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Case 1:18-cv-01073 Document 1 Filed 05/07/18 Page 1 of 8

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT


FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

)
BENJAMIN WITTES )
1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW )
Washington, DC 20036 )
)
Plaintiff, )
) Civil Action No. 18-1073
v. )
)
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE )
2201 C Street, NW )
Washington, DC 20520 )
)
Defendant. )
)
______________________________________ )

COMPLAINT

1. On January 11, 2017, President-elect Donald Trump held a press conference to

address how he planned to handle potential conflicts of interest during his presidency. Although

the President-elect said that he would not divest from his businesses entirely, he said that he

would resign from the Trump Organization (“Organization”) and place his stake in a trust.

2. Since his inauguration, however, President Trump has showed no signs of

keeping himself at arm’s length from the Organization. According to reports, he has remained

involved with the company, and is informed enough about its finances to express unease about

the impact of his presidency on its future. Watchdog groups have sounded the alarm about the

conflicts of interest that could arise from this arrangement.

3. One particularly concerning conflict is the use of the Trump International Hotel

(“Hotel”) in Washington, D.C. The Hotel has been used for events hosted by the Republican

Party, lobbying groups, and the U.S. Government itself. It has also become common for foreign

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dignitaries to stay at the Hotel when visiting Washington. The Organization has resisted calls to

disclose how much money it has received from foreign sources during the Administration; in

fact, it would not even make public the reimbursement it gave to the U.S. Treasury meant to

cover all foreign profits.

4. The Department of State (“Department” or “State Department”) regularly

arranges and pays for accommodations for visiting officials. The American public has no idea

how much money the Department has given to the Organization to accommodate diplomats,

heads of states, and other foreign visitors to Washington.

5. On January 19, 2018, Plaintiff Benjamin Wittes submitted a request to the

Department under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) to obtain information related to

reimbursements and direct payments that the Department had made for foreign officials and

diplomats who had stayed at the Hotel. The public has an important interest in knowing whether

the Department of State has been furthering the President’s business interests, and undermining

crucial democratic norms, by steering U.S. Government funds to the Hotel. Indeed, payment of

U.S. Government funds to Trump Hotel would represent an alarming new reality: the President’s

monetization of the machinery of the federal government.

6. The Department failed to respond to the Plaintiff’s request within the statutory

deadline. Plaintiff brings this action against Defendant to compel compliance with FOIA, 5

U.S.C. § 552.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

7. The Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(B)

and 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

8. Venue is proper in this district pursuant to § 552(a)(4)(B).

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PARTIES

9. Plaintiff Benjamin Wittes is the editor-in-chief of Lawfare, an online publication

published by The Lawfare Institute, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational organization in

cooperation with The Brookings Institution, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public policy organization.

Lawfare is dedicated to informing public understanding on operations and activities of the

government. Plaintiff intends to give the public access to documents he obtains via this FOIA

request on Lawfare’s website (www.lawfareblog.com) and to provide information about and

analysis of those documents as appropriate.

10. Defendant State Department is an agency of the federal government of the United

States and is headquartered at 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, DC 20520. Defendant has

possession, custody, and control of the documents that Plaintiff seeks in response to its FOIA

request.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

11. On January 11, 2017, President-elect Trump held a press conference promising to

insulate himself from his sprawling business empire. At that press conference, President-elect

Trump seemed reluctant to cut himself off from the Trump Organization. “I could actually run

my business and run government at the same time,” he said. “I don’t like the way that looks but

I’d be able to do that if I wanted to.”

12. President Trump has failed to separate himself from his businesses since his

inauguration in January 2017. He has maintained a particular interest in the performance of the

Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC. See Betsy Woodruff, “Trump Inc. Had a Rough

Year, but His D.C. Hotel is Killing It,” The Daily Beast (Dec. 28, 2017), available at

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-inc-had-a-rough-year-but-his-dc-hotel-is-killing-it.

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13. Foreign dignitaries and officials often stay at the Hotel when visiting Washington.

14. Amid reports that foreign officials have paid for services at the Hotel, state

attorneys general filed litigation alleging that payments to the Hotel by foreign governments

would violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. See Katelyn Polantz, “Judge Allows

Lawsuit Alleging Trump Took Illegal Foreign Gifts,” CNN (Mar. 28, 2018), available at

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/28/politics/emoluments-lawsuit-trump-hotel/index.html.

