Judicial Watch has been the leading force in uncovering the suspicious and dangerous connections between Obama administration officials and radical leftist special interest groups on a host of issues, from stealth amnesty to voter fraud to reverse discrimination. (See our most recent find, the outrageous videos we uncovered from the USDA, as a disturbing example of just how radical this behavior has become.)
On March 27, 2013, our effort to root out these connections continued as we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Obama Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Education (DOE) on behalf of the Family Research Council (FRC). FRC is a leading conservative advocacy group that seeks to advance faith, family and freedom in public policy and the culture from a Christian worldview.
Here’s what we want to know: To what extent did the DOJ or DOE cooperate and coordinate with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) in their lawsuit against the Anoka-Hennepin School District of Minnesota.
Now, there is no doubt that this controversy in Minnesota involved an extraordinary intervention by the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, run by Thomas E. Perez, President’s Obama’s current nominee for Secretary of Labor and a key figure in a host of DOJ scandals (beginning with the New Black Panther Party). JW and FRC just want to know how extraordinary. And we want the details.
On April 24, 2012, FRC submitted a FOIA request to the DOJ and DOE requesting the following information dating back to June 1, 2011:
A. Any and all records concerning, regarding, or relating to the anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies of the Anoka-Hennepin School District which culminated in the Anoka-Hennepin Consent Decree;
B. Any and all communications between and/or among the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Education, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and/or the National Center for Lesbian Rights concerning, regarding, or relating to the anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies of the Anoka-Hennepin School District which culminated in the Anoka-Hennepin Consent Decree;
C. Any and all communications between the Department of Education and/or U.S. Department of Justice and any third parties not named in #2 (above), concerning, regarding, or relating to the anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies of the Anoka-Hennepin School District which culminated in the Anoka-Hennepin Consent Decree.
In short, we are getting the runaround from both agencies.
In a letter dated August 31, 2012, the Civil Rights Division, a component of DOJ, informed FRC that it was denying access to all responsive records involving its role in the Anoka-Hennepin affair. On September 28, 2012, FRC appealed the DOJ’s decision. Though the DOJ acknowledged receiving the appeal on October 25, it has failed to provide a response to the appeal, which was due by November 1, 2012.
In a letter dated May 30, 2012, the DOJ’s Office for Civil Rights informed FRC that it had located 7,453 pages responsive to FRC’s FOIA request, but was withholding 7,159 pages in their entirety. On June 29, 2012, FRC appealed the DOE decision. According to the U.S. Postal Service, DOE received the appeal on July 5, 2012, but has failed to provide a response to the appeal, which was due by August 3, 2012.
We are asking the District Court for the District of Columbia Circuit to simply order the Obama DOJ and DOE to conduct searches for all records responsive to the FRC FOIA request and to “produce, by a certain date, any and all non-exempt records,” along with indices of all records the departments continue to declare exempt.
I feel like it should go without saying that it is not the proper role of the United States Departments of Justice or Education to collude with radical leftwing organizations like the SPLC in order to impose their political agenda on parents or the American people generally. And the fact that both departments are intent to cover up their collusion makes this court fight more important.
In July, 2011, the SPLC joined with the NCLR to sue the Anoka-Hennepin School District to overturn the district’s policy requiring its teachers to remain neutral on the subject of homosexuality. In apparent coordination with those groups, the Obama DOJ, after what it termed “an extensive investigation into sex-based harassment,” compelled the school district to sign a 61-page Consent Agreement on March 5, 2012.
Not content with simply forcing its agenda on the school district, the Holder Justice Department added insult to injury.
In July 2012, a group of DOJ employees, led by Holder, joined with the SPLC to honor the Anoka-Hennepin School District students involved in the lawsuit to force the district to endorse homosexual conduct. Five of the students received an award at DOJ’s annual LGBT Pride Month program in the Great Hall of the Main Justice Building.
This is not the first example of the DOJ’s collusion with the radical left. And it won’t be the last.
In fact, specifically related to SPLC, JW obtained nearly two dozen pages of emails from the DOJ Civil Rights and Tax Divisions revealing questionable behavior by agency personnel while negotiating for SPLC co-founder Morris Dees to appear as the featured speaker at a July 31, 2012, “Diversity Training Event.”
The Judicial Watch FOIA request was prompted by the terrorist shooting at the FRC headquarters in August, 2012. On the SPLC’s website, which the shooter used to get a list of targets, the SPLC lists FRC’s headquarters on a “hate map.” The SPLC refuses to take FRC off the “hate map” even after the organization was connected in court to the shooting.
JW also uncovered records indicating that the DOJ worked hand-in-hand with the American Civil Liberties Union to attack Arizona over the state’s tough illegal immigration enforcement law, SB 1070. Judicial Watch released records detailing the cooperation between the ACORN-connected Project Vote to attack states, such as Florida, for implementing voter integrity measures, such as Voter ID laws. Judicial Watch also probed the role that the NAACP played in the controversial DOJ dismissal of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation lawsuit.