Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Court Says White House Agency Exempt From Law

A D.C. judge has ruled that the White House can keep hiding their emails, declaring the group tracking and holding the documents are a "non-agency." Just ignore the previous 30 years of law.

In suit filed by CREW (Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility) against the Office of Administration, the court says millions of "lost emails" don't actually need to follow the laws of the Freedom of Information Act. CREW was quick to respond:

"After initially agreeing to provide records, OA changed course and claimed it was not an agency and, therefore, had no obligation to comply with the FOIA. OA made this claim despite the fact that even the White House’s own website described OA as an agency and included regulations for processing FOIA requests.

While acknowledging the question is a close one, Judge Kollar-Kotelly has found that OA is not an agency on the grounds that it does not exercise substantial independent authority.

OA has admitted that it functioned as an agency and processed FOIA requests until August 2007. Although CREW filed its FOIA request in April 2007 – four months before OA changed its position – the court found that OA had no duty to respond to CREW’s FOIA request because OA was never an agency in the first place.

CREW’s executive director Melanie Sloan said today, “CREW has appealed the decision. The Bush administration is using the legal system to prevent the American people from discovering the truth about the millions of missing White House e-mails. The fact is, until CREW asked for documents pertaining to this problem, the Office of Administration routinely processed FOIA requests. Only because the administration has so much to hide here, has the White House taken the unprecedented position that OA is not subject to the FOIA.”

Writers at Reason Magazine offer this:

"For 30 years, the Office of Administration has been subject to FOIA. But once they discovered that the Office of Administration may have paperwork showing how or why the Bush administration was able to dispose of millions of possibly incriminating emails, the White House conveniently decided the office was no longer subject to FOIA."

The usual laws mean nothing under current White House leadership. Just keep moving the records around until enough delays take place to muddy any investigation.

The Decider is, after all, The Decider.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:01 AM

    Where are all the terrorists (infiltrating our country) when we need them?