15. The Trump Organization has refused to disclose how much money it has received

in hotel profits from foreign governments and has not publicized the details of a payment made

to the U.S. Treasury that was supposed to compensate for hotel profits generated by foreign

governments. See Peter Overby, “Trump Pays Treasury Undisclosed Sum for Hotel Profits From

Foreign Governments,” NPR (Feb. 26, 2018), available at

https://www.npr.org/2018/02/26/588984309/trump-pays-treasury-undisclosed-sum-for-hotel-

profits-from-foreign-governments.

16. One detail that was not disclosed about the payment made to the U.S. Treasury

was whether the Organization reimbursed the U.S. Government not just for payments that were

made directly by foreign officials who were staying at the Hotel or affiliated properties, but also

for payments that were made to the Hotel by the State Department on behalf of foreign officials.

17. The Department routinely pays for or reimburses accommodations for foreign

diplomats, dignitaries, or other official visitors.

18. Even if the Trump Organization is not receiving payments directly from foreign

governments, the use of State Department funds to facilitate diplomatic presence at the Hotel

contributes to a problem about which ethics experts have warned since President Trump took

office: that “the hotel’s political appeal has turned it into one giant lily pad where tourists,

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lobbyists and foreign leaders can schmooze and win favor with Trump loyalists.” Katie Rogers,

“Trump Hotel at Night: Lobbyists, Cabinet Members, $60 Steaks,” New York Times (Aug. 25,

2017), available at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/25/us/politics/trump-hotel-

washington.html.

19. Public interest in President Trump’s relationship with his business interests has

remained high throughout his presidency, as nonpartisan reports denounce the events that

continue to be held at the Hotel by foreign governments. Julia Ainsley and Rich Gardella,

“Watchdog: Foreign Regimes, Others Spend Big at Trump Properties to ‘Curry Favor,’” NBC

News (Jan. 16, 2018), available at https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/watchdog-

foreign-regimes-others-spend-big-trump-properties-curry-favor-n837851.

20. The prospect of U.S. Government funds being steered to Trump Hotel in

connection with foreign visitors raises concerns that go beyond ordinary conflicts of interest.

The President’s authority over the executive branch confers tremendous power, which is

ordinarily constrained by well-established norms as well as legal limitations. Enlisting executive

agencies to funnel U.S. Government funds to benefit the President would pose a fundamental

challenge to our democracy by collapsing the separation between the President’s personal

interests and the vast machinery of the executive branch. This risk extends beyond the baseline

potential for corruption inherent in foreign leaders or representatives perceiving an advantage in

driving revenue to the President’s business. It would also amount to the monetization of the

executive branch by the President of the United States.

FOIA Request to State Department and Agency’s Failure to Respond

21. On January 19, 2018, Plaintiff sent a FOIA request to Defendant State

Department.

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22. In the request, Plaintiff requested records from the State Department regarding:

1. All records relating to the reimbursement . . . of foreign officials and diplomats, for stays
at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., from January 20, 2017, until the
date that a search is conducted, for records responsive to this FOIA request. This request
includes, but is not limited to, communications, receipts, invoices, itineraries, and billing
statements.

2. All records relating to directly booking accommodations . . . at the Trump International
Hotel in Washington, D.C. on behalf of foreign officials and diplomats, from January 20,
2017, until the date that a search is conducted for records responsive to this FOIA
request. This request includes, but is not limited to, communications, receipts, invoices,
itineraries, and billing statements. 


3. All records relating to . . . reimbursement of, or payment for, hotel accommodations for
foreign officials and diplomats visiting Washington, D.C. This request is for policies
effective from January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is conducted for records
responsive to this FOIA request. This request includes, but is not limited to, policies
regarding the selection of hotel, the cost of accommodations, and procedures relating to
the reimbursement or payment on behalf of foreign officials or diplomats. 


4. All records relating to . . . budgeting and accounting of reimbursement of, or payment for,
hotel accommodations for foreign officials and diplomats visiting Washington, D.C.,
from January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is conducted for records responsive to
this FOIA request. 


See Exhibit A (FOIA request).

23. Plaintiff also requested a fee waiver pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii) or 5

U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(ii)(II). Id.

24. Colleagues of the Plaintiff received an email from Defendant State Department

dated February 12, 2018, confirming that it would now “proceed with handling” the FOIA

request. See Exhibit B (State Department email).

