Alleged “public interest” groups determined to dig up dirt on the former Trump administration say they have new openings for unearthing information now that the past government’s political appointees have departed, The Hill reports.
Various groups that file Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests say the departures have made it easier to gain access to various agencies’ public records shops.
In an attempt to dig up “dirt”on the previous administration, requests ranging from the pandemic response and the events on Jan. 6 at the Capitol are moving forward.
Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president with Public Citizen, believes there is lots of damaging information to dig up.
“I think there’s a ton left to understand about what went wrong during the Trump administration and what norms were broken, what ethical violations occurred, and I do think we’ve only scratched the tip of the iceberg,” said Lisa Gilbert who also founded the Not Above the Law coalition of more than 100 different interest groups.
“This is the ideal time to step forward — while the facts are still fresh, before memories fade, while the evidence is readily available, while public interest remains high,” said David Seide with the Government Accountability Project.
Seide represents current and former government workers who blew the whistle on the alleged abuse of women detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“People should come out now if nothing else to provide leads for investigators. They know where the bodies are buried. They know who participated in these events. They know where the emails are. They know what records exist and don’t exist,” he said. “The Trumpites know that too, but they don’t control the archives anymore.”
“There was this massive, massive issue during the Trump administration with compliance with public records laws. They put in political appointees to review public records requests,” said Jordan Libowitz, communications director with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
“They’d give it to you once you sued. But most people can’t sue,” he said.
But now things have changed since Biden officials are in the public record offices.
“Things that were blocked are suddenly no longer being blocked. All kinds of information is about to come out, and we’re not letting go of that,” Libowitz said.
The center-left group’s main focus was on the alleged “conspiracy” by the Trump administration to interfere with the special election in Georgia.
Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight, which has made “Trump accountability” one of its top priorities, said his group is starting to get FOIA requests back on Ukraine, the response to the pandemic and former Attorney General William Barr’s final months in office.