June 22, 2004
Dept. of Labor Response

Curtis Kennedy

  Nelson Phelps
President and Executive Director
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. Attorney's office.

    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 7(A).  Why?

      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)