25. The email followed a brief exchange during which Plaintiff, through colleagues,

agreed to “streamline” the language of his initial request so as to make it easier for the

Department to process it. Id.

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26. Pursuant to FOIA, within 20 business days of receipt of Plaintiff’s request,

Defendant was required to “determine . . . whether to comply with such request” and to

“immediately notify” Plaintiff of “such determination and the reasons therefor,” and, in the case

of an adverse determination, notify the Plaintiff of his appeal rights. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(i).

27. To date, Defendant has failed to make the required determination and

notifications. Nor has Defendant made a determination regarding Plaintiff’s request for a fee

waiver.

COUNT I

(Violation of FOIA, 5 U.S.C. § 552)

28. Plaintiff re-alleges and incorporates by reference all preceding paragraphs.

29. Defendant is in violation of FOIA by failing to respond to Plaintiff’s request 


within the statutorily prescribed time limit and by unlawfully withholding records responsive to

Plaintiff’s request.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff respectfully requests that the Court:

(1) Order Defendant, by a date certain, to conduct a search that is reasonably likely to

lead to the discovery of any and all records responsive to Plaintiff’s request;

(2) Order Defendant, by a date certain, to demonstrate that it has conducted an adequate

search;


(3) Order Defendant, by a date certain, to produce to Plaintiff any and all non-exempt

records, or portions of records, responsive to Plaintiff’s request, as well as a Vaughn index of any

records, or portions of records, withheld due to a claim of exemption;

(4) Enjoin Defendant from improperly withholding records responsive to Plaintiff’s

request;

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(5) Order Defendant to grant Plaintiff’s request for a fee waiver;

(6) Grant Plaintiff an award of attorney fees and other reasonable litigation costs pursuant

to 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(E); and

(7) Grant Plaintiff such other relief as the Court deems appropriate.

Respectfully submitted,

Date: May 7, 2018 /s/ Laurence M. Schwartztol

LAURENCE M. SCHWARTZTOL
(pro hac vice to be filed)
Larry.Schwartztol@protectdemocracy.org
JUSTIN FLORENCE (Bar No. 988953)
Justin.Florence@protectdemocracy.org

The Protect Democracy Project, Inc.


10 Ware Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 202-599-0466
Fax: 929-777-8428

Allison F. Murphy (Bar No. 975494)


The Protect Democracy Project, Inc.
2020 Pennsylvania Ave., NW #163
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: 202-599-0466
Fax: 929-777-8428

Counsel for Plaintiff

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EXHIBIT A
Case 1:18-cv-01073 Document 1-2 Filed 05/07/18 Page 2 of 10

1775 Massachusetts Avenue, NW


Washington, DC 20036
telephone 202 797 6000
fax 202 797 6004
web brookings edu

January 19, 2018

U. S. Department of State
Office of Information Programs and Services
A/GIS/IPS/RL
SA-2, Suite 8100
Washington, D.C. 20522-0208
202-261-8579 (fax)

Re: Freedom of Information Act Request

Dear FOIA Officer:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, I hereby request that your
office produce, within 20 business days, the following records (see below for clarity on the types of
records sought):

Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS)


1. All records relating to the reimbursement by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) of foreign
officials and diplomats, for stays at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., from
January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is conducted, for records responsive to this FOIA
request. This request includes, but is not limited to, communications, receipts, invoices,
itineraries, and billing statements.

2. All records relating to directly booking accommodations by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security
(DS), at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. on behalf of foreign officials and
diplomats, from January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is conducted for records responsive
to this FOIA request. This request includes, but is not limited to, communications, receipts,
invoices, itineraries, and billing statements.

3. All records relating to Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) for reimbursement of, or payment for,
hotel accommodations for foreign officials and diplomats visiting Washington, D.C. This request
is for policies effective from January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is conducted for
records responsive to this FOIA request. This request includes, but is not limited to, policies
regarding the selection of hotel, the cost of accommodations, and procedures relating to the
reimbursement or payment on behalf of foreign officials or diplomats.

4. All records relating to Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) budgeting and accounting of
reimbursement of, or payment for, hotel accommodations for foreign officials and diplomats
visiting Washington, D.C., from January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is conducted for
records responsive to this FOIA request.

