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LEHRFELD v. RICHARDSON

December 10, 1996

WILLIAM J. LEHRFELD, Plaintiff,
v.
MARGARET MILNER RICHARDSON, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SULLIVAN

 This matter is before the Court on the defendant Internal Revenue Service's ("IRS") motion for summary judgment and plaintiff's cross motion for partial summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c). Upon consideration of the pleadings and the arguments of counsel, defendant's motion for summary judgment is GRANTED and plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment is DENIED.

 I. FACTS

 In a September 7, 1993 letter to the IRS, plaintiff, through his attorney, Bruce L. Stern, requested documents relating to the application of the South African Free Election Fund ("SAFE") for tax-exempt status. The letter specifically made the request pursuant to Section 6104 of the Internal Revenue Code ("IRC"). The letter made no mention of the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"). Included with the letter was a complete IRS Form 4506-A, which named Bruce Stern as the requester.

 In response to plaintiff's request, IRS personnel located SAFE's administrative exemption application file and provided disclosable background material to plaintiff. In a September 27, 1993 letter to the IRS, Stern acknowledged receipt of some documents, but stated that he had not received all of the documents that should have been in SAFE's IRS file. This letter again referenced Section 6104 as the authority for release of the requested documents. While Stern did not specifically cite to FOIA in this letter, he did request documents that were outside the scope of 6104; Stern also requested a Vaughn Index of documents withheld.

 
(1) request for IDRS Input for BMF/EO Entity Change (Form 2362-A);
 
(2) internal "Technical Screening" memorandum providing recommendation on exemption application;
 
(3) cover sheet indicating priority status of the application because of 26 U.S.C. ยง 7428 (1988) applicability;
 
(4) Exempt Organization Record (Form 5548), which records information identifying application and pertinent information regarding its status;
 
(5) internal memorandum from the Baltimore District Director to Exempt Organizations, National Office, forwarding SAFE's exemption application for National Office consideration;
 
(6) internal routing slip to the file regarding the location of SAFE's books and records;
 
(7) internal tracking sheet tracking SAFE's exemption application while at the Baltimore district office;
 
(8) Special Handling Notice (Form 3198) prepared as application was being forwarded from Baltimore ...

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