Email this article Printer friendly page

 For Immediate Release
Jun 25, 1999 Contact: Press Office
202-646-5172


Congressman Barr Sues White House and Justice Department

Public Interest Lawsuit Alleges Violations of Privacy Rights

Part of the "Pattern of Filegate"

(Washington, June 25) Today, Judicial Watch, the non-partisan public interest government watchdog, will file suit on behalf of Congressman Bob Barr against the White House and the Clinton Justice Department for their failure to obey the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a et seq. This case is related to Judicial Watch's ongoing $90 million Filegate class action lawsuit, since it reflects a pattern and practice by the Clinton Administration of not respecting the privacy rights of American citizens.

During its prosecution of the Filegate class action suit, Judicial Watch learned that the White House keeps files on what it perceives to be its adversaries, and releases information from these files to the media and others in an attempt to damage their reputations. Judicial Watch also learned that information from these files is sometimes sent to surrogates, such as James Carville. The improper maintenance of files on individuals and the release of information from these files by the White House, without the consent of the persons affected, is a violation of the Privacy Act.

During the impeachment proceedings, the Clinton White House mounted an intense effort, directly and through its surrogates, to destroy the reputation of Congressman Bob Barr. After the proceedings ended, Capitol Hill Blue, an Internet publication, reported that the White House was embarking on a "campaign of retribution" against Rep. Barr (and his fellow House Managers and others), using information obtained from confidential FBI and other Privacy Act-protected government agency files.

After reading a Washington Times report that the Clinton White House had compiled a special file on him, Congressman Barr requested access to his file under the Privacy Act. The Privacy Act, passed in response to the abuses of the Nixon-era, applies to the White House. A federal court confirmed this in the Judicial Watch Filegate lawsuit. Yet, when Barr requested his file from the White House, both the General Accounting Office (speaking on behalf of the White House) and Clinton Justice Department denied, despite the law and court rulings to the contrary, that the Privacy Act applies to the White House and refused to turn the information over. All this creates a strong presumption that illegality had occurred.

Congressman Barr 's legal complaint to obtain the Clinton White House and Justice Department files on him, and for other remedies, will be posted on Judicial Watch's Internet site at www.judicialwatch.org. The right to privacy is a fundamental constitutional right. By filing this lawsuit, Congressman Barr and Judicial Watch are seeking to protect the interests and rights of all Americans.

Top of Page