27 February 2002. Thanks to Michael Ravnitzsky <mravnitzky@amlaw.com>.



Latest correspondence from Department of Justice.


U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Information and Privacy

Attn:  Melanie Ann Pustay, Deputy Director
          Washington, DC  20530

February 27, 2002

Dear Mr. Ravnitzky:

This responds to your facsimile dated February 22, 2002, and received in this Office on February 25, 2002, pertaining to your request to be treated as a "representative of the news media" for purposes of your request for copies of thirteen years of Office of Legislative Affairs weekly reports. We note that you have utterly failed to address how American Lawyer Media intends to use the records subject to this request. 

As I stated in my February 11, 2002 letter to Aric Press, and as Ms. McNulty reiterated in her voice message to you on February 14, 2002, we must be provided with sufficient information about your intended use of the particular (underlined) records you have requested. 

Your letter does not demonstrate any intent to use the requested material for publication in any of your organization's media outlets. We will provide you with five additional days to respond before I make my final decision for your request.


Melanie Ann Pustay, Deputy Director
Office of Information & Privacy


American Lawyer Media
1730 M Street N.W.
Suite 802
Washington, DC  20036
tel:  202-828-0328
fax:  202-457-0718
email:  mjr@amlaw.com

February 22, 2002                    


Office of Information & Privacy
Attn:  Ms. Amy McNulty, FOIA Analyst
Suite 570 Flag Building
Department of Justice
Washington, DC  20530-0001


Dear Ms. McNulty:

Thank you for your recent correspondence in which you asked me to provide additional published material to support my assertion that my request for records from the Office of Legislative Affairs should properly fall under the "representatives of the news media" fee category.

To support this assertion, I enclose four exhibits:

1)  Exhibit A:  An article I wrote last week and which was published in the February 18, 2002 issue of the National Law Journal on page B1, the front page of the Litigation Section.  This article is the first published account of the results of the EPA Inspector General's investigation into the alleged destruction of records by the former EPA Director and her staff.  I received the cover letters attached to the report under the Freedom of Information Act.  The agency is still processing the report itself for release.

2)  Exhibit B:  Several dozen articles published in recent years by our news organization primarily or generally on the subject of the Justice Department's Office of Legislative Affairs, and their staff and activities.

3)  Exhibit C:  A printout couple of hundred articles I've published in the National Law Journal. 

My duties have included the reporting and writing of a weekly column on federal litigation and related matters. The bulk of my job involves working with reporters and editors at The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel, IP Worldwide Magazine, The National Law Journal and our other publications to coordinate reporting strategies and helping other reporters obtain the records, documents and research materials they require. 

In this capacity, I have written several dozen sidebars, charts and other research material which has been published under other reporters' bylines. At my last job, with APBnews.com, my reporting on the financial financial disclosures of federal judges (which involved requesting documents under a federal statute from the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts) won several journalism awards.  I can provide clips from those publications upon request. At that same position, I led a team of journalists who requested government records and wrote stories about those records.  

Exhibit D is a packet of some of those stories.  I personally was responsible for the filing of these FOIA requests and the production of the news stories on a regular basis. I hope that this submission will provide sufficient evidence that my request should be accorded "newsmedia" status. 

Please call me if you have any questions. 

Please advise me of your decision promptly so I may file an administrative appeal if this determination is denied.


Michael Ravnitzky
Director of Database & Computer-Assisted Reporting