Dear U.S. Department of the Interior/Office of Government Information Services:
This is a FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT APPEAL for OIG-2019-00109 seeking: “All records of the investigation into the involvement of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Pacific Regional Office, the Central California Agency and Pacific Regional Director Amy Dutschke, with the membership rolls of the Ione Band of Miwok Indians.”
By response dated April 1, 2019, long after the 20 working day deadline, the agency claimed Exemption 7(c). The agency also cites the case Antonelli v. FBI, 721 F. 2d 615, 617 (7th Cir. 1983) (deciding that “Glomar” response is appropriate for third-party requests when requester had identified no public interest in disclosure.)
This Freedom of Information Act Request was submitted via online on February 7, 2019 as Representative of the News and Media for Stop Tribal Genocide. The requested records are subject to FOIA and as a Representative of the News and Media, I share all FOIA records to the Public. The Public (Native Americans) has a special interest in reviewing these records as Indian gaming has been known to be related with enrollment disputes. Furthermore, California tribes seeking federal recognition are interested in reviewing any and all records to ensure no conflict of interest exists within this BIA agency that oversees all California Indian tribes.
The partial correspondence seeking in this FOIA request from the OIG to the Honorable Frank R. Wolf dated June 16, 2004, consisting of 3 pages, is already available in the World Wide Web: http://www.indianz.com/docs/oig/MiwokLetter.pdf
Additionally, multiple articles from different news sources have reported on this issue few years ago, and is still available in the World Wide Web, therefore Exemption 7(c) nor any other Exemption applies. The information available in the World Wide is not an invasion of privacy therefore all documents must be released in full.
Please see also: Reyes v. BIA (S.D. Cal. Case Nos. 17-cv-02120; 17-cv-1612 and 17-cv-1190)
Please note that the Freedom of Information Act is a law that gives the American people the right to access information from the federal government. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the known of their government. See Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington v. DOJ, 602 F. Supp. 2d 121, 123 (D.D.C. 209). Additionally, FOIA was not enacted not only to shed light on the Government mistakes. IT was enacted to “ensure an informed citizenry.” See NLRB v. Robbins Tire & Rubber Co., 437 U.S. 214, 242 (1978).
The documents seeking in this request will be delivered to Stop Tribal Genocide and Original Pechanga; two Native American websites who are herewith demonstrating public interest of knowing what the BIA is up to and publish the requested records on the World Wide Web. The “public interest in disclosure is not diminished by the possibility or even the probability that [the State Department] is doing its… job right,” See Washington Post Co. v. HHS, 690 F.2d at 264. The Public has an interest simply in knowing “what [the] government is up to.” See U.S. Dept. of Justice v. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 489 U.S. at 773.
Pursuant 43 C.F.R. § 2.62, I respectfully request a response within 20 workdays after receipt of this appeal. If the Department is unable to reach a decision on this appeal within the time limit for response, the appropriate deciding official for FOIA appeals must notify me of my statutory right to seek review in the United States District Court. If no response is provided by April 30, 2019, a Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief will be filed in the United States District Court of the Southern District of California on May 1st, 2019. In the Complaint it will be requested to issue a written finding that the circumstances surrounding the requested records was arbitrary and capricious having no basis in law, will request Attorney’s fees and costs and to grant such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper.
Founder, Stop Tribal Genocide