs are deemed have exhausted its administrative appeal remedies. U.S.C.
552(a)(6)(C)(i).
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs respectfully request that the Court: (1) order Defendant
conduct searches for any and all records responsive Plaintiffs FOIA requests and demonstrate
that employed search methods reasonably likely lead the discovery records responsive
Case 1:18-cv-00968 Document Filed 04/25/18 Page Plaintiffs FOIA requests; (2) order Defendant produce, date certain, any and all nonexempt records responsive Plaintiffs FOIA requests and Vaughn index any responsive
records withheld under claim exemption; (3) enjoin Defendant from continuing withhold
any and all non-exempt records responsive Plaintiffs FOIA requests; (4) grant Plaintiffs
award attorneys fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred this action pursuant
U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(E); and (5) grant Plaintiffs such other relief the Court deems just and
proper.
Dated: April 25, 2018
Respectfully submitted,
/s/ Michael Bekesha
Michael Bekesha
D.C. Bar No. 995749
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.
425 Third Street SW, Suite 800
Washington, 20024
Phone: (202) 646-5172
Counsel for Plaintiffs