AKRON, Ohio, April 22 /PRNewswire/ -- While President Obama campaigned for the White House on a platform promising "transparency," a conservative organization located in Ohio is disputing whether the promise is being kept.
Government agencies work for and are accountable to United States citizens, and the Freedom of Information Act was passed in 1966 to allow the people access to federal government records so that they can be politically aware and active citizens who participate in the policy decisions that affect all Americans. This transparency is crucial to American democratic political discourse, and although President Obama instructed all federal agencies to implement transparency policies on his first day in office, some folks say they have seen little evidence of this.
Although "Freedom of Information" laws exist on the books, the U.S. Citizens Association, a non-profit civic league based in Akron, is resorting to the courts to get them enforced. The Association's lawyer, Massachusetts-based constitutional litigator David C. Grossack, has been sending demand letters to both the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Office of Management and Budget, seeking to research a number of topics of concern to many Americans. These letters, which start the FOIA request process, require federal agencies to respond within 20 days.
Grossack asked the White House Office of Management and Budget, which is responsible for deciding how Americans' tax dollars are spent, for correspondence between the Congress and the White House OMB concerning the costs and other details of healthcare reform. The USCA wants to learn more about this legislation, which they are concerned could negatively affect many Americans and violate constitutional rights.
Grossack asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for details about the building of detention centers for dissidents reportedly now being built to contain American citizens who disagree with government policies, so that the USCA can defend fellow citizens against any attempts by the government to suppress dissent.
The OMB is resisting USCA's quest to achieve greater government transparency by demanding that Grossack's client pay for the costs of searching and copying the documents, something the USCA should be exempt from based on its non-profit status.
FEMA simply refused to respond to Grossack at all, despite the 20 day requirement.
With the help of local counsel in Washington, D.C., Grossack filed two lawsuits, and is serving them on the agencies and Justice Department lawyers on behalf of USCA in their struggle for access to this vital information that affects all Americans.
The U.S. Citizens Association is, according to its mission statement, devoted to educating the public about conservative, pro-capitalist ideas. It is committed to opposing abuses of and violations of constitutional rights. Its website is www.uscitizensassociation.com.
David Grossack, who practices law in the Boston suburb of Newton, is nationally known for a lawsuit he brought against the state court system alleging discrimination against men in domestic cases. The Boston Herald has described him as one of the state's 10 best lawyers. His law office's website is www.grossack.com.
SOURCE U.S. Citizens Association