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Judicial Watch • JW v State et al Soros Romania complaint 00667

JW v State et al Soros Romania complaint 00667

JW v State et al Soros Romania complaint 00667

Page 1: JW v State et al Soros Romania complaint 00667

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Number of Pages:6

Date Created:March 23, 2018

Date Uploaded to the Library:March 26, 2018

Tags:00667, USAID, Case, Dept, Representatives, Development, requests, defendants, AGENCY, International, government, defendant, filed, State Department, plaintiff, request, document, records, FOIA, department, Washington


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Case 1:18-cv-00667 Document Filed 03/23/18 Page THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT COLUMBIA
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.,
425 Third Street S.W., 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,
and
U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL
DEVELOPMENT,
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, 20534,
Defendants.
Civil Action No.
COMPLAINT
Plaintiff Judicial Watch, Inc. brings this action against Defendants U.S. Department
State and the U.S. Agency for International Development 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).
Case 1:18-cv-00667 Document Filed 03/23/18 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. 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
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 State Department agency the
United States Government headquartered 2201 Street, N.W., Washington, 20520. The
State Department has possession, custody, and control records which Plaintiff seeks access.
Defendant U.S. Agency for International Development USAID agency the United States Government headquartered 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.,
Washington, 20534. USAID has possession, custody, and control records which
Plaintiff seeks access.
STATEMENT FACTS October 16, 2017, Plaintiff submitted FOIA request Defendant U.S.
Department State State Department seeking access the following records:
Any and all records regarding, concerning relating any
contracts, grants other allocations/disbursements funds the State
Department the Open Society Foundation-Romania OSFR and/or its
personnel and/or any OSFR subsidiary affiliate. Such records shall
include, but not limited proposals, contracts, requests for funding,
payment authorizations, invoices, and similar budget records, well
any and all related communications between State Department officials,
employees representatives and officials, employees representatives the U.S. Agency for International Development USAID
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Case 1:18-cv-00667 Document Filed 03/23/18 Page
Any and all records communication between any officials,
employees representatives the State Department, including but not
limited U.S. Ambassador Hans Klemm, and any officials, employees
representatives Open Society Foundation-Romania, its subsidiaries
and/or affiliated organizations.
Any and all assessments, evaluations, reports similar records
relating the work OSFR and/or its subsidiaries affiliated
organizations.
Any and all records communication transmitted via the State
Department SMART system sent from any employee the U.S.
Government operating under the authority the Chief Mission
Bucharest that pertain OSFR, its subsidiaries and/or affiliated
organizations.
The time frame for the requests was identified January 2015 the present. The request the State Department was submitted certified U.S. Mail. letter dated November 14, 2017, the State Department acknowledged receipt Plaintiff request October 24, 2017 and advised Plaintiff that the request had been
assigned Case Control Number F-2017-16510. The November 14, 2017 letter was the last
communication Plaintiff received from the State Department connection with the subject
FOIA request. October 16, 2017, Plaintiff submitted FOIA request Defendant U.S.
Agency for International Development USAID seeking access the following records:
Any and all records regarding, concerning relating any
contracts, grants other allocations/disbursements funds USAID
the Open Society Foundation-Romania OSFR and/or its personnel
and/or any FOSA subsidiary affiliate. Such records shall include, but
not limited proposals, contracts, requests for funding, payment
authorizations, invoices, and similar budget records, well any and all
related communications between USAID officials, employees
representatives and officials, employees representatives the U.S.
Department State State Department
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Case 1:18-cv-00667 Document Filed 03/23/18 Page
Any and all records communication between any officials,
employees representatives USAID and any officials, employees
representatives OSFR, its subsidiaries and/or affiliated organizations.
Any and all assessments, evaluations, reports similar records
relating the work OSFR and/or its subsidiaries affiliated
organizations.
Any and all records communication transmitted via the State
Department SMART system sent from any employee the U.S.
Government operating under the authority the Chief Mission
Bucharest that pertain OSFR, its subsidiaries and/or affiliated
organizations.
The time frame for the requests was identified January 2015 the present. The request the State Department was submitted certified U.S. Mail. e-mail dated October 23, 2017, the USAID acknowledged receipt Plaintiff
request dated February 16, 2017, and advised Plaintiff that the request had been assigned
tracking number F-00013-18. e-mail dated October 24, 2017, the USAID notified Plaintiff
that FOIA Specialist was assigned the subject FOIA request. The October 24, 2017 e-mail
was the last communication Plaintiff received from USAID connection with the subject FOIA
request.
10. the date this Complaint, both the State Department and USAID have
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 Defendants
intend 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
11.
Plaintiff realleges paragraphs through fully stated herein.
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Case 1:18-cv-00667 Document Filed 03/23/18 Page
12.
Plaintiff being irreparably harmed reason Defendants violation FOIA,
and Plaintiff will continue irreparably harmed unless Defendants are compelled comply
with FOIA.
13. trigger FOIA administrative exhaustion requirement, Defendants were
required determine whether comply with Plaintiff requests within twenty (20) working
days receiving the requests, about November 22, 2017. minimum, Defendants
were required to: (i) gather and review the requested documents; (ii) determine and communicate Plaintiff the scope any responsive records Defendants 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 Comm 711 F.3d 180, 188-89 (D.C. Cir. 2013).
14.
Because Defendants have failed determine whether comply with Plaintiff
requests 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 Defendants
conduct searches for any and all records responsive Plaintiff FOIA requests and demonstrate
that they employed search methods reasonably likely lead the discovery records
responsive Plaintiff FOIA requests; (2) order Defendants produce, date certain, any
and all non-exempt records responsive Plaintiff FOIA requests and Vaughn indices any
responsive records withheld under claim exemption; (3) enjoin Defendants from continuing
withhold any and all non-exempt records responsive Plaintiff FOIA requests; (4) grant
Plaintiff award attorneys fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred this action
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Case 1:18-cv-00667 Document Filed 03/23/18 Page
pursuant U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(E); and (5) grant Plaintiff such other relief the Court deems
just and proper.
Dated: March 23, 2018
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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