Following New Revelations, FOIA Requests Sent To DHS, Social Security Administration, & General Services Administration
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 25, 2017 — The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law this week issued requests for documents under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) to three federal agencies, the Department of Homeland Security, the Social Security Administration, and the General Services Administration, seeking communications between those agencies and the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.
The FOIA requests follow the Lawyers’ Committee’s obtaining a court-ordered list of documents, which the Commission has refused to disclose to the public. This list indicates that Commission members have communicated with the Department of Homeland Security concerning potential collaboration between the Commission and DHS, that Commission members have indicated their interest in examining Social Security Administration records, and that the General Services Commission has had substantive communications with Commission members, including communications concerning appointment of members.
The Lawyers’ Committee, aided by pro bono counsel, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, LLP, sued the Commission, in order to compel the Commission to comply with the requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which requires presidential commissions to disclose their substantive communications to the public. The Lawyers’ Commission has also issued FOIA requests to the Department of Justice, seeking communications between DOJ and the Commission.
“The lack of transparency of this Commission is ominous,” said Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee. “Just this week we have seen two members of the Commission themselves demand documents from the Commission, because they feel frozen out of the Commission’s work. We must subject this rogue Commission to the strict scrutiny required by law. Fortunately, FOIA provides us with an important tool to effect transparency.”
The FOIA requests are available online.
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 54th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.