July 21, 2014, Fairfax, Va. and Washington, D.C.—Government watchdogs Cause of Action and Americans for Limited Government (ALG) exposed the Administration for valuing illegal fundraising for the President over its statutory duty to keep the public informed of its activities.
Cause of Action obtained documents revealing that a public records appeal filed by ALG with the Department of Labor (DOL) concerning former Secretary Solis’ calendars was held up for years before DOL released the information.
Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens:
“President Obama upon entering office promised us an open and transparent administration, stating that records should not be withheld ‘because of speculative or abstract fears.’ Instead of fulfilling this promise, the White House is micro-managing how agencies release records, apparently acting on exactly these types of fears. As a result, release of records is delayed and the delays in many instances destroy the public utility of the information in the records. These delays are, of course, contrary to FOIA and should cease immediately.”
Cause of Action Executive Director Dan Epstein:
“Former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis chose to illegally fundraise for President Obama using taxpayer-funded resources while neglecting to ensure that the agency she oversaw was transparent. DOL sat on records for years until the White House cleared the information for release. Sadly, such delays have become par for the course under this Administration, which screens agency documents containing White House “equities,” – a broad and undefined term used to delay the release of politically sensitive information to the public, and even to Congress. Hiding behind White House equities is a threat to free speech and this Administration must be held accountable for it.”
Documents show that ALG’s FOIA appeal was delayed by over two years:
Sept. 1, 2010: In response to a Jan. 14, 2010 FOIA request from ALG, DOL withheld a calendar entry showing that Solis met with Cecilia Munoz from White House on April 7, 2009.
Oct. 26, 2010: ALG files FOIA appeal, challenging redactions.
Approx. March 2012: Solis makes a fundraising call to a DOL employee during business hours in order to aid the President’s reelection campaign.
Apr. 8, 2013 to May 6, 2013: DOL finally consults with White House Counsel’s Office about releasing the calendar entry; White House agrees to release.
May 20, 2013: DOL issues final response to ALG which includes the production of the calendar with the calendar entry.
About Cause of Action:
Cause of Action is a non-profit, nonpartisan government accountability organization that fights to protect economic opportunity when federal regulations, spending and cronyism threaten it. For more information, visit www.causeofaction.org.
About Americans for Limited Government:
Americans for Limited Government is a non-partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms, private property rights and core American liberties. For more information on ALG, visit www.GetLiberty.org.
To schedule an interview with Cause of Action’s Executive Director Dan Epstein, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 499-4232. To schedule an interview with Americans for Limited Government’s President Nathan Mehrens, contact email@example.com or (703) 383-0880 x 106