Specially-Designated ‘FOIA Denial Officers’ Are Handling The Education’s Rejected Requests

August 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

Specially-Designated ‘FOIA Denial Officers’ Are Handling The Dept. Of Education’s Rejected Requests
from the we’ve-got-some-bad-news-and-some-bad-news dept
While you would think this position exists at multiple agencies (NSA, FBI, CIA, the NYPD), it’s never been captured in stark black-and-white. Morgan Smith, reporter for the Texas Tribune, recently tweeted out a photo of a rejected FOIA request. A rejected FOIA is not necessarily newsworthy. But it is when it’s been rejected by someone bearing the unlikely title of “FOIA Denial Officer.”

Taylor D. August, of the Dept. of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, is also a FOIA Denial Officer. Considering the government’s general antipathy towards transparency, you’d think several agencies would have a full-time request denier on staff. But while many agencies spend more time stonewalling and denying requests, only the Dept. of Education actually has designated employees on hand solely to reject requests.

A look at the DOE’s FOIA FAQ gives us the first clue:
10. Who has the authority in ED to withhold documents (in part/whole)?

The FOIA Officers, the Office of Inspector General and the Regional FOIA Denial Officers have the authority to withhold documents.
It appears this agency is extremely well-equipped to handle numerous rejections. Three tiers of rejection are available to requesters, running all the way up to the OIG. There’s no reason given as to why the DOE would need regional “denial officers,” but this position traces back to 2006.

In a section titled (of all things) “Customer Service,” the DOE details its FOIA response automation, which routes through the Office for Civil Rights. Citing the “significant number” of requests it receives (at that point averaging around 900 per year), the agency detailed its efforts to keep up with the paperwork.
To further customer service with respect to FOIA and Privacy Act requests, OCR has been a significant participant in the Department’s initiative to automate case management under these laws. Executive Order 13392, “Improving Agency Disclosure of Information,” issued on Dec. 14, 2005, emphasizes the need for more efficient and effective processing of FOIA and Privacy Act requests.
What most of us would believe was an order intended to increase the release of responsive documents, the DOE read it as an indication it wasn’t rejecting requests efficiently enough.
In addition, in FY 2006, consistent with Executive Order 13392, OCR established new FOIA procedures, including delegation to the 12 OCR office directors of the authority of FOIA denial officers. This allows FOIA requests to be processed in a more efficient and timely manner, and establishes clear accountability for FOIA processing.
As of 2006, the DOE had 12 more officials dedicated solely to rejecting FOIA requests than all other government agencies combined. (Unofficial numbers obviously impossible to obtain, much less verify, but the term “FOIA denial officer” produces search results that indicate only the DOE has such a position.)

More details on the “Denial Officers” can be found in the agency’s FOIA policies and procedures (embedded below.) Here’s the definition of the term:
Denial Officers. The FOIA Officers, the Secretary’s Regional Representatives, or officials designated by them (Regional FOIA Review Officers), and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) who are authorized to withhold records, in whole or in part, that fall within one (1) or more of the nine (9) exemptions or three (3) exclusions of the FOIA.
Initial determinations are made by regular FOIA officers who look for possible withholding exemptions and consider fee waivers. This is handled regionally and requests possibly eligible for rejection are passed on to one of the 12 regional denial officers.
In each instance in which it is recommended that record(s) or portion(s) thereof be withheld, carefully separate materials to be withheld from those to be released, redact (e.g., remove) all exempt information from the records, and forward a copy of the redacted materials, along with an unredacted version for comparison, to the appropriate denial official. Indicate where in the records the redactions occur and why the relevant exemption(s) apply;

In each instance where “no responsive records” are located, forward (a) a memorandum to the appropriate denial official describing with particularity what records (both electronic and hard copy) were searched, search times (differentiating between computer search times and manual searches since there is a different fee rate assessed for each of these searches), and who conducted the search, and stating that the search results were negative together with (b) a draft denial letter to the requestor to be signed by a FOIA Officer;
Denial officers will always be the be the bearer of bad news.
If the denial official agrees with the recommendation to deny the request, the denial official notifies the requestor in writing of the decision to withhold the information, in whole or in part, and informs the requestor of his/her appeal rights.
However, the denial officer isn’t solely limited to writing rejection letters. He or she can also push back.
If the denial official disagrees with the recommendation to deny the request, he/she notifies the FOIA Coordinator and the PO Action Office and directs the FOIA Coordinator to provide the records to the requestor.
At which point, the requester receives the responsive documents thanks to a denial officer, but from someone whose title is less resolutely negative. As much fun as it might be to press the REJECT button, denial officers will never know the joy of making a requester happy. It’s a thankless job with a brusque title… unless you’re the sort of person who enjoys doling out rejection or simply takes pride in your work, no matter what that work might mean.

