Wednesday, November 26, 2014

AG Kamala Harris Lacks a Central FOIA Log

There isn't one elected official's office I've dealt with over the years who doesn't have a person designated and paid to process public records requests. That person is responsible for keeping track of requests, complying with sunshine laws and keeping a log of all requests. But for California's Attorney General Kamala Harris that is not the case.

I've requested her log for records requests covering the period from Jan. 1, 2012, through early November, and her office replied that they need to check with field offices to gather responsive files. The office has invoked an extension so they can contact those offices, indicating there is no central requests log maintained.

This is the first instance of such an office needing more search time because they lack a central log. Let's see what the AG produces for me in early December. Here's their letter received on Monday:

We are in receipt of your below email submitted and received on November 13, 2014 by the California Department of Justice/Attorney General's Office (DOJ), in which you sought records pursuant to the Public Records Act (PRA).  

For the reasons set forth below, this office is extending the date for responding to your request to December 8, 2014.

Agencies are permitted to extend the date for responding to a public records request for fourteen days beyond the original 10-day deadline for responding under specified circumstances.  As your request was received by this office on November 13, 2014, the time established for the original response is November 24, 2014.  Fourteen days beyond this date is December 8, 2014. 

Agencies may invoke the extension for several reasons, which may be summarized as follows:

1. The need to search for and collect records from field offices or other facilities that are separate from the office processing the request.

2. The need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records which are demanded in a single request.

3. The need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with another agency having a substantial interest in the determination of the request or among two or more components of the agency having substantial subject matter interest therein. 

In this instance, an extension is needed to collect and examine responsive documents to your request.

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