09.21.18

Leahy And Other Senators Expand Lawsuit For Hidden Kavanaugh Documents, To Include The Department of Justice

. . . U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to hold status conference later today to consider request for Kavanaugh documents

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), joined by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senators Cory A. Booker (D-NJ), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Kamala Harris (D-CA), expanded their lawsuit to compel the release of records involving Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh to include documents held by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Earlier this week, the senators asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to order the National Archives and the CIA to comply with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests submitted on August 8, 2018.  On Friday, they added DOJ to their lawsuit. More than a month after the FOIA requests were originally submitted, none of the agencies have provided any records.  The lawsuit is accompanied by a motion seeking a preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order to require the agencies to respond immediately. The court will hold a status conference later today to consider the request.  The senators are represented in this effort by American Oversight, a nonpartisan ethics and accountability watchdog.

This lawsuit follows months of repeated efforts by Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats to obtain and review Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s full record.  In August, in the face of repeated obstruction by Senate Republicans, Blumenthal led all the Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in submitting FOIA requests to the National Archives, DOJ, the Department of Homeland Security, and the CIA.

In response to the FOIA request, the DOJ Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA) offered to provide an unspecified set of documents on an unspecified timeline – but only if the FOIA request that prompted the agency’s apparent cooperation was rescinded, and its deadline removed.  Given the fact that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein requested up to three federal prosecutors from each U.S. Attorney’s office to assist with production and review of documents relating to Judge Kavanaugh, resources to accelerate this process should have already been in place.  Despite this offer, DOJ has not produced a single document.

The senators’ FOIA requests were filed only after Republicans established a precedent-breaking, parallel document production process to circumvent established procedures for congressional review of a nominee’s record and, in turn, keep secret a large majority of Judge Kavanaugh’s long career paper trail.

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