Judicial Watch, Family Research Council Sue Departments of Education, Justice over Controversial Anti-Bullying Settlement
APRIL 02, 2013
Judicial Watch Represents FRC in Lawsuit over Administration’s Refusal to Provide Records of Relationship between DOJ, DOE, Southern Poverty Law Center, and National Center for Lesbian Rights in MN Bullying Lawsuit
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on March 27, 2013, against the Obama Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Education (DOE) on behalf of the Family Research Council (FRC) to obtain records revealing the full extent of any DOJ or DOE cooperation and coordination with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) in their lawsuit again the Anoka-Hennepin School District of Minnesota (Family Research Council v. Department of Justice and Department of Education (No. 1:13-cv-00405)). The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The Minnesota controversy involved an extraordinary intervention by the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, run by Thomas E. Perez, President’s Obama’s current nominee for Secretary of Labor.
On April 24, 2012, FRC submitted a FOIA request to the DOJ and DOE requesting the following information dating back to June 1, 2011:
A. Any and all records concerning, regarding, or relating to the anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies of the Anoka-Hennepin School District which culminated in the Anoka-Hennepin Consent Decree;
B. Any and all communications between and/or among the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Education, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and/or the National Center for Lesbian Rights concerning, regarding, or relating to the anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies of the Anoka-Hennepin School District which culminated in the Anoka-Hennepin Consent Decree;
C. Any and all communications between the Department of Education and/or U.S. Department of Justice and any third parties not named in #2 (above), concerning, regarding, or relating to the anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies of the Anoka-Hennepin School District which culminated in the Anoka-Hennepin Consent Decree.
In a letter dated August 31, 2012, the Civil Rights Division, a component of DOJ, informed FRC that it was denying access to all responsive records involving its role in the Anoka-Hennepin affair. On September 28, 2012, FRC appealed the DOJ decision. Though DOJ acknowledged receiving the appeal on October 25, it has failed to provide a response to the appeal, which was due by November 1, 2012.
In a letter datedMay 30, 2012, the Office for Civil Rights, a component of DOE, informed FRC that it had located 7,453 pages responsive to FRC’s FOIA request, but was withholding 7,159 pages in their entirety. On June 29, 2012, FRC appealed the DOE decision. According to the U.S. Postal Department, DOE received the appeal on July 5, 2012, but has failed to provide a response to the appeal, which was due by August 3, 2012.
The Judicial Watch lawsuit filed on behalf of FRC asks that the District Court order the Obama DOJ and DOE to conduct searches for all records responsive to the FRC FOIA request and to “produce, by a certain date, any and all non-exempt records,” along with indices of all records the departments continue to declare exempt.
“It is not the proper role of the United States Departments of Justice and Education to collude with radical leftwing organizations like the SPLC in order to impose their political agenda on parents and the American people,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The fact that both departments are intent to cover up their collusion makes this court fight more important.”
In July, 2011, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) joined with the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) to sue the Anoka-Hennepin School District to overturn the district’s policy requiring its teachers to remain neutral on the subject of homosexuality. In apparent coordination with the SPLC and the NCLR, the Obama DOJ, after what it termed “an extensive investigation into sex-based harassment,” compelled the school district to sign a 61-page Consent Agreement on March 5, 2012.
In July 2012, a group of DOJ employees, led by Attorney General Eric Holder, joined with the Southern Poverty Law Center to honor the Anoka-Hennepin School District students involved in the lawsuit to force the district to endorse homosexual conduct. Five of the students received an award at DOJ Pride’s annual LGBT Pride Month program in the Great Hall of the Main Justice Building.
Judicial Watch has spearheaded an investigation into the behind-the-scenes collusion allegedly taking place between the Obama DOJ and leftist special interest groups. For example, Judicial Watch obtained nearly two dozen pages of emails from the DOJ Civil Rights and Tax divisions revealing questionable behavior by agency personnel while negotiating for SPLC co-founder Morris Dees to appear as the featured speaker at a July 31, 2012, “Diversity Training Event.” The Judicial Watch FOIA request was prompted by the terrorist shooting at the Family Research Council (FRC) headquarters in August, 2012. On its website, which the shooter used to get a list of targets, the SPLC lists FRC’s headquarters on a “hate map.” The SPLC refuses to take FRC off the “hate map” even after the organization was connected in court to the shooting.
Judicial Watch also uncovered records indicating that the DOJ worked hand-in-hand with the American Civil Liberties Union to attack Arizona over the state’s tough illegal immigration enforcement law, SB 1070. Judicial Watch released records detailing the cooperation between the ACORN-connected Project Vote to attack states, such as Florida, for implementing voter integrity measures, such as Voter ID laws. Judicial Watch also probed the role that the NAACP played in the controversial DOJ dismissal of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation lawsuit.