It seems odd that the DOE would stand alone in its creation of a FOIA Denial Officer. So many government agencies are more than happy to reject request after request (and appeal after appeal), but none have been so brutally honest as to create a position solely for this purpose. The DOE’s system may actually be more streamlined than those at comparable agencies, but only the DOE has the strength of character to let requesters know that a fully and specifically trained expert is behind their request’s rejection.

hey are all scared but well protected

February 18, 2017 § Leave a comment

Dr. Monty Weinstein, Dr Monty the Original Guru of Fathers RIghts and Parental Alienation.
This is part three of a three part series with Dr. Monty on Parental Alienation. You can view the other two…
YOUTUBE.COM

Court denies Madigan petition to stop state worker pay

February 18, 2017 § Leave a comment

http://illinoispolicy.us1.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=7fe208d3c85ffa1d03aeaade4&id=c2814dba5e&e=10ef1684da
http://illinoispolicy.us1.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=7fe208d3c85ffa1d03aeaade4&id=c2814dba5e&e=10ef1684da

Court denies Madigan petition to stop state worker pay
Lisa Madigan lost the first round in her quest to stop state worker pay during Illinois’ budget impasse.

Read more

Share
Share
Tweet
Forward

An alternative to tax hikes

A plan to balance the state’s budget without tax hikes.

Read more

Share
Share
Tweet
Forward

Rauner’s budget needs more spending reforms

The governor should reject tax hikes and push for the structural spending reforms Illinois needs to fix its fiscal crisis and improve its economy.

Read more

Share
Share
Tweet
Forward

Illinois has higher property taxes than every state with no income tax

Despite taxing both sales and income, Illinois has higher property taxes than every single state that does not charge an income tax.

Read more

Legally Kidnapped

February 18, 2017 § Leave a comment

Legally Kidnapped
County Supes Push DCFS To Make Back Payments To Foster Parents by Mid-March
Elvis Presley’s twin granddaughters ‘taken into care after indecent images found on dad’s computer’
Judge apologizes to parents of girl left in ‘limbo’ for years after flawed Motherisk drug test
Kirkless council breached parents’ human rights by removing baby
How hollow rhetoric and a broken child welfare system feed Texas’ sex-trafficking underworld
DHHS supervisor on the run
Why do more L.A. County black children end up in foster care? Experts clash over the reason
Grand Jury Says Foster Care System In New York Endangers Children
County Supes Push DCFS To Make Back Payments To Foster Parents by Mid-March
Posted: 17 Feb 2017 05:27 AM PST
Citing hundreds of missed county payments to foster parents and children since December, the Board of Supervisors pushed child welfare staffers Tuesday to come up with a plan to make all back payments by mid-March.

More >> County Supes Push DCFS To Make Back Payments To Foster Parents by Mid-March
Elvis Presley’s twin granddaughters ‘taken into care after indecent images found on dad’s computer’
Posted: 17 Feb 2017 04:58 AM PST
The twin granddaughters of Elvis Presley have allegedly been taken into care after their mum found ‘hundreds of indecent photos of children’ on their dad’s computer.

More >> Elvis Presley’s twin granddaughters ‘taken into care after indecent images found on dad’s computer’
Judge apologizes to parents of girl left in ‘limbo’ for years after flawed Motherisk drug test
Posted: 17 Feb 2017 04:41 AM PST
A 10-year-old girl has been in “legal limbo” for nearly half her life after she was “wrongly apprehended” from her mother who had failed a flawed drug test from the Sick Kids’ Motherisk laboratory.

More >> Judge apologizes to parents of girl left in ‘limbo’ for years after flawed Motherisk drug test
Kirkless council breached parents’ human rights by removing baby
Posted: 17 Feb 2017 04:31 AM PST
Social workers have been accused of breaching the human rights of a couple after their week-old baby was taken off them in hospital when the father praised “the benefits of formula milk”.

More >> Kirkless council breached parents’ human rights by removing baby
How hollow rhetoric and a broken child welfare system feed Texas’ sex-trafficking underworld
Posted: 16 Feb 2017 04:08 PM PST
How the crusade against sex trafficking in Texas has left child victims behind.

When Mia was 16, she walked out of a Houston children’s emergency shelter. She had to go, she told the staff. Her pimp was waiting.

More >> How hollow rhetoric and a broken child welfare system feed Texas’ sex-trafficking underworld
DHHS supervisor on the run
Posted: 16 Feb 2017 09:45 AM PST

A supervisor with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) child protection unit, who has held similar positions in Seymour, is wanted by police for allegedly possessing child pornography.

More >> DHHS supervisor on the run
Why do more L.A. County black children end up in foster care? Experts clash over the reason
Posted: 16 Feb 2017 09:11 AM PST
Black children account for eight out of 100 Los Angeles County children, yet they make up 28 out of 100 foster children, according to Department of Children and Family Services data.

More >> Why do more L.A. County black children end up in foster care? Experts clash over the reason
Grand Jury Says Foster Care System In New York Endangers Children
Posted: 16 Feb 2017 09:34 AM PST
A damning report from a grand jury in New York accuses the state’s foster care system of endangering children. The jury found that the state’s poor regulations and bureaucracy allowed an alleged predator access to disabled boys for nearly 20 years.

More >> Grand Jury Says Foster Care System In New York Endangers Children

Grand jury report blasts NY foster care system, identifies ‘abysmal’ communication failures

What a great Dissent.

