Judicial Watch Targeted for Exposing Corruption
The GSA unethically skirted FOIA protocols.
Just how effective is Judicial Watch in extracting information buried by the Obama administration? We need only look at how the White House has tried to quash its efforts for a clue. On Thursday the General Services Administration’s Office of Inspector General published a November 2015 audit on its website, “Letter to Senator Johnson About GSA’s FOIA Process,” that criticizes the administration for, among other things, violating Freedom of Information Act protocols regarding a GSA video enquiry in June 2012.
The report says “GSA had granted Judicial Watch press status in the past,” which should have made it exempt from fees. In this case, however, JW was “denied the fee waiver request.” Moreover, the clearly orchestrated obfuscation is linked directly to the White House. The report says the Office of General Counsel “received an email containing guidance for determining Judicial Watch was not a media requestor. In the email, captioned ‘Judicial Watch Found Not A Media Requester,’ the sender, Elliot Mincberg, advised he had gathered this information at the request of GSA’s White House Liaison, Gregory Mercher.”
Judicial Watch eventually prevailed, though it took nearly a year for the videos to be released and the parties were forced into a settlement. JW president Tom Fitton says, “It’s outrageous but not surprising. Welcome to our world. This is what we put up with all the time from the agencies.”
The Washington Times importantly notes: “President Obama promised an era of transparency when it came to open records requests under the Freedom of Information Act, which is the chief way for Americans to pry loose data from the federal government. Despite the president’s exhortations, the government is increasingly fighting requests, forcing the public to file lawsuits to look at information.” Just image how much worse this administration’s cover-ups would be without JW’s unparalleled work in exposing them. It’s not just the IRS targeting conservative groups.