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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

NCIL FOIA Request to ACL

October 27, 2017

Freedom of Information Act Officer
FOIA Requester Service Center
One Massachusetts Avenue NW
Administration for Community Living
Washington, DC 20201
ACLfoia@acl.hhs.gov

Re: Freedom of Information Act Request

Dear Freedom of Information Act Officer:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552. I request that you provide me with copies of all records[1] pertaining to the Administration for Community Living’s (ACL) determination of the allotment amounts to be made pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 796f for each of the fiscal years 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018. This request includes, by way of illustration, the following categories of information for each of the above-referenced fiscal years:

1. The total amount of money available for funding pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 796f, and subtotals for:

a) the amount of money set aside for training, technical assistance, activities, and program support costs (pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 796f(b)),

b) the amount of money available to be distributed to the States after setting aside initial funds for training, technical assistance, activities, and program support costs (pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 796f(c), (d)), and

c) any other amounts.

2. The data ACL used to calculate the allotment formula(s) pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 796f, and ACL’s actual calculations of said formula(s). For example, the responsive records would show, for each State, the underlying data and ACL’s calculation of: the population-based formula (including population figures), minimum allotment amounts, adjustments for inflation, proportional reduction, and reallotments.

3. Any data, factors, or calculations aside from those set forth under 29 U.S.C. § 796f that determined, in whole or in part, the allotments for each State to be made pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 796f. These data, factors, or calculations including costs for program data systems, grants systems, grant review, a Secretary’s transfer, and/or a transfer for administrative purposes.

4. All records that evidence the ACL’s compliance with Section 205 of Division H of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 when making any Secretary transfers since 2015.

5. The amount of funds allocated under 29 U.S.C. § 796f that were subject to a Secretarial transfer and records regarding where those funds were transferred.

6. All records that support the statement in the ACL’s August 2017 “FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: Part C Funding Distribution” document (hereinafter referred to as the “August 2017 FAQ”) that: “In October 2015, ACL discovered that the IL program had unused ARRA Part C funds from grants awarded in 2010. Those funds expired on September 30, 2015. Some grantees had been told by the Department of Education that the funds would be available for 90 days after the expiration date to reimburse obligations made before that date. Unfortunately, that guidance was not accurate.”

7. The total amount of funding that centers for independent living attempted to draw from the U.S. Department of Education (or its sub-agencies) or the ACL after September 30, 2015 to reimburse 2015 expenses.

8. The underlying data and ACL’s calculation that supports the statement in the August 2017 FAQ that “9 CILs in 14 states would lose a total of $559,000 if no action was taken.”

9. The amount of funding ACL diverted from fiscal year 2016 to “make up for the shortfall” discussed in its August 2017 FAQ.

10. The amount and sources of the “other resources to offset a significant portion of the shortfall” discussed in the August 2017 FAQ.

11. All records and data that support ACL’s statement in the August 2017 FAQ that it is “distributing $12,406 less in Part C funds to CILs on September 30, 2017 than in September 2016.”

If possible, please provide the requested information in electronic format. If all or any part of this request is denied, I request that I be provided with a written statement of the grounds for the denial, including citations to the specific exemption(s) that you think justify your refusal to release the information. If you determine that some portions of the requested records are exempt from disclosure, please provide me with the portions that can be disclosed. We reserve the right to appeal a decision to withhold any information.

We request a waiver of fees pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii) because the requested disclosure “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.” If you do not agree to waive fees, please advise me as to the cost, if any, for obtaining the records described above before incurring any fees.

I look forward to your reply within 20 business days, as required under 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(i). Thank you for your assistance. If you have any questions, please contact me at 202-207-0334.

Sincerely,

Kelly Buckland

Executive Director