The Biden administration is claiming “presidential communications privilege” in Federal Court to prevent releasing information about an executive order instructing federal agencies to help register more voters.
In a filing, the Justice Department argues that releasing information on President Joe Biden’s order would cause “public confusion.”
The Foundation for Government Accountability, a conservative watchdog group, sued the Justice Department in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida to get information about how the department would implement Executive Order 14019, which Biden signed in March 2021.
As previously reported by The Daily Signal, Biden’s order requires every federal agency to promote voter registration and voter participation.
The Foundation for Government Accountability sued under the Freedom of Information Act in April, and the Court ordered the Justice Department to produce documents by September 8. The department partially complied with the deadline but had only 135 pages out of what the foundation anticipated would be more than 5,000 pages.
Many of the released documents were heavily redacted, and the Justice Department did not produce the 15-page “strategic plan” for implementing Biden’s order.
“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, the foundation’s President, said in a prepared statement.
“DOJ offered flimsy excuses to justify concealing key information regarding their participation in government-funded ‘get out the vote efforts,” Bragdon said. “FGA will not stop fighting to uncover these records and expose the full scope of the Biden administration’s mass voter registration scheme.”
The Justice Department filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the documents should be withheld from the public. Government lawyers argued that the records are protected from the nation’s open records law under “presidential communications privilege.”
“To qualify for protection under this privilege, the material must be inter- or intra-agency, and both pre-decisional and deliberative,” the Justice Department motion says. The government document says that disclosure also would deter Justice Department employees from “providing a full range of options, plans, or propositions for future potential actions out of concern for creating … public confusion.”
The Justice Department argues in the motion:
And such public confusion would result from disclosure of the Strategic Plan because it contains many proposed actions that the public might construe as ‘future commitments, past actions, or provisions already in place. DOJ therefore properly withheld the Strategic Plan in its entirety.
The Justice Department did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment for this report by publication time.
Numerous House Republicans have sought information about the documents related to Biden’s order telling government agencies to register voters. Critics have said the ruling could cause federal employees to engage in illegal activity by participating in elective politics.
Earlier this week, nine House Republicans signed a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, who heads the Justice Department, asking for the release of the agency’s strategic plan and referencing the Foundation for Government Accountability’s lawsuit.
“The DOJ’s reputation with public trust is already minimal at best,” Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., said in a prepared statement. “What could the DOJ have to gain from hiding their plan to promote voter participation from the public?”
“American voters have a right to know what the DOJ’s planned role is in our election,” Norman said. “The federal government should abide by the Hatch Act and keep their hands out of our election process.”
Biden Has Presidential Executive Privilege Rejection In His Recent Past
Biden is exerting executive privilege to keep the American people from seeing something he doesn’t want hidden. Americans get that. I’m sure most Americans have instances in their life that they would like hidden as well. However, the American public cannot ensure something is not revealed just because of “privilege.”
President Biden, however, has rejected presidential executive privilege for Donald Trump! One year ago, Biden weighed in on such an issue, and CNN gave us the details:
President Joe Biden has once again refused to assert executive privilege over more documents that former President Donald Trump has sought to keep out of the hands of the committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
According to a letter obtained by CNN, White House counsel Dana Remus informed National Archivist David Ferriero on Monday that Biden would not assert privilege over additional materials that Trump requested remain secret as a matter of executive privilege.
The former President has has already filed a lawsuit to stop the National Archives, the custodian of his administration’s White House records, from giving documents to Congress that he believes are privileged, and the latest documents will likely become part of that lawsuit. The National Archives is set to begin turning over records to the House on November 12, unless Trump gets a court order.
“President Biden has considered the former President’s assertion, and I have engaged in consultations with the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice,” Remus wrote.
“President Biden has determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not in the best interests of the United States, and therefore is not justified, as to the documents provided to the White House on September 16, 2021, and September 23, 2021. Accordingly, President Biden does not uphold the former President’s assertion of privilege.”
One might say, “These two issues are NOT identical and therefore should not be viewed in the same lens as one uses to evaluate President Biden’s current privilege claim.”
That’s true: they are different issues. But the purpose behind both actions shows one thing only: “What’s good for the goose is NOT good for the gander.” That’s from “Biden World.”
We all know that Joe Biden lives in something of an altered state. He shows us that daily. It’s a full-time job for at least White House staff to monitor the President’s public statements and immediately “clarify the meaning and purposes” of Joe’s maniacal blatherings. In the 2021 privilege case, it was the former President seeking privilege. And, almost certainly, the President’s denial of Trump’s plea for executive privilege was denied for one reason: it was Donald Trump asking for it. Biden’s request for the Court to protect his executive is justified — justified not for its validity and factual content for the nation’s good, but explained for Joe’s political purposes. After all, he’s “Joe Biden.”
I visited with a doctor today who brought up politics in general. He made a statement that I don’t necessarily agree with, but it rang true thinking about some actions of “some” politicians. That doctor said that every politician should be forced to apologize to the American people for any of their wrongdoing. That, of course, assumes the applicable politicians were guilty sufficient to spur apologies. The doctor said they should then be executed! (Not my thoughts or words. They were his.)
The line of those who this would affect is pretty long. But the line of Americans who wish to initiate the above penalty is much longer!