February 18, 2017 § Leave a comment

JUSTICE THOMAS, dissenting:
The Illinois Constitution is meant to prevent tyranny, not to enshrine it.
Today, just as a critical election board deadline is about to expire, four members of our court have delivered, as a fait accompli, nothing less than the nullification of a critical component of the Illinois Constitution of 1970. In direct contradiction of the clear and unambiguous intention of the people who drafted the constitution and the citizens who voted to adopt it, the majority has irrevocably severed a vital lifeline created by the drafters for the express purpose of enabling later generations of Illinoisans to use their sovereign authority as a check against self-interest by the legislature. When the Reporter of Decisions sends out the majority’s disposition, he should include a bright orange warning sticker for readers to paste over article XIV, section 3, of their personal copies of the 1970 Constitution reading, “Out of Service.”
The majority’s ruling in this case comes at a particularly unfortunate time. In Illinois, as throughout the United States, there is a palpable sense of frustration by voters of every political affiliation that self-perpetuating institutions of government have excluded them from meaningful participation in the political process.
In their wisdom, the drafters of the 1970 Constitution foresaw just this problem and fashioned a clear and specific mechanism to insure that the legislature could never have the upper hand on the people of Illinois, in whose hands the sovereign power of this State rests.
¶ 60
¶ 61
– 16 –
¶ 62
¶ 63 ¶ 64 ¶ 65
¶ 66 ¶ 67
That mechanism is article XIV, section 3. In undertaking our constitutional duties, we, as judges, are obliged to resolve any doubt as to the meaning of that provision in favor of the right of the people to have a voice in government, as the drafters intended. I would honor that obligation and permit the ballot initiative proposed here to go forward. The majority’s decision to quash it is no less than the death knell of article XIV, section 3’s promise of direct democracy as a check on legislative self-interest.
Today a muzzle has been placed on the people of this State, and their voices supplanted with judicial fiat.
The whimper you hear is democracy stifled.

Title IV A-F you should know where the monies go,The appearance our AG gets millions

February 1, 2017 § Leave a comment

child support collection most state AG dept. get monies and the totals are suppressing higher then they let you know because in this day and age they still use pencils and paper to tally amounts!!!!!

We urge all AILA members to take the following steps:

February 1, 2017 § Leave a comment

THIS IS VETTED! PLEASE share! (See comments for link)
URGENT CALL TO ACTION: Virginia Legislation
Senator Richard H. Black recently introduced SB1592 seeking to restrict the jurisdiction of Virginia’s juvenile and domestic relations courts. In short, the bill strips the courts of jurisdiction over juveniles not lawfully present in the United States. If passed, this bill will essentially eliminate all Special Immigration Juvenile cases in Virginia.
This bill is presently in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee and is likely to be heard on Wednesday, February 1st. As of Friday the bill was not scheduled to be heard in today’s Committee session.
We urge all AILA members to take the following steps:
Contact your representatives to express the devastating effect this bill will have on children and families.
Contact the Committee members (a chart listing the Committee members is below);
Reach out to others in the immigrant community; and
Attend the Committee meeting on Wednesday.
We know that not everyone will be able to attend the Committee Meeting, but at a minimum everyone can take 5 minutes to contact their representatives and the Committee members.
In addition to the SB1592, there are two other problematic bills pending.
HB2001 Requires the governing board and each employee of each public institution of higher education to cooperate in the enforcement of federal law by U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement on the institution’s campus, in any noncampus building or property, and on public property, as such terms are defined in relevant state law.
HB2004Requires the annual executive summary submitted by the governing board of each public institution of higher education to the General Assembly and the Governor to indicate the number of undergraduate students enrolled full time who are not citizens of the United States and the number of such students who receive annual financial assistance to attend such institution in an amount greater than 25 percent of the total annual cost of full-time undergraduate Virginia student tuition and room and board.
Members of Senate Courts of Justice Committee:
SENATE COURTS OF JUSTICE COMMITTEE
Mark Obenshain (Chair)
district26@senate.virginia.gov
804-698-7526
Richard Saslaw
district35@senate.virginia.gov
804-698-7535
Thomas Norment
district03@senate.virginia.gov
804-698-7503
626
Janet Howell
district32@senate.virginia.gov
804-698-7532
Louise Lucas
district18@senate.virginia.gov
804-698-7518
John Edwards
district21@senate.virginia.gov
804-698-7521
Ryan McDougle
district04@senate.virginia.gov
804-698-7504
Richard Stuart
district28@senate.virginia.gov
804-698-7528
William Stanley
district20@senate.virginia.gov
804-698-7520
Bryce Reeves
district17@senate.virginia.gov
804-698-7517
Benton “Ben” Chafin
district38@senate.virginia.gov
804-698-7538
Creigh Deeds
district25@senate.virginia.gov
804-698-7525
Glen Sturtevant
district10@senate.virginia.gov
804-698-7510
Chapman Petersen
district34@senate.virginia.gov
804-698-7534
Mark Peake
district22@senate.virginia.gov
804-698-7522

Oral Arguments: to recording officials or public actors.

January 23, 2017 § Leave a comment

http://www.illinoiscorruption.net/common/oral-arguments.html