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FOIA Appeal: CREW: Department of Justice (DOJ) - EOUSA: Regarding Investigation Records of Magliocchetti: 10/12/10

FOIA Appeal: CREW: Department of Justice (DOJ) - EOUSA: Regarding Investigation Records of Magliocchetti: 10/12/10

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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.

Despite significant media attention to DOJ's indictment of Mr. Magliocchetti for illegal conduit and corporate campaign contributions, fueled in part by DOJ's own press releases on the matter, EOUSA advised CREW it could not process CREW's request without the express authorization and consent of Mr. Magliocchetti because of privacy concerns. CREW's appeal pointed out how EOUSA had misapplied the governing law and the facts here that make clear the public has a significant interest in these documents outweighing Mr. Magliocchetti's privacy interests. CREW filed the FOIA request after the government made public its plea agreement with Maglioccetti that included a highly unusual waiver by Mr. Magliocchetti of his rights under the Privacy Act and the Freedom of Information 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.

Despite significant media attention to DOJ's indictment of Mr. Magliocchetti for illegal conduit and corporate campaign contributions, fueled in part by DOJ's own press releases on the matter, EOUSA advised CREW it could not process CREW's request without the express authorization and consent of Mr. Magliocchetti because of privacy concerns. CREW's appeal pointed out how EOUSA had misapplied the governing law and the facts here that make clear the public has a significant interest in these documents outweighing Mr. Magliocchetti's privacy interests. CREW filed the FOIA request after the government made public its plea agreement with Maglioccetti that included a highly unusual waiver by Mr. Magliocchetti of his rights under the Privacy Act and the Freedom of Information Act.

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Published by: CREW on Mar 22, 2011
Copyright:Public Domain

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04/06/2012

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CREW
I
citizensforresponsibilityandethicsinwashington
October12,2010OfficeofInformationPolicyU.S.DepartmentofJustice1425NewYorkAvenueSuite11050Washington,D.C.20530-0001Re:FOIAAppealinRequestNo.10-3477DearSir/Madam:CitizensforResponsibilityandEthicsinWashington(CREW)herebyappealstherefusaloftheExecutiveOfficeoftheUnitedStatesAttorneys(EOUSA)toprocessandreleasetoCREWanyrecordsresponsivetoourFreedomofInformationAct(FOIA)requestofSeptember27,2010.ByletterdatedandsentbyfacsimileonSeptember27,2010,CREWrequestedrecordsoftheU.S.Attorney'sOfficefortheEasternDistrictofVirginiapertainingtotheinvestigationandprosecutionofPaul1.Magliocchetti,thefounderandownerofPMAGroup,Inc.,forfalsestatements,makingillegalconduitcampaigncontributions,makingillegalcorporatecampaigncontributions,andanyotherchargesatissuein
UnitedStatesofAmerica
v.
Paul.Magliocchetti,
Crim.No.1:10-cr-287(E.D.Va.).Foryourconvenience,acopyofthisrequestisattachedasExhibitA.Injustifyingitsrequestforapublicinterestfeewaiver,CREWexplainedthattherequestedrecordsarelikelytoshedlightontheextenttowhichtheDepartmentofJustice(DOJ)hastakenanystepstopreventMr.MagliocchettiandthepublicfromlearningaboutanyaspectoftheUnitedStates'investigationandprosecutionofMr.Magliocchetti,includinghisrelationshipswithmembersofCongress.Highlyunusualprovisionsinthegovernment'swrittenpleaagreementwithMr.MagliocchettiwaivingallofhisFOIAandPrivacyActrightssuggestthegovernmentseekstopreventthepublicfromlearningwhetheranymembersofCongresskneworshouldhaveknownofMr.Magliocchetti'sillegalactivities.CREWspecificallynoteditswillingnesstodiscusswithEOUSAthescopeofitsrequestandwhetheritcanbenarrowedormodifiedtobetterenableDOJtoprocessit.Inresponse,EOUSAsentCREWaformletterdatedOctober5,2010(attachedasExhibitB),acknowledgingreceiptofCREW'srequestandindicatingthatwithoutexpressauthorizationandconsentof"thethirdparty"-presumablyMr.Magliocchetti-anyreleasetoCREWwouldviolatethePrivacyAct.EOUSAalsoclaimedtherecordsare"generallyexemptfromdisclosure"pursuanttoExemptions6and7(C)oftheFOIA.Finally,EOUSAofferedtoreleaseanypublicrecordsmaintainedinitsfilesuponfurtherrequestbyCREW.
1400EyeStreet,N.w.,Suite450,Washington,D.C.20005
I
202.408.5565phone
I
202.588.5020fax
I
,~,
 
