June 22, 2004
Dept. of Labor Response
President and Executive Director
ASSOCIATION OF U S WEST RETIREES
AUSWR Board Members and general members
On Friday, June 18, we filed the lawsuit under FOIA against the United
States Department of Labor. The complaint was served on the U.S.
Then, when today's snail mail arrived, along came the Department of Labor's
past due response letter to our FOIA appeal. The letter is from the office of
the Solicitor. It is seventy (70) days late. It was mailed from Washington
D.C. sometime on Wednesday, June 16, perhaps the next day. Your copy of the 3
page letter is attached hereto in Adobe PDF file format.
You will note that the letter from the DOL does not tell us anything about
what is going on. Moreover, the DOL seems to admit that all the
papers concerning the supposedly ongoing "investigation" came from Qwest. FOIA
Exemption 7(A), which the DOL relies upon to withhold the same papers from us,
does not afford protection against disclosure when the target of the
investigation -- i.e., Qwest -- has possession of or submitted the same
information in question. My view is that the DOL is abusing FOIA Exemption
The Solicitor's belated response does not change anything about the
lawsuit we started last Friday. The Solicitor states in the June 16 letter: "I
have decided to affirm the withholding of the records you seek pursuant to
exemption 7(A) of the FOIA. . . . [because] release of the records would
prematurely reveal the Government's case and impede it in any ensuing
enforcement action and, therefore, could reasonably be expected to interfere
with enforcement proceedings."
Then, the letter advises me that a "suit may be brought in the district
court of the United States in the jurisdiction in which the complainant resides.
. . " But, we already knew that.
I believe we are a step ahead of the DOL which will have to respond to the
complaint filed on Friday within the next 30 days.
Again, please stay supportive of AUSWR. We will keep you informed of all
developments in this case and other matters that are pending.
DOL's response letter of June 16, 2004 --( 3 pages)