America First Legal (AFL), a conservative nonprofit, launched a cascade of litigation last week suing 11 federal agencies over their refusal to disclose records compelled under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
In July last year, the group filed requests across federal agencies to disclose the names, titles, positions, resumes, salaries, ethics pledges, waivers, and agreements of political appointees under President Joe Biden in the new administration.
“Everyone knows personnel is policy,” AFL Vice President and General Counsel Gene Hamilton told The Federalist, highlighting the torrent of liberalism rapidly taking over the federal government from open-borders policy to the embrace of radical gender ideology. “We FOIA’d every department and agency across the administration to obtain information about these people. … We want to know who they are, see their resumes that they used to submit, and allow the American people to draw their own conclusions about individuals who are working in various roles in the federal government.”
AFL has filed 11 lawsuits against 11 agencies including the Departments of Commerce, Labor, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, the Interior, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs.
Over Biden’s 18 months in office, the president has made no shortage of controversial appointments to critical roles within the federal government, including an ecoterrorist to lead the Bureau of Land Management and a Broadway wannabe to lead the proposed U.S. Ministry of Truth officially branded as the “Disinformation Governance Board.”
Nina Jankowicz, who was nicknamed “Scary Poppins” by Federalist CEO Sean Davis and was selected to lead the dystopian project now on pause at the Department of Homeland Security, stepped away from the board following criticism that she trumpeted misinformation. Jankowicz championed the debunked Steele dossier and promoted the Hunter Biden laptop as an instrument of Russian influence, according to the Daily Caller. While the pair of appointments provoked scrutiny, thousands of other presidential hires remain hidden from the spotlight.
Hamilton compared the effort from America First Legal to compile records of administration officials to ProPublica’s “Trump Town” database, which made the same information of nearly 4,000 presidential appointees publicly accessible.
“People, you know, highlighted it and used it to try to write stuff up about people who were trying earnestly to execute President Trump’s agenda,” Hamilton said. “Well, the same has not really been true for the Biden administration. And so this is about transparency.”
Stephen Miller, a founding board member of America First Legal, told The Federalist that Biden’s efforts to muscle a radical agenda through the administrative state has made the effort all the more urgent.
“We could go through it for two hours, every crazy, unpopular, often illegal policy and agenda item that is being pushed through,” Miller said, citing a litany of examples from the weaponization of the Justice Department that has labeled concerned parents as “domestic terrorists” to the war on American energy.
“In an administration, to be blunt, where the chief executive can’t figure out what chair to sit in without somebody writing him a note card telling him ‘you enter the room, you sit down, you thank people’ and so on,” Miller said, “the appointed political staff has an unprecedented, arguably unrivaled degree of power over the direction of the country and over the lives of the 300-plus million citizens living in that country.”
Hamilton said that while the litigation was launched 12 months after the initial FOIA requests were filed, a successful effort should compel disclosure of information “from anyone who has been hired during the Biden administration at each agency until the time of production of records.”