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Bureau of Budget and Planning (BP)


5. All records relating to the reimbursement by the Bureau of Budget and Planning (BP) (including
but not limited to BP/EX), of foreign officials and diplomats, for stays at the Trump International
Hotel in Washington, D.C., from January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is conducted, for
records responsive to this FOIA request. This request includes, but is not limited to,
communications, receipts, invoices, itineraries, and billing statements.

6. All records relating to directly booking accommodations by the Bureau of Budget and Planning
(BP) (including but not limited to BP/EX), at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
on behalf of foreign officials and diplomats, from January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is
conducted for records responsive to this FOIA request. This request includes, but is not limited
to, communications, receipts, invoices, itineraries, and billing statements.

7. All records relating to the Bureau of Budget and Planning (BP) for reimbursement of, or
payment for, hotel accommodations for foreign officials and diplomats visiting Washington,
D.C. This request is for policies effective from January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is
conducted for records responsive to this FOIA request. This request includes, but is not limited
to, policies regarding the selection of hotel, the cost of accommodations, and procedures relating
to the reimbursement or payment on behalf of foreign officials or diplomats.

8. All records relating to Bureau of Budget and Planning (BP) budgeting and accounting of
reimbursement of, or payment for, hotel accommodations for foreign officials and diplomats
visiting Washington, D.C., from January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is conducted for
records responsive to this FOIA request.

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL)


9. All records relating to the reimbursement by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law
Enforcement Affairs (INL) (including, but not limited to INL/EX), of foreign officials and
diplomats, for stays at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., from January 20,
2017, until the date that a search is conducted, for records responsive to this FOIA request. This
request includes, but is not limited to, communications, receipts, invoices, itineraries, and billing
statements.

10. All records relating to directly booking accommodations by the Bureau of International
Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) (including, but not limited to INL/EX), at the
Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. on behalf of foreign officials and diplomats,
from January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is conducted for records responsive to this
FOIA request. This request includes, but is not limited to, communications, receipts, invoices,
itineraries, and billing statements.

11. All records relating to the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL)
policies for reimbursement of, or payment for, hotel accommodations for foreign officials and
diplomats visiting Washington, D.C. This request is for policies effective from January 20, 2017,

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until the date that a search is conducted for records responsive to this FOIA request. This request
includes, but is not limited to, policies regarding the selection of hotel, the cost of
accommodations, and procedures relating to the reimbursement or payment on behalf of foreign
officials or diplomats.

12. All records relating to Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL)
budgeting and accounting of reimbursement of, or payment for, hotel accommodations for
foreign officials and diplomats visiting Washington, D.C., from January 20, 2017, until the date
that a search is conducted for records responsive to this FOIA request.

Foreign Service Institute (FSI)


13. All records relating to the reimbursement by the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) (including, but
not limited to, FSI/EX), of foreign officials and diplomats, for stays at the Trump International
Hotel in Washington, D.C., from January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is conducted, for
records responsive to this FOIA request. This request includes, but is not limited to,
communications, receipts, invoices, itineraries, and billing statements.

14. All records relating to directly booking accommodations by the Foreign Service Institute (FSI)
(including, but not limited to, FSI/EX), at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. on
behalf of foreign officials and diplomats, from January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is
conducted for records responsive to this FOIA request. This request includes, but is not limited
to, communications, receipts, invoices, itineraries, and billing statements.

15. All records relating to the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) policies for reimbursement of, or
payment for, hotel accommodations for foreign officials and diplomats visiting Washington,
D.C. This request is for policies effective from January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is
conducted for records responsive to this FOIA request. This request includes, but is not limited
to, policies regarding the selection of hotel, the cost of accommodations, and procedures relating
to the reimbursement or payment on behalf of foreign officials or diplomats.

16. All records relating to Foreign Service Institute (FSI) budgeting and accounting of
reimbursement of, or payment for, hotel accommodations for foreign officials and diplomats
visiting Washington, D.C., from January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is conducted for
records responsive to this FOIA request.

Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN)


17. All records relating to the reimbursement by the Bureau of International Security and
Nonproliferation (ISN), (including, but not limited to, ISN/EX), of foreign officials and
diplomats, for stays at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., from January 20,
2017, until the date that a search is conducted, for records responsive to this FOIA request. This
request includes, but is not limited to, communications, receipts, invoices, itineraries, and billing
statements.

