Judicial Watch Sues Obama DOJ for ACLU Communication Records Regarding PA Voter ID Law
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and fights government corruption, announced today that on June 1, 2012, it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) to obtain records detailing the agency’s communications with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) regarding Pennsylvania House Bill 934, commonly referred to as Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. Case 1:12-cv-00884)). The ACLU and allied organizations have filed a lawsuit to prevent the law, signed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett on March 14, 2012, from taking effect before the November elections.
Judicial Watch seeks the following records pursuant to its original March 30, 2012, FOIA request with the DOJ:
All records of communications between the Department of Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) concerning, regarding, or relating to Pennsylvania House Bill 934, commonly referred to as Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law. The timeframe for this request is May 1, 2011 to March 30, 2012.
According to United States Postal Service records, the Obama DOJ received Judicial Watch’s request on April 5, 2012. However, to date, the agency has failed to comply. By law a response was due no later than May 17, 2012.
Pennsylvania House Bill 934 requires voters to produce a Pennsylvania driver’s license or another government-issued photo ID, such as a U.S. passport, military ID, or county/municipal employee ID. As reported by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, on May 1, 2012, so-called “civil rights” groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit to seek to prevent Pennsylvania’ voter ID law from taking effect before the November elections. The trial is scheduled to begin on July 25, 2012.
Judicial Watch previously obtained documents from the DOJ showing that it worked hand-in-hand with the ACLU in mounting their respective legal challenges to SB 1070, Arizona’s illegal immigration enforcement law that is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.
“The Obama Justice Department is supposed to be an independent arbiter of justice, not a legal battering ram for leftist special interest groups,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It is becoming difficult to determine where activist groups such as the ACLU begin and the Obama Justice Department ends. We hope the Justice Department will abide by FOIA law and release these records so the American people can know who is running the Justice Department.”
As part of its comprehensive 2012 Election Integrity Project, Judicial Watch has uncovered documents showing that the Obama DOJ has also been partnering with the ACORN-connected Project Vote, President Obama’s former employer, to use the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) to increase voter registrations for those on public assistance, which is a key Obama voter demographic, while ignoring a stipulation in the NVRA that requires states to keep voter registration lists clean. The DOJ has also filed lawsuits against Texas and South Carolina over their voter ID laws.
Judicial Watch Attorney Michael Bekesha testified on March 21, 2011, before the State Government Committee of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Bekesha testified that the bill was a commonsense way for Pennsylvania “to ensuring fair elections for its citizens.” In addition, he testified that the bill followed the U.S. Supreme Court’s specifications. Bekesha’s testimony can be read here.