(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for records concerning a new task force set up to address threats to election officials (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:22-cv-00735)).