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18. All records relating to directly booking accommodations by the Bureau of International Security
and Nonproliferation (ISN), (including, but not limited to, ISN/EX), at the Trump International
Hotel in Washington, D.C. on behalf of foreign officials and diplomats, from January 20, 2017,
until the date that a search is conducted for records responsive to this FOIA request. This request
includes, but is not limited to, communications, receipts, invoices, itineraries, and billing
statements.

19. All records relating to the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN) policies
for reimbursement of, or payment for, hotel accommodations for foreign officials and diplomats
visiting Washington, D.C. This request is for policies effective from January 20, 2017, until the
date that a search is conducted for records responsive to this FOIA request. This request
includes, but is not limited to, policies regarding the selection of hotel, the cost of
accommodations, and procedures relating to the reimbursement or payment on behalf of foreign
officials or diplomats.

20. All records relating to Foreign Service Institute (FSI) budgeting and accounting of
reimbursement of, or payment for, hotel accommodations for foreign officials and diplomats
visiting Washington, D.C., from January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is conducted for
records responsive to this FOIA request.

Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism (CT)


21. All records relating to the reimbursement by the Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering
Violent Extremism (CT) (including, but not limited to, CT/EX), of foreign officials and
diplomats, for stays at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., from January 20,
2017, until the date that a search is conducted, for records responsive to this FOIA request. This
request includes, but is not limited to, communications, receipts, invoices, itineraries, and billing
statements.

22. All records relating to directly booking accommodations by the Bureau of Counterterrorism and
Countering Violent Extremism (CT) (including, but not limited to, CT/EX), at the Trump
International Hotel in Washington, D.C. on behalf of foreign officials and diplomats, from
January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is conducted for records responsive to this FOIA
request. This request includes, but is not limited to, communications, receipts, invoices,
itineraries, and billing statements.

23. All records relating to the Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism (CT)
policies for reimbursement of, or payment for, hotel accommodations for foreign officials and
diplomats visiting Washington, D.C. This request is for policies effective from January 20, 2017,
until the date that a search is conducted for records responsive to this FOIA request. This request
includes, but is not limited to, policies regarding the selection of hotel, the cost of
accommodations, and procedures relating to the reimbursement or payment on behalf of foreign
officials or diplomats.

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24. All records relating to Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism (CT)
budgeting and accounting of reimbursement of, or payment for, hotel accommodations for
foreign officials and diplomats visiting Washington, D.C., from January 20, 2017, until the date
that a search is conducted for records responsive to this FOIA request.

Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance (AVC)


25. All records relating to the reimbursement by the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and
Compliance (AVC) (including, but not limited to AVC/EX), of foreign officials and diplomats,
for stays at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., from January 20, 2017, until the
date that a search is conducted, for records responsive to this FOIA request. This request
includes, but is not limited to, communications, receipts, invoices, itineraries, and billing
statements.

26. All records relating to directly booking accommodations by the Bureau of Arms Control,
Verification and Compliance (AVC) (including, but not limited to AVC/EX), at the Trump
International Hotel in Washington, D.C. on behalf of foreign officials and diplomats, from
January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is conducted for records responsive to this FOIA
request. This request includes, but is not limited to, communications, receipts, invoices,
itineraries, and billing statements.

27. All records relating to the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance (AVC) policies
for reimbursement of, or payment for, hotel accommodations for foreign officials and diplomats
visiting Washington, D.C. This request is for policies effective from January 20, 2017, until the
date that a search is conducted for records responsive to this FOIA request. This request
includes, but is not limited to, policies regarding the selection of hotel, the cost of
accommodations, and procedures relating to the reimbursement or payment on behalf of foreign
officials or diplomats.

28. All records relating to Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance (AVC) budgeting
and accounting of reimbursement of, or payment for, hotel accommodations for foreign officials
and diplomats visiting Washington, D.C., from January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is
conducted for records responsive to this FOIA request.

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL)


29. All records relating to the reimbursement by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and
Labor (DRL), (including, but not limited to, DRL/EX), of foreign officials and diplomats, for
stays at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., from January 20, 2017, until the
date that a search is conducted, for records responsive to this FOIA request. This request
includes, but is not limited to, communications, receipts, invoices, itineraries, and billing
statements.

30. All records relating to directly booking accommodations by the Bureau of Democracy, Human
Rights, and Labor (DRL), (including, but not limited to, DRL/EX), at the Trump International
Hotel in Washington, D.C. on behalf of foreign officials and diplomats, from January 20, 2017,

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until the date that a search is conducted for records responsive to this FOIA request. This request
includes, but is not limited to, communications, receipts, invoices, itineraries, and billing
statements.

