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CREW v. Department of Homeland Security (PR Firms): 9/12/2005 - Complaint

CREW v. Department of Homeland Security (PR Firms): 9/12/2005 - Complaint

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Published by CREW
On September 12, 2005 Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed suit against the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for failure to produce documents requested by CREW through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The request, dated January 11, 2005, asked for documents relating to DHS's contract and contacts with public affairs firms. DHS failed to produce the documents within the statutory time limit, thus violating the Freedom of Information Act.
On September 12, 2005 Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed suit against the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for failure to produce documents requested by CREW through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The request, dated January 11, 2005, asked for documents relating to DHS's contract and contacts with public affairs firms. DHS failed to produce the documents within the statutory time limit, thus violating the Freedom of Information Act.

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Categories:Types, Letters
Published by: CREW on Feb 04, 2011
Copyright:Public Domain

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04/06/2012

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Anne L. WeismannD.C. Bar No. 298190Melanie SloanD.C. Bar No. 454584Citizens for Responsibilityand Ethics in Washington11 Dupont Cir., N.W.2
nd
FloorWashington, D.C. 20036202-588-5565Attorneys for Plaintiff 
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
_________________________________________CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND :ETHICS IN WASHINGTON :11 Dupont Cir., N.W. :Washington, D.C.  20036 ::Plaintiff        ::    Case No.: ________________v.                                             ::
 
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF :HOMELAND SECURITY :Washington, D.C.  20528 ::Defendant                           :_________________________________________  :
COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORYJUDGMENT AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEFINTRODUCTION
1. This is an action under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. §552, as amended, as well as agency FOIA regulations, challenging the failure of the UnitedStates Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) to fulfill the request of Plaintiff for
 
2documents relating to DHS’s contracts and contacts with public affairs firms.2. This case seeks declaratory relief that Defendant is in violation of the FOIA forfailing to fulfill Plaintiff’s request for records, and injunctive relief that Defendant immediatelyand fully comply with Plaintiff’s request under the FOIA.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
3. This Court has both subject matter jurisdiction over this action and personaljurisdiction over the parties pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(B).  This court also has jurisdictionover this action pursuant to  28 U.S.C. § 1331.  Venue lies in this district under 5 U.S.C. §552(a)(4)(B).
PARTIES
4. Plaintiff Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (“CREW”) is anon-profit corporation, organized under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code.  CREWis committed to the protection of the right of citizens to be informed about the activities of government officials and to ensuring the integrity of government officials.  CREW is dedicatedto empowering citizens to have an influential voice in government decisions and in thegovernmental decision-making process. CREW uses a combination of research, litigation, andadvocacy to advance its mission.5. CREW has invested considerable organizational resources in pushing the U.S.government to take ethical issues seriously.  CREW closely monitors the laws and rulesapplicable to government agencies.6. CREW is harmed by DHS’s failure to comply with the FOIA, because that failureharms CREW’s ability to provide full, accurate, and current information to the public.  CREWhas exhausted the applicable administrative remedies with regard to DHS.  5 U.S.C. §
 
3552(a)(6)(C).7. Defendant U.S. Department of Homeland Security is an agency within themeaning of 5 U.S.C. § 552(f).  DHS is the federal agency with possession and control of therequested records, and is responsible for fulfilling Plaintiff’s FOIA request.
STATUTORY FRAMEWORKThe Freedom of Information Act
8.  The FOIA, 5 U.S.C. § 552, requires agencies of the federal government to releaserequested records to the public unless one or more specific statutory exemptions apply.9. An agency must respond to a party making a FOIA request within twentyworking days, notifying that party of at least its determination whether or not to fulfill therequest, and of the requester’s right to appeal its determination to the agency head. 5 U.S.C. §552(a)(6)(A)(i).10. An agency must respond to a FOIA appeal within twenty working days, notifyingthat party of its determination to either release the withheld records or uphold the denial.  5U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(ii).11. In “unusual circumstances,an agency may delay its response to a FOIA requestor appeal, but must provide notice and provide “the date on which a determination is expectedto be dispatched.”  5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(B).12.         This Court has jurisdiction, upon receipt of a complaint, “to enjoin the agencyfrom withholding agency records and to order the production of any agency records improperlywithheld from the complainant.”  5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(B).13. The FOIA provides a mechanism for disciplinary action against agency officialswho have acted inappropriately in withholding records.  Specifically, when requiring the release

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