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Judicial Watch • House Testimony 031711

House Testimony 031711

House Testimony 031711

Page 1: House Testimony 031711


Number of Pages:15

Date Created:March 16, 2011

Date Uploaded to the Library:February 20, 2014

Tags:031711, Administrations, seeking, Agents, receipt, testimony, exhibit, Freedom, south, HHS, security, DHS, Secretary, request, records, FBI, transportation, FOIA, Washington, CIA

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Opening Statement 
Tom Fitton, President 
Judicial Watch 

"The Freedom Information Act: 
Crowd-Sourcing Government Oversight"' 

Hearing the U.S. House's Committee 
Oversight and Government Reform 

March 17, 2011, 2154 Rayburn House Office Building 

Good morning, I'm Tom Fitton, President Judicial Watch. Judicial Watch conservative, non-partisan educational foundation dedicated promoting transparency, accountability and integrity government, politics and the law. are the nation's largest and most effective government watchdog group. 
Thank you, Chairman Issa and Congressman Cummings. honor for me, behalf Judicial Watch, appear before this Committee. Judicial Watch appreciates the Committee's renewed focus government transparency. 
Essential Judicial Watch's anti-conuption and transparency mission the Freedom oflnformation Act (FOIA). Judicial Watch used this tool effectively root out corruption the Clinton administration and take the Bush administration's penchant for improper secrecy. Founded 1994, Judicial Watch has nearly years' experience using FOIA advance the public interest. Judicial Watch is, without doubt) the most active FOIA requestor and litigator operating today. 
The American people were promised new era transparency with the Obama administration. Unfortunately, this promise has not been kept. clear: the Obama administration less transparent that the Bush administration. have filed over 325 FOIA requests with the Obama administration. And have filed FOIA lawsuits federal court against this administration. 
Administratively, agencies created additional hurdles and stonewalled even the most basic FOIA requests. The Bush administration was tough and tricky) but the Obama administration tougher and trickier. For instance, recently asked the Transportation and Security Administration for documents detailing passenger complaints about TSA pat-downs and imaging procedures airports. The response: TSA asked define what meant "complaint"! (Exhibit 
And once we're forced federal court, the Obama administration continues fight tooth and nail. The Obama administration's litigious approach FOlA 

exactly the same the Bush administration's -so one can imagine the difficulties encolUlter litigating these issues court against the Obama Justice Department. 
Judicial Watch has been digging hard into the scandals behind the collapse Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their role helping trigger the global financial and related housing crises. key component this investigation involves the role political corruption played the failure adequate congressional oversight and the catastrophic 
/judicial-watch-v-u-s-federal-housing-finance-agency) against the Obama administration get hold documents related Fannie's and Freddie's campaign contributions over the last several election cycles. 
Since American taxpayers are the hook for trillions dollars, potentially including already $153 billion alone for Fannie and Freddie, deserve know how and why this financial collapse occurred and who Washington, D.C.) responsible. 
Unf01tunately the Obama administration disagrees. 
Last year, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the agency responsible for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, responded our FOIA lawsuit telling that all the documents seek are not subject FOIA. 
Here the exact language the Obama agency used its court 
... Any records created held the custody the Enterprises (Fatmie Mae 
and Freddie Mac) reflecting their political campaign contributions policies, 
stipulations and requirements concerning campaign contributions necessarily are 
private corporate documents. They are not "agency records" subject disclosure 
under FOIA. 
And here why the Obama administration's reasoning flat.out wrong, issue this Freedom Information Act ("FOIA") lawsuit whether FHFA, the federal agency that has custody and control the records Federal National Mortgage Association ("Fannie Mae") and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Company ("Freddie Mac"), must comply with FOIA request for records relating those previously independent entities. Until they were seized FHF September 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were private corporations with independent directors, officers, and shareholders. Since that time, FHF federal agency subject FOIA,_ has assumed full legal custody and control the records these previously independent entities. Hence, these records are subject FOIA like any other agency records. addition the problem walling off FHFA's control our nation's mortgage market through Fannie and Freddie from public accountability, the Obama Treasury Department has been seemingly incapable disclosing even basic information the various government bailouts. can't quite fathom how this administration can laud new era transparency, while over trillion government spending shielded from practical oversight and scrutiny the American people. This government growing leaps and bounds, and FOIA and transparency are simply not keeping up. 
This Committee might also interested learn about the truth behind the Obama White House's repeated trumpeting the release Secret Service White louse visitor logs. fact, the Obama administration refusing release tens thousands visitor logs and insists, repeating Bush administration last-ditch legal position, that the visitor logs are not subject the Freedom Information Act. while the Obama administration attempts take the "high ground" the debate releasing select number visitor logs, shields tens thousands other records that continue withheld defiance FOIA law. Why release some and not all? the fall 2009, Judicial Watch staff visited with senior White House official Norm Eisen, then-Special Counsel the President for Ethics and Govemment, discuss Judicial Watch's pursuit the White House visitor logs. The Vhite House encouraged publicly praise the Obama administration's commitment transparency, saying would good for them and good for us. lowcver, the Obama team refused abandon their legally indefensible contention that Secret Service White House visitor logs are not subject disclosure under FOIA law. filed lawsuit ask the court enforce the law. with Fannie and Freddie, the Obama administration continues advance its ridiculous and bogus claim that the visitor logs "are not agency records subject the FOIA." But the Obama administration doesn't have legal leg stand on. noted our (Judicial Watch, Inc. United States Secret Service, USDC 

Case No. 9-2312; 
filed December 2009, the administration's claim "has 
been litigated and rejected repeatedly" the courts. date. every cow1 that has reached this issue has concluded that the White House Secret Service visitor logs are agency records and must processed response properly submitted FOIA request. fact, the Secret Service had released White House visitor logs response 

service) from Judicial Watch and other parties. 

And now know from published reports that White House officials have been meeting with lobbyists and interests nearby Caribou Coffee shop across the street anonymous conference center specifically prevent disclosure visitors who might otherwise have their names disclosed result visiting the White House complex itself. The Obama White House playing games transparency. major issue after major issue, FOf ignored this administration. 
Many have been reading the news about the astonishing ,000 Obamacare waivers issued the Department Health and Hwnan Services. Judicial Watch first began asking for documents about this issue last October. sued January. (Judicial Watch, Inc. Department