31. All records relating to the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) policies for
reimbursement of, or payment for, hotel accommodations for foreign officials and diplomats
visiting Washington, D.C. This request is for policies effective from January 20, 2017, until the
date that a search is conducted for records responsive to this FOIA request. This request
includes, but is not limited to, policies regarding the selection of hotel, the cost of
accommodations, and procedures relating to the reimbursement or payment on behalf of foreign
officials or diplomats.

32. All records relating to Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) budgeting and
accounting of reimbursement of, or payment for, hotel accommodations for foreign officials and
diplomats visiting Washington, D.C., from January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is
conducted for records responsive to this FOIA request.

Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (EB)


33. All records relating to the reimbursement by the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (EB),
(including, but not limited to, EB/EX), of foreign officials and diplomats, for stays at the Trump
International Hotel in Washington, D.C., from January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is
conducted, for records responsive to this FOIA request. This request includes, but is not limited
to, communications, receipts, invoices, itineraries, and billing statements.

34. All records relating to directly booking accommodations by the Bureau of Economic and
Business Affairs (EB), (including, but not limited to, EB/EX), at the Trump International Hotel
in Washington, D.C. on behalf of foreign officials and diplomats, from January 20, 2017, until
the date that a search is conducted for records responsive to this FOIA request. This request
includes, but is not limited to, communications, receipts, invoices, itineraries, and billing
statements.

35. All records relating to the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (EB) policies for
reimbursement of, or payment for, hotel accommodations for foreign officials and diplomats
visiting Washington, D.C. This request is for policies effective from January 20, 2017, until the
date that a search is conducted for records responsive to this FOIA request. This request
includes, but is not limited to, policies regarding the selection of hotel, the cost of
accommodations, and procedures relating to the reimbursement or payment on behalf of foreign
officials or diplomats.

36. All records relating to Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (EB) budgeting and accounting
of reimbursement of, or payment for, hotel accommodations for foreign officials and diplomats
visiting Washington, D.C., from January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is conducted for
records responsive to this FOIA request.

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Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA)


37. All records relating to the reimbursement by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
(ECA) (including, but not limited to, ECA/EX), of foreign officials and diplomats, for stays at
the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., from January 20, 2017, until the date that a
search is conducted, for records responsive to this FOIA request. This request includes, but is not
limited to, communications, receipts, invoices, itineraries, and billing statements.

38. All records relating to directly booking accommodations by the Bureau of Educational and
Cultural Affairs (ECA) (including, but not limited to, ECA/EX), at the Trump International Hotel
in Washington, D.C. on behalf of foreign officials and diplomats, from January 20, 2017, until
the date that a search is conducted for records responsive to this FOIA request. This request
includes, but is not limited to, communications, receipts, invoices, itineraries, and billing
statements.

39. All records relating to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) policies for
reimbursement of, or payment for, hotel accommodations for foreign officials and diplomats
visiting Washington, D.C. This request is for policies effective from January 20, 2017, until the
date that a search is conducted for records responsive to this FOIA request. This request
includes, but is not limited to, policies regarding the selection of hotel, the cost of
accommodations, and procedures relating to the reimbursement or payment on behalf of foreign
officials or diplomats.

40. All records relating to Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) budgeting and
accounting of reimbursement of, or payment for, hotel accommodations for foreign officials and
diplomats visiting Washington, D.C., from January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is
conducted for records responsive to this FOIA request.

Other Department of State Components


41. All records relating to the reimbursement, by any Department of State component (including but
not limited to regional bureaus, e.g., the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA)), of foreign
officials and diplomats, for stays at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., from
January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is conducted, for records responsive to this FOIA
request. This request includes, but is not limited to, communications, receipts, invoices,
itineraries, and billing statements.

42. All records relating to directly booking accommodations, by any Department of State
component, at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. on behalf of foreign officials
and diplomats, from January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is conducted for records
responsive to this FOIA request. This request includes, but is not limited to, communications,
receipts, invoices, itineraries, and billing statements.

43. All records relating to Department of State policies for reimbursement of, or payment for, hotel
accommodations for foreign officials and diplomats visiting Washington, D.C. This request is for
policies effective from January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is conducted for records

7
Case 1:18-cv-01073 Document 1-2 Filed 05/07/18 Page 9 of 10

responsive to this FOIA request. This request includes, but is not limited to, policies regarding
the selection of hotel, the cost of accommodations, and procedures relating to the reimbursement
or payment on behalf of foreign officials or diplomats.