FOIAAppealOctober12,2010PageTwoByrefusingattheoutsettoprocessanyaspectofCREW'srequestthatseeksanythingbeyondpublicrecordmaterial-describedascourtrecords,newsclippings,andthelike-EOUSAhasfailedtomeetitsmostbasicobligationsundertheFOrA.EOUSA'sreflexiverelianceonthePrivacyActandExemptions6and7(C)failstotakeintoaccounttheverypublicnatureofthegovernment'sprosecutionofMr.MagliocchettiandthedocumentsandinformationthegovernmentalreadyhasmadepublicconcerningMr.Magliocchetti'scrimes,includinganindictment,pleaagreement,andstatementoffacts.Thishigh-profileprosecutionhasgeneratedconsiderablemediainterestandtheDO]itselfhastakenseveralactionstoincreasepublicattentiontothismatter.Forexample,onAugust5,2010,boththe
u.s.
Attorney'sOfficefortheEasternDistrictofVirginiaandDO]issuedidenticalpressreleasestoutingthearrestofMr.Magliocchetti,identifiedasthefounderandpresidentofPMAGroupInc.,formakingillegalcampaigncontributionsandfalsestatementstoafederalagency.'FullyfiveparagraphsofthepressreleasesdescribethefactualcontentsoftheindictmentandtheillegalconductwithwhichMr.Magliocchettiwascharged.DO]alsoissuedapressreleaseonSeptember24,2010,(attachedasExhibitD),explainingindetailtheguiltypleaMr.Magliocchettihadenteredintothatday,thenatureofhisillegalconduct,andtheavailabilityofcorroboratingevidencetheFederalElectionCommissionhadmadepublicthatsameday.
DOl's
pressreleasealsoincludedstatementsfromAssistantAttorneyGeneralLannyA.BreuerandU.S.AttorneyNeilH.MacBrideoftheEasternDistrictofVirginiadescribingMr.Magliocchetti'sillegalconductandthesignificanceofthisprosecution.Moreover,asCREWexplainedinitsletterofSeptember27,2010,toMatthewMiller,Directorof
DOl's
OfficeofPublicAffairs,expeditionofCREW'sForArequestiswarrantedinviewofthewidespreadandexceptionalmediainterestinthismatter."ReportshavedescribedMr.Magliocchettias"oneofthemostpowerfulandinfluentiallobbyistsinWashington,"DanEggenandMariaGlod,Ex-LobbyistPaulMagliocchettiChargedWithCampaign-FinanceFraud,
TheWashingtonPost,
Aug.6,2010.ThenotorietyofMr.Magliocchettiandhiscrimes,thepublicattentiongiventothismatter,and
DOl's
ownroleinmakingthepublicawareofthisprosecutionalldemonstratethatanyprivacyinterestMr.Magliocchettihasclearlyisoutweighedbythecompellingpublicinterest.ThatabalancingofinterestsunderExemptions6and7(C)wouldsupportdisclosureoftherequestedinformationisalsoevidencedbytheinclusioninMr.Magliocchetti'spleaagreementwiththegovernmentofawaiverofallofhisrightsunderthePrivacyActandtheFOrA.AsCREWexplainedinitsinitialrequest,thiswaiverstronglysuggestsDO]seeksto
!
ThesepressreleasesareattachedasExhibitC.
2
ThisletterisattachedasExhibitE.
 
FOIAAppealOctober12,2010PageThreepreventthepublicfromlearningwhetheranymembersofCongresskneworshouldhaveknownofMr.Magliocchetti'sillegalactivities.Revelationofinformationconfirmingtheseconcernswouldadvance"theFOIA'scentralpurpose...toensurethattheGovernment'sactivitiesbeopenedtothesharpeyeofpublicscrutiny."
Us.Dep
't
ofJusticev.ReportersComm.forFreedomofPress,
489U.S.749,775(1989).Finally,wenotethatEOUSA'streatmentofCREW'sFOIArequestdirectlyconflictswiththetreatmentaffordedidenticalrequestsbyDOl'sCriminalDivisionandOfficeofInformationPolicy,bothofwhichareprocessingCREW'srequests,havinggrantedourrequestforexpedition.Accordingly,EOUSA'sinitialdeterminationthatitcouldprocessCREW'srequestonlywiththeexpressauthorizationandconsentofMr.Magliocchettiplainlyisinerrorandmustbereversed.EOUSAmustbeorderedtoprocessCREW'srequestandwithholdinformationpursuanttoExemptions6and7(C)onlyafterweighinganyprivacyinterestsagainstthecompellingpublicinterestindisclosure.EOUSA'srelianceonthePrivacyActtojustifyrefusingtoprocessCREW'srequestisequallyinerror,giventheexpressacknowledgmentinthePrivacyActthatwheretheFOIArequiresdisclosure,thePrivacyActisnotabartothatdisclosure.5U.S.C.§552a(b)(2).Respectfullysubmitted,nne
L.
WeismannChiefCounselEnclosures

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