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Lawsuit: CREW versus Department of Justice (DOJ): Regarding Investigation Records of Magliocchetti: 2/14/11 - DOJ Complaint

Lawsuit: CREW versus Department of Justice (DOJ): Regarding Investigation Records of Magliocchetti: 2/14/11 - DOJ Complaint

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Published by CREW
On October 12, 2010, CREW filed an administrative appeal from the refusal of the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) to process CREW's request for records related to the Department of Justice's investigation into former PMA founder and owner Paul J. Magliocchetti. On February 14, 2011, CREW filed a complaint against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) seeking the expedited release of records concerning DOJ's investigation and prosecution of Paul J. Magliocchetti, the founder and owner of PMA Group, Inc., for false statements, making illegal conduit campaign contributions, making illegal corporate campaign contributions, and other charges. Mr. Magliocchetti pled guilty to most of the charges against him, and the government made public the plea agreement he entered with DOJ and issued press releases announcing both the prosecution and the plea agreement. Nevertheless, in response to CREW's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents related to the investigation and prosecution, the Criminal Division withheld all documents under Exemption 7(A), which protects records compiled for law enforcement purposes that reasonably could be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings. Separately, the Executive Office for United States Attorneys also withheld all responsive documents, claiming their release would violate the Privacy Act.
On October 12, 2010, CREW filed an administrative appeal from the refusal of the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) to process CREW's request for records related to the Department of Justice's investigation into former PMA founder and owner Paul J. Magliocchetti. On February 14, 2011, CREW filed a complaint against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) seeking the expedited release of records concerning DOJ's investigation and prosecution of Paul J. Magliocchetti, the founder and owner of PMA Group, Inc., for false statements, making illegal conduit campaign contributions, making illegal corporate campaign contributions, and other charges. Mr. Magliocchetti pled guilty to most of the charges against him, and the government made public the plea agreement he entered with DOJ and issued press releases announcing both the prosecution and the plea agreement. Nevertheless, in response to CREW's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents related to the investigation and prosecution, the Criminal Division withheld all documents under Exemption 7(A), which protects records compiled for law enforcement purposes that reasonably could be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings. Separately, the Executive Office for United States Attorneys also withheld all responsive documents, claiming their release would violate the Privacy Act.

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Published by: CREW on Mar 21, 2011
Copyright:Public Domain

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04/06/2012

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INTHEUNITEDSTATESDISTRICTCOURTFORTHEDISTRICTOFCOLUMBIAU.S.DEPARTMENTOFJUSTICE
950PennsylvaniaAvenue,N.W.Washington,D.C.20530,
CITIZENSFORRESPONSIBILITYANDETHICSINWASHINGTON
1400EyeStreet,N.W.Suite450Washington,D.C.20005,CivilActionNo.Plaintiff,Defendant.v.
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COMPLAINTFORINJUNCTIVEANDDECLARATORYRELIEF
1.ThisisanactionundertheFreedom
ofInformation
Act("FOIA"),5U.S.C.§552,andtheFederalDeclaratoryJudgmentAct,28U.S.C.§§2201
&
2202,forinjunctive,declaratoryandotherappropriaterelief.Plaintiffseekstheexpeditedrelease
of
recordsconcerningtheinvestigationandprosecution
of
PaulJ.Magliocchetti,thefounderandowner
of
PMAGroup,Inc.forfalsestatements,makingillegalconduitcampaigncontributions,makingillegalcorporatecampaigncontributions,andothercharges.Becausetherequestedrecordsinvolveamatter
of
substantialpublicinterest,andthereisan"urgencytoinformthepublic"abouttheinvestigationandprosecution
of
Mr.Magliocchetti,plaintiffisstatutorilyentitledtotheexpediteddisclosure
of
therecordsitseeks.Notwithstandingthatentitlement,defendanthasimproperlywithheldtherequestedrecords.
JurisdictionandVenue
2.ThisCourthasbothsubjectmatterjurisdictionoverthisactionandpersonaljurisdictionoverthepartiespursuantto5
U.S.c.
§§552(a)(4)(B).ThisCourtalsohas
 