44. All records relating to Department of State budgeting and accounting of reimbursement of, or
payment for, hotel accommodations for foreign officials and diplomats visiting Washington,
D.C., from January 20, 2017, until the date that a search is conducted for records responsive to
this FOIA request.

Request Process
45. In addition to the records requested above, I also request records describing the processing of this
request, including records sufficient to identify search terms used and locations and custodians
searched and any tracking sheets used to track the processing of this request. If your agency uses
FOIA questionnaires or certifications completed by individual custodians or components to
determine whether they possess responsive materials or to describe how they conducted
searches, I also request any such records prepared in connection with the processing of this
request.

FEE WAIVER

FOIA provides that any fees associated with a request are waived if “disclosure of the
information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public
understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial
interest of the requester.” 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii).

I am the Editor-in-Chief of Lawfare, an online publication dedicated to informing public


understanding on operations and activities of the government. Lawfare is published by The Lawfare
Institute, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational organization, and in cooperation with The Brookings
Institution, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public policy organization. This request is submitted in connection
with Lawfare’s mission to publish information that is likely to contribute significantly to the public
understanding of executive branch activities related to law and national security. Lawfare does not have
commercial interests.

In addition to satisfying the requirements for a waiver of fees associated with the search and
processing of records, I am entitled to a waiver of all fees except “reasonable standard charges for
document duplication.” 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(ii)(II). Federal law mandates that fees be limited to
document duplication costs for any requester that qualifies as “a representative of the news
media.” Id. Lawfare is a “news media organization[]” that “gathers information of potential interest to
a segment of the public, uses its editorial skills to turn the raw materials into a distinct work, and
distributes that work to an audience.” Nat’l Sec. Archive v. Dep’t of Defense, 880 F.2d 1381, 1387 (D.C.
Cir. 1989). We intend to give the public access to documents transmitted via FOIA on our website,
https://www.lawfareblog.com, and to provide information about and analysis of those documents as
appropriate.

8
Case 1:18-cv-01073 Document 1-2 Filed 05/07/18 Page 10 of 10

RESPONSIVE RECORDS

We ask that all types of records and all record systems be searched to discover records
responsive to our request. We seek records in all medium and format. This includes, but is not limited
to: agendas, manifests, calendars, schedules, notes, and any prepared documentation for meetings, calls,
teleconferences, or other discussions responsive to our request; voicemails; e-mails; e-mail attachments;
talking points; faxes; training documents and guides; tables of contents and contents of binders;
documents pertaining to instruction and coordination of couriers; and any other materials. We ask that
you search all systems of record, including electronic and paper, in use at your agency. We also ask that
you search files or emails in the personal custody of your employees, such as personal email accounts,
as required by FOIA and to the extent that they are reasonably likely to contain responsive records. We
would prefer records in electronic format, saved as PDF documents, and transmitted via email or CD-
ROM. We ask that you search for records from all components of the Department of State that may be
reasonably likely to produce responsive results.

If you make a determination that any responsive record, or any segment within a record, is
exempt from disclosure, we ask that you provide an index of those records at the time you transmit all
other responsive records. In the index, please include a description of the record and the reason for
exclusion with respect to each individual exempt record or exempt portion of a record, as provided by
Vaughn v. Rosen, 484 F.2d 820 (D.C. Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 415 U.S. 977 (1974). When you deem a
portion of a record exempt, we ask that the remainder of the record to be provided, as required by 5
U.S.C. §§ 552(a)(8)(A)(ii) & 552(b).

Given the 20-day statutory deadline, we hope to be as helpful as possible in clarifying or


answering questions about our request. Please contact me by phone or email if you require any
additional information. I appreciate your cooperation, and look forward to hearing from you very soon.

Sincerely,

/s/ Benjamin Wittes

Benjamin Wittes
Senior Fellow in Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution
Editor in Chief, Lawfare
1775 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington D.C. 20036
Phone: (202) 797-4368
benjamin.wittes@gmail.com

P.S.: This request is being submitted both electronically and by fax.

