The conservative think tank Heritage Foundation has filed a lawsuit against the Biden Administration’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) over a controversial college program which directly connected mainstream conservative groups and publications to neo-Nazi elements.
As reported by the New York Post, the lawsuit was filed in a Washington, D.C. federal court on Tuesday by Heritage’s Oversight Project. The suit accuses DHS of withholding information by refusing to comply with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request regarding a grant of $352,109 that the University of Dayton received for its studies on “domestic violence extremism and hate movements.”
“DHS repeatedly failed to respond to Plaintiffs’ FOIA Request seeking information about how DHS views Heritage,” Heritage lawyers stated in the filing. “Plaintiffs are thus left with no remedy but this lawsuit to determine if DHS in facts [sic] believes Heritage, Fox News, and others to be worthy of being lumped in the same group as Nazis.”
After Heritage’s initial FOIA request on May 25th, the lawsuit states, DHS failed to provide any records in response and withheld records that were not exempt from the FOIA requirements, while also ignoring the 30-day response window.
Heritage was among the conservative entities listed in the study, which depicted a pyramid-like structure ranking certain conservative groups and outlets based on their levels of “extremism,” with the higher tiers lumping in mainstream conservative names with far-right elements. The chart listed Heritage, Fox News, Prager University, Turning Point USA, Breitbart News, and others in the same orbit as actual neo-Nazi entities such as the Daily Stormer.
“DHS does not profile, target, or discriminate against any individual for exercising their constitutional rights protected by the First Amendment,” DHS said in a statement responding to the lawsuit. “The Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevent Grant Program has been administered across several administrations and it provides funding for communities to expand their prevention and intervention activities or address gaps in current prevention capabilities.”
The chart, first presented at the University of Cincinnati by researcher Michael Loadenthal in November of 2021 before being cited by University of Dayton researchers in their grant proposal to the DHS in September of 2022, is just one of many examples of the Biden Administration’s efforts to create a narrative that right-wing “extremism” is on the rise in the United States, and allegedly presents an even greater threat than Islamic terrorism.
Since taking power, Biden’s DHS has handed out over 80 grants dealing with “domestic extremism” research, which altogether has cost at least $40 million worth of taxpayer money.