Letter from William Thomas 1/28/94
P.O. Box 27217
Washington, D.C. 20038
January 28, 1994
Certified Mail No. P 150697796
Office of the General Counsel, Natural Resources Division
14th & Independence Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20090-6090
Dear Ms. Hornstein,
Thank you for your letter, postmarked January 14, 1994 (received
January 22nd), which you framed as a response both to my FOIA
request of December 15, 1993, as well as my earlier letter to you
dated December 5, 1993.
My letter of December 5th referenced two specific incidents -- an
agree upon July, 1993 meeting with Kathy Way of the White House
domestic policy staff, and attempts to arrange a meeting with
Assistant Secretary Lyons in December -- and explained:
Your letter now cites 1 C.F.R. 305.77-3 as your legal authority
for advising those officials to cancel or refuse meetings.
It appears the threshold problem is your idea that requests for
"public meetings" are requests for ex parte communications.
Consistent with the general provisions of the APA (e.g., 5 USC
609), 1 C.F.R. 305.77-3 recommends, in part:
"I am very curious to know the specific legal authority
which allows you to interfere with meetings between the
public and administrative officials."
Thus, your interference with the aforementioned meetings appears
"to be at odds with the widespread demand for open government."
1 C.F.R. 305.77-3.
As Ms. Way explained it, your office became involved with our
meeting plans when she called DOA to arrange for a meeting place.
May I suggest you now rectify your error by calling Ms. Way (465-
7777) and advising her as to an appropriate site where a public
meeting may be conducted?
In service to peace through understanding,
"Agencies should experiment in appropriate situations with
procedures designed to disclose oral communications from
outside the agency of significant information or argument
respecting the merits of proposed rules...."
cc: Catherine Way, White House
Jim Lyons, USDA
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