9
Case 1:18-cv-01073 Document 1-3 Filed 05/07/18 Page 1 of 4

EXHIBIT B
Case 1:18-cv-01073 Document 1-3 Filed 05/07/18 Page 2 of 4

Scott Anderson <scott.anderson@lawfareblog.com>

Re: Your FOIA request re the Trump International Hotel


Segesvary, Louis S <SegesvaryLS@state.gov> Mon, Feb 12, 2841 PM
To: Scott Anderson <scott.anderson@lawfareblog.com>

Scott: Thank you for working with us on this. We will now proceed with handling your reformatted
request. Regards, Louis

From: Scott Anderson [mailto:scott.anderson@lawfareblog.com]


Sent: Monday, February 12, 2018 2:15 PM
To: Segesvary, Louis S <SegesvaryLS@state.gov>
Cc: Quinta Jurecic <quinta.jurecic@lawfareblog.com>
Subject: Re: Your FOIA request re the Trump International Hotel
[Quoted text h dden]

Official - Transitory

UNCLASSIFIED
Case 1:18-cv-01073 Document 1-3 Filed 05/07/18 Page 3 of 4

Scott Anderson <scott.anderson@lawfareblog.com>

Re: Your FOIA request re the Trump International Hotel


Scott Anderson <scott.anderson@lawfareblog.com> Mon, Feb 12, 2:15 PM
To: <SegesvaryLS@state.gov>
Cc: Quinta Jurecic <quinta.jurecic@lawfareblog.com>

Dear Louis,

My colleagues Ben and Quinta (CCed) passed along your message regarding our FOIA request on stays at the Trump
International Hotel. Thank you for working with us on this request!

We're happy to streamline as you suggest, but would prefer the following slightly more detailed formulation so as to
ensure all of the material sought in our original request is still covered:

“I hereby request that the Department of State, including all its bureaus and components, produce any
and all records relating to the following:

1. Any stays it has arranged, authorized, budgeted or accounted for, funded, reimbursed, or
otherwise facilitated at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. for foreign officials and
diplomats from January 20, 2017 to the present. This request includes, but is not limited to,
communications, receipts, invoices, itineraries, and billing statements.

2. Any policies relating to the reimbursement of, or payment for, hotel accommodations for foreign
officials and diplomats visiting Washington, D.C. effective from January 20, 2017 to the present.
This includes, but is not limited to, policies regarding the selection of hotel, the cost of
accommodations, and procedures relating to the reimbursement or payment on behalf of foreign
officials or diplomats."

Of course, this would presumably only replace numbered paragraphs 1-44 of our request. Paragraph 45 relating to
"Request Process" documents and the remaining paragraphs relating to a fee waiver and responsive records would still
apply.

Does this sound like it would work for you? I am happy to discuss further as needed. My office line is 202-647-2480.

Many thanks!
Scott

---------- Forwarded message ----------


From: Segesvary, Louis S <SegesvaryLS@state.gov>
Date: Fri, Feb 9, 2018 at 3:00 PM
Subject: Your FOIA request re the Trump International Hotel
To: "Quinta.jurecic@lawfareblog.com" <Quinta.jurecic@lawfareblog.com>
Cc: "benjamin.wittes@gmail.com" <benjamin.wittes@gmail.com>

Quinta: I appreciate the thoughtful discussion we were able to have regarding your Trump
International Hotel request. As I noted, to begin work on this request and speed its expedition
it would be very helpful to us to be able to streamline its wording. It seems to me the
information that you would like to have could be obtained by reformulating your request along
the following lines into one succinct but inclusive paragraph.
Case 1:18-cv-01073 Document 1-3 Filed 05/07/18 Page 4 of 4

“I hereby request that you produce all records kept by the Department of State relating to
stays it has facilitated at the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. for foreign officials
and diplomats from January 20, 2017 to the present. This request includes, but is not limited
to, communications, receipts, invoices, itineraries, and billing statements.”

Please note that by referring to the inclusive category of “Department of State” in this
reformulation we are by necessity including references to the records of all its bureaus and
components that you have cited separately.

If this new formulation is acceptable to you, we will begin to process it right away. Please let
me know. Sincerely, Louis

Louis S. Segesvary, Ph.D.

FOIA Litigation and Appeals Reviewer

A/GIS/IPS/PP/LA

Department of State

Washington, DC 20037

202-261-8474

segesvaryls@state.gov

Official - Transitory

UNCLASSIFIED

--
[Quoted text h dden]