For the third time this year alone (it’s only May) the most open and transparent administration in history has been smacked down by a federal judge for its lack of transparency in the face of a(nother) Freedom of Information and/or Information Quality Act request.
In this particular case it’s apparent the Obama administration is trying to squash any investigation into the “science” surrounding its continuing attempts to sell global warming.
In 2014 the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) filed a complaint against yet another money-swallowing federal agency, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Using the Freedom of Information Act CEI sought discovery of documents and information related to OSTP’s global-warming hyping video, The Polar Vortex Explained in 2 Minutes. In the video OSTP Director John Holdren claims global warming is making winters colder – a statement refuted by most scientists.
Despite Holdren’s claim that a “growing body of evidence” supports the connection between extreme cold and global warming and Obama’s constant cries that “the science is settled,” the video has been widely criticized by scientists on both sides of the climate change debate who want to see the scientific evidence. With regards to such evidence requests the White House has been less than forthcoming.
OSTP has refused to release documents to back up Holdren’s claim and has essentially engaged in a series of shell games, stalls and runaround tactics to avoid providing CEI that which it requested. The government agency initially said it could not find any such documents, then changed its story several times in an attempt to avoid making them public as required by law finally claiming the comments were Holdren’s “personal opinion” and therefore exempt from the law.
CEI petitioned OSTP to correct its claim under the federal Information Quality Act. But the agency denied the petition. CEI then filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to the video’s production as well as to the agency’s refusal to correct its claim, but the agency refused to disclose most of those records too.
This week, as reported by the Washington Times, a federal judge has once again said, “Enough!”
Federal District of Columbia District Judge Amit Mehta –who was appointed by Obama— granted legal discovery to CEI and wrote a harshly worded ruling, stating, “At some point, the government’s inconsistent representations about the scope and completeness of its searches must give way to the truth-seeking function of the adversarial process, including the tools available through discovery. This case has crossed that threshold.”
The court found that OSTP’s response to CEI’s FOIA request contained inconsistent and unreliable representations about the sought records, raising questions about the agency’s “good faith.’’
On March 4 OSTP did release documents and admitted it had ‘found’ other copies of letters that CEI had requested. This prompted the court to question whether OSTP performed a proper search. In a subsequent Order to Show Cause the court sought an explanation of OSTP’s search process and indicated it was considering the possibility of imposing sanctions on OSTP.
CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman said, “As OSTP’s course of action here demonstrates, there’s a clear pattern when it comes to this Administration. In dealing with global warming issues, agencies tend to act illegally.”
That’s three times. Thrice this year a federal judge has found the Obama administration “lacking” in its efforts to abide by the Freedom of Information Act. The other two both involved the Obama State Department’s handling of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s e-mails.
Hans Bader, senior attorney at the CEI told The Washington Times there is no better proof that Obama is failing in his vow to run the most transparent government in American history than the fact that three judges have ordered discovery against his administration.
“Those with nothing to hide, hide nothing”… so sayeth Barack Obama in 2009.
[Note: This article was written by Derrick Wilburn]