jurisdictionoverthisactionpursuantto28U.S.C.§1331and28U.S.C.§§2201(a)
&
2202.Venueliesinthisdistrictunder5U.S.C.
§
552(a)(4)(B).
Parties
3.PlaintiffCitizensforResponsibilityandEthicsinWashington("CREW")isanonprofitcorporation,organizedundersection501(c)(3)
of
theInternalRevenueCode.CREWiscommittedtoprotectingtheright
of
citizenstobeinformedabouttheactivities
of
governmentofficialsandtoensuringtheintegrity
of
governmentofficials.
CREW
seekstoempowercitizenstohaveaninfluentialvoiceingovernmentdecisionsandinthegovernmentaldecision-makingprocessthroughthedissemination
of
informationaboutpublicofficialsandtheiractions.Toadvanceitsmission,
CREW
usesacombination
of
research,litigationandadvocacy.Aspart
of
itsresearch,
CREW
usesgovernmentrecordsmadeavailabletoitundertheFOIA.4.Defendant
DOl
isanagencywithinthemeaning
of
5
U.S.c.
§552(f)and5U.S.C.§
702.
DOl
isthefederalagencywithpossessionandcontrol
of
therequestedrecordsandisresponsibleforfulfillingplaintiff'sFOIArequest.TheCriminalDivision,theExecutiveOfficeforUnitedStatesAttorneys("EOUSA"),andtheOffice
ofInformation
Policy("OIP")arecomponents
of
defendant
DOl.
DOJ'sInvestigationandProsecutionofPaulJ.Magliocchetti
5.OnAugust
5,2010,
defendant
DOl
andtheU.S.Attorney'sOfficefortheEasternDistrict
of
Virginiaissuedidenticalpressreleasesannouncingthearrest
of
Mr.Magliocchetti,identifiedasthefounderandpresident
of
PMAGroup,Inc.,formakingillegalcampaigncontributionsandfalsestatementstoafederalagency.Specifically,thegovernmentallegedthatfrom2005through2008,Mr.Magliocchettiusedmembers
of
hisfamily,friends,andPMAlobbyiststomake$386,250inillegalfederalcampaigncontributions,andthatheactedto
2
 
concealfromtheFederalElectionCommissionthefactthatheandhiscompanywerethetruesources
of
thefundsforthoseillegalcontributions.6.OnSeptember24,2010,Mr.Magliocchettianddefendant
DO]
enteredintoapleaagreementinwhichMr.Magliocchettiagreedtopleadguiltytomakingfalsestatements,makingillegalconduitcampaigncontributions,andmakingillegalcorporatecampaigncontributions.
Plaintiff'sFOIARequestsandRequestsforExpeditedProcessing
7.BylettersdatedSeptember27,2010,anddeliveredbyfacsimiletodefendant
DOl's
componentstheCriminalDivision,EOUSAandOIP,plaintiffrequestedundertheFOIAthefollowingagencyrecords(including,butnotlimitedto,electronicrecordsandinformation,audiotapes,videotapesandphotographs):[A]llrecords
...
pertainingtotheinvestigationandprosecution
of
Paul
1.
Magliocchetti,thefounderandowner
of
PMAGroup,Inc.,forfalsestatements,makingillegalconduitcampaigncontributions,makingillegalcorporatecampaigncontributions,andanyotherchargesatissuein
UnitedStates
of
America
v.
Paul
J
Magliocchetti,
Crim.No.1:10-cr-287(E.D.Va.).8.TheCriminalDivision,EOUSAandOIPreceived
plaintiffs
lettersdescribedin
~
7byfacsimileonSeptember
27,2010.
9.InitsletterstotheCriminalDivision,EOUSAandOIPdatedSeptember27,2010,plaintiffrequestedexpeditedprocessing
of
theFOIArequestsdescribedin
~
7.Plaintiffsrequestsconformedwiththerequirementsforsuchrequestssetforthindefendant
DOl's
regulations.PlaintiffstatedthatitsFOIArequestsmeetthecriteriaforexpeditedprocessingunderdefendant
DOl's
regulations,28CFR
§
16.5(d),because
1)
theypertaintoamatteraboutwhichthereisan"urgencytoinformthepublicaboutanactualorallegedfederalgovernmentactivity,"andtherequestsaremadeby"apersonprimarilyengagedindisseminatinginformation;"and2)theyinvolveamatter
of
"widespreadandexceptionalmediainterest
3

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