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WASHINGTON, D .C. 20463
June 15, 2011 VIA COURIER Adam J. Rappaport Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington 1400 Eye Street, N.W. Suite 450 Washington, D.C. 20005
Re: FOIA Request No. 2011-30
Dear Mr. Rappaport: This is in response to your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) dated and received by the Federal Election Commission's (FEC) FOIA Requester Service Center on March 7, 2011. Specifically, you requested:
All correspondence related to any and all FEC business between Commissioners MatthewS. Petersen, Caroline C. Hunter, or Donald F. McGahn II and any individual or entity outside ofthe FECfrom the date each commissioner took office to the present. All calendars, agendas, or other recordations of the schedules of Commissioners Petersen, Hunter, and McGahn. All written ex parte communications delivered to an FEC ethics officer or Designated Agency Ethics Official ("DAEO '') (collectively, "ethics official'') by Commissioners Petersen, Hunter, and McGahn or by someone acting on their behalfpursuant to 11 C.F.R. §§ 7.15(c), 201.3(c), 201.4(a). All statements setting forth the substance and circumstances of any oral ex parte communication prepared by any of these commissioners of by someone acting on their behalf and delivered to an ethics official pursuant to 11 C. FR. §§ 7.15(d), 201 .3(c), 201.4(a).
In the FOIA request, you clarified that the request for calendars, agendas, or other recordations of the schedules of the commissioners, "includes, but is not limited to any paper or electronic documents that record or otherwise keep track of the commissioners' appointments, meetings, events, and telephone calls, whether they are maintained directly by each commissioner or by someone acting on their behalf" You also clarified that you are limiting the "requests for written ex parte communications and statements setting
forth the substance and circumstances of oral ex parte communications to records in the possession of an ethics official."
In your March 29, 2011 clarification email, you stated that "[i}n an effort to assist the FEC in efficiently searching for records responsive to our request, CREW agrees to exclude from the initial search the FEC 's officialfiles offederal campaign-related matters (such as Matters Under Review, enforcement actions, applications for public funding, audits, litigation, and advisory opinions) and rulemaking proceedings." The letter further stated that "by agreeing to this procedure CREW is not narrowing the scope of the request. After CREW has reviewed the records the FEC produces by this initial search, we will further clarify whether additional searched are needed to fulfill the request." Based on this correspondence, the FEC has excluded from its initial search for documents the FEC's official files of federal campaign-related matters and rulemaking proceedings. In the March 29th email, you also clarified that you are excluding from your request: (1)
Correspondence sent by one of the named commissioners in a federal campaign-related matter or rulemaking proceeding solely in his or her authorized capacity as Chair or Vice Chair to represent the commission, such as a subpoena or Reason to Believe finding. Correspondence docketed in a federal campaign-related matter or rulemaking proceeding and received by one of the named commissioners solely as a carbon copy. Correspondence forwarding official reports to other government agencies or Congress and signed by one of the named commissioners solely in his or her authorized capacity as Chair or Vice Chair, such as agency privacy reports or budget justifications.
In your April 4, 2011 email, you further clarified that you are also excluding from the request "correspondence docketed in a federal campaign-related matter or rulemaking proceeding and received by all the commissioners." Based on these clarifications, we have treated all correspondence of the types you excluded in the March 29th and April 4th emails as unresponsive to this request. The FEC is continuing to process your request and has produced with this letter an initial round of responsive records. You will continue to receive additional responsive records on a rolling basis. Upon the agency's final production of records, you will receive a decision letter that will include information regarding your appeal rights. Today's letter does not constitute a final agency decision, and thus is not subject to appeal.
If you have any questions, please contact the FOIA Requester Service Center at FOIA@fec.gov, or (202) 694-1650. Thank you for contacting the FEC. Sincerely,
Katie A. Higginbotham FOIA Requester Service Center