During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to operate one of the most transparent administrations in history.
But a whistleblower who once worked for the Department of Justice reports that transparency apparently only applies to political friends of the administration, especially when it comes to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
In a bombshell report at Pajamas Media, J. Christian Adams says:
FOIA requests from liberals or politically connected civil rights groups are often given same day turn-around by the DOJ. But requests from conservatives or Republicans face long delays, if fulfilled at all.
Adams writes that the Justice Department under Eric Holder, readily provides information to liberal media outlets like National Public Radio, but conservative media outlets routinely get ignored.
After receiving FOIA request logs pertaining to the Civil Rights Division, Adams compared the response times and came to a startling conclusion – requests from liberal groups or media outlets are given high priority, but requests from conservatives appear to be ignored or given low priority:
– Gerry Hebert, noted free speech opponent, partisan liberal, and former career Voting Section lawyer who testified against now-Senator Jeff Sessions when he was nominated to the federal judiciary. Same day service.
– Kristen Clarke, NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Clarke sought the dismissal of the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther party. Same day service.
– Ari Shapiro of National Public Radio. Five day service.
– Nicholas Espiritu of the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund. Next day service.
– Eugene Lee of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center. Three day service.
– Edward DuBose, president of Georgia NAACP. Same day service.
– Raul Arroyo-Mendoza of the Advancement Project. Same day service.
– Nina Perales of the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund. Two day service.
– Tova Wang of Demos. Three day service.
– Mark Posner and Robert Kengle of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
Kengle is the same former DOJ attorney who did not want to do election coverage in Mississippi where a federal court found that white voters were being discriminated against. Same day service.
– Brian Sells, formerly of the ACLU and now of the DOJ Voting Section. (Paging Charlie Savage). One day service.
– Natalie Landreth, Native American Rights Fund. Same day service.
– Fred McBride, ACLU redistricting coordinator. Same day service.
– Jenigh Garrett, NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Same day service.
– Joaquin Avila, well-known election law professor in Seattle who advocates for the rights of illegal aliens to vote in American elections. Next day service.
In contrast, well-known conservatives, Republicans, or political opponents had to wait many months for a response, if they ever got one:
– Michael Rosman, Center for Individual Rights. Six month wait.
– Jennifer Rubin (seeking records relating to employees, like Charlie Savage did). No reply at all.
– Congressman Frank Wolf. Five month wait. Wolf now chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee in charge of the DOJ budget. Oops.
– Jed Babbin, editor at Human Events. Six month wait.
– Jerry Seper, Washington Times. Six month wait.
– Jim Boulet of the English First Foundation. No reply at all.
– Jenny Small of Judicial Watch. Five month wait.
– Republican Pennsylvania state Representative Stephen Barrar. Four month wait.
– Jason Torchinsky, former DOJ and now ace GOP lawyer. No reply at all.
– Ben Conery, Washington Times. Five month wait.
To further support his argument, Adams notes a specific case:
In 2006, Charlie Savage, then at the not-yet-insolvent Boston Globe, requested all of the resumes of the recently hired attorneys in the Bush Civil Rights Division — including mine. DOJ leadership was convinced rushing out the resumes of dozens of lawyers far before the deadline was a good thing.
Savage apparently has never made a similar request to the Obama Justice Department, even though the inspector general has opened an investigation into political payback and discrimination under Eric Holder…
In spring of 2010, Pajamas Media requested the exact same information from the DOJ that Charlie Savage requested in 2006 — except for hires made in the Obama DOJ. Recall the Bush administration turned over all the resumes of attorneys as fast as they could, and well before the statutory FOIA deadline.
PJM’s request was ignored. Then on October 13, 2010, the request was renewed by certified mail. Still, no response as required by law.
As a result of the Justice Department’s lack of action, a lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court in the Disctrict of Columbia.
The case of Pajamas Media v. United States Department of Justice was filed on January 18.
Even if a judge orders the administration to comply with the law regulating requests under the Freedom of Information Act, it is questionable the administration will comply, given its history of ignoring rules it doesn’t like.
In early February, a federal judge held the administration in contempt of court for refusing to comply with an order lifting a de facto drilling moratorium in the Gulf.
Another federal judge declared Obamacare unconstitutional and noted the decision had the same weight as an injunction. Nevertheless, the Administration and congressional Democrats are continuing to push its implementation.
Adams asks what should be made “of patterns of lawless noncompliance with the FOIA?”
Considering how the Administration seems to selectively follow only the laws and judgments it likes, one can only conclude that instead of being the “most transparent” administration in history, it is quite possibly one of the most lawless administrations in recent memory.
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