PPSA General Counsel Gene Schaerr filed a lawsuit today against the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice National Security Division for their lack of response to requests for information about possible government interference in the 2016 election.
“I have been given no choice, given these agencies’ stonewalling of our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for documents related to surveillance of a presidential election,” said Gene Schaerr.
The original FOIAs were filed by Schaerr in April 2019. The requests concerned surveillance of Trump campaign aide Carter Page, which under the “two hops” rule allowed the FBI great latitude in surveilling the Trump campaign, transition, and White House. Among the documents sought:
The FOIA requests sought documents and communications relating to any defensive briefings of both presidential campaigns in 2016 by these agencies. It also sought documents about a Justice Department official, Bruce Ohr, and other officials who may have received information from outside of DOJ and the FBI, and then placed into the Carter Page applications.
“The only answer to these questions was to direct us to a few publicly available records,” Gene Schaerr said. “We have not received a substantive response from the FBI as required by law, and no response whatsoever from DOJ’s NSD. We won’t sit by and watch official dismissals of the law turn the venerable Freedom of Information Act into a joke.
“The government gives us no choice but to sue,” Schaerr said. “Whatever your view of the candidates in 2016, interference in a presidential campaign by federal investigators should worry Americans of all ideological stripes.”
PPSA will report the progress of the lawsuit.