JW Sues DOJ for Records of Voter Registration in Massachusetts
Freedom of Information Lawsuit also Seeks Records of DOJ Communications with the NAACP, Demos, Project Vote, and Acorn-Successor New England United for Justice
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on March 27, 2013, against the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) to obtain records revealing “any and all” communications between the DOJ Civil Rights Division and New England United for Justice (NEU4J), NEU4J President Maude Hurd, the NAACP, Demos, and Project Vote regarding the enforcement and implementation of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) in Massachusetts. Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch v. DOJ) (No. 1:13-cv-00398)).
The Judicial Watch lawsuit came in response to the failure of the DOJ to comply with two separate FOIA requests regarding voter registration activities in Massachusetts. In both cases, the DOJ not only failed to produce the records in the legally allotted time period, it also failed to indicate when the records would be produced, as required by law.
On May 24, 2012, Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the DOJ Civil Rights Division requesting the following information dating back to January 1, 2011:
- Any and all records of communications between any official or employee of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and any officer, employee or representative of New England United for Justice (NEU4J), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and/or Demos, regarding, concerning, or related to the implementation and enforcement of the National Voter Registration Act in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
- And an all records of communications between any official of the Department of Justice and Ms. Maude Hurd, the President of New England United for Justice.
By a letter dated May 29, 2012, the DOJ Civil Rights Division acknowledged receiving the Judicial Watch FOIA on May 24, and was required by law to respond by June 21, 2012. It failed to do so.
On August10, 2012, Judicial Watch sent a FOIA request to the Civil Rights Division requesting the following information also dating back to January 1, 2011:
- Andy and all records of communications between any official or employee of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and any officer, employee or representative of New England United for Justice (NEU4J), Demos, and/or Project Vote regarding, concerning, or related to voter registration in Massachusetts.
By a letter dated August 21, 2012, the Civil Rights Division acknowledged receiving the FOIA request on the same day, and was required by law to respond by September 19, 2012. Once again, it failed to do so.
The Judicial Watch lawsuit filed on March 27 asks that the District Court order the Obama DOJ to “conduct a search for any and all responsive records” to the FOIA and “produce, by a certain date, any and all non-exempt records,” along with an index of all records the department continues to declare exempt. It also asks the Court grant Judicial Watch attorney’s fees and additional litigation costs.
According to a Judicial Watch analysis of records, NEU4J is the reincarnation of ACORN in New England, the nationwide Obama-tied community organization famous for operating fraudulent voter registration drives during the 2008 presidential campaign. Judicial Watch research found that ACORN’s Boston office rebranded into New England United for Justice, headed by Maude Hurd, the former president of ACORN and ACORN Housing.
In the final days of the senatorial election campaign between then-Sen. Scott Brown current Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Hurd orchestrated a move by the state of Massachusetts to send out voter registration letters to some 500,000 welfare recipients. The mailing was forced through by the Department of Transitional Assistance after a lawsuit pushed by Hurd’s New England United for Justice. The mailings, which were seen to directly aid the Warren campaign, cost taxpayers nearly $275,000. The state also has to advertise on TV and radio stations, again targeting welfare recipients.
In March, the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General issued a report raising questions about inappropriate coordination and conduct on this election integrity issue by the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division and outside left-wing groups. Thomas Perez, President Obama’s nominee for Labor Secretary, had headed the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.
“Tom Perez and the Obama Justice Department have a terrible record on transparency,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “They have stonewalled the American people for nearly a year now on these key election integrity and ethics issues. It seems clear from our investigations that leftist special interest groups are running the Justice Department and we need to know the full extent of this corrupt partnership – especially on this matter of election integrity.”
Judicial Watch’s lawsuit is part of the organization’s comprehensive Election Integrity Project, which seeks to force states to maintain accurate voter registration lists, while upholding voter integrity measures, such as Voter ID laws. Judicial Watch has been highly critical of the Obama Justice Department’s efforts to enforce section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which seeks to expand the number of registered voters on public assistance, while failing to enforce Section 8 of the NVRA, which requires states to maintain clean voter registration lists. Judicial Watch also has an ongoing investigation into other illicit collusion between the Justice Department and leftist special interest groups.