FOIA Advisor

FOIA Focus: Dione Stearns, Assistant General Counsel for Information and Legal Support, Federal Trade Commission

FOIA Focus (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

How long have you been working in the FOIA field?   

10 years.

Where did you get your start and what did you do?

The Office of Information Policy, formerly the Office of Information and Privacy.  I adjudicated FOIA/PA appeals from all of DOJ’s component’s initial FOIA/PA determinations.

When did you start at FTC and how did you find your way there?

I started in January 2012.  I noticed the job on USAJOBS and applied.

What are your current job duties?

I oversee the FTC’s FOIA Office.

What is the most common FOIA request you receive?

We frequently receive requester’s complaints.

What is the most unusual FOIA request you have ever seen?

The most unusual FOIA request I received sought information on everything from our Consumer Sentinel Database, which has over 22 million records.

Of all the FOIA matters you have worked on, which has received the most prominent media coverage?  

Google cases.

What do you like and not like about working on FOIA matters?

I like that it is a specialized area of the law.   I do not like unreasonable FOIA requests.

Which FOIA exemption or privilege do you find to be the most challenging and why?

Exemption 4 is the most challenging because it requires you to understand something about the business.

Where were you born/grow up?

Philadelphia, PA.

Where did you go to school and what did you study?   

Howard University, where I studied Communications.  I went to Catholic University Columbus School of Law for my JD.

What was your first job ever?  What did you like or not like about it?

My first professional job was working at NBC 4 right out of college.  I wrote promotions for the Promotion department.  I liked working with the newscasters.

What do you like to do in your spare time?


If you could meet any historical icon, of the past or present, who would it be and why?

Oprah Winfrey because she is self-made billionaire. 

What is one of your favorite books?   Movies?  

My favorite movie is Gone with the Wind.  I do not have a favorite book because I like many of them.

What are you really bad at that you would love to be better at?

Making small talk.