Two weeks before the November midterms, the Justice Department is fighting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on how it is enforcing President Biden’s executive order that directed federal agencies to engage in what a government watchdog group calls an “unconstitutional taxpayer-funded ‘get out the vote’ effort designed to benefit the president’s political party.”
Biden’s order from March 2021, “Promoting Access to Voting,” states that “executive departments and agencies (agencies) should partner with State, local, Tribal, and territorial election officials to protect and promote the exercise of the right to vote, eliminate discrimination and other barriers to voting, and expand access to voter registration and accurate election information.”
After unsuccessfully seeking information about DOJ’s plan to implement that order, the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) sued DOJ for that information in April 2022. Six months later and with the midterm elections approaching fast, all FGA has is a handful of heavily redacted documents.
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The group accuses the Biden administration of hiding its effort to have the federal government work to the benefit of Democrats.
“President Biden is deeply unpopular. It’s clear his administration has weaponized DOJ to hide records and is using the legal process to run out the clock before the midterm elections,” Tarren Bragdon, FGA president and CEO, said in a statement. “DOJ offered flimsy excuses to justify concealing key information regarding their participation in government-funded ‘get out the vote’ efforts.”
As a result of its lawsuit, a federal district court judge gave DOJ until Sept. 8 to produce the documents FGA is seeking. But the 135 pages DOJ produced were largely redacted, and FGA said it didn’t come close to satisfying their demand.
“Among the missing documents was the DOJ’s 15-page strategic plan that detailed how the agency will help increase voter registration and participation,” FGA said. “This document is a finished product, completed as part of Biden’s executive order. In July, a federal district court ruled the DOJ must turn over the documents to the FGA, and this post-decisional document clearly is required to be disclosed.”
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When FGA pressed for more, DOJ late last week filed a motion asking the court to forgo a trial in the case. DOJ argued that the FOIA documents they withheld or redacted are protected by the presidential-communications privilege or the deliberative-process privilege.
In its Oct. 21 legal filing, DOJ insisted the release of this information would cause “public confusion” because its implementation plan “contains many proposed actions that the public might construe as ‘future commitments, past actions, or provisions already in place.'”
Stewart Whitson, legal director for FGA, told Fox News Digital his group is “preparing a cross motion to counter DOJ’s stonewalling. “We’ll ask the judge to compel DOJ to finally reveal documents they’ve been hiding, including their strategic plan to carry out President Biden’s federal election scheme,” he said.
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Biden’s order from 2021 said the attorney general would work directly with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Probation and Pretrial Services Office, and the U.S. Marshals Service to “establish procedures, consistent with applicable law, to provide educational materials related to voter registration and voting and, to the extent practicable, to facilitate voter registration, for all eligible individuals.”
Biden also directed the AG to “take appropriate steps, consistent with applicable law, to support formerly incarcerated individuals in obtaining a means of identification that satisfies State voter identification laws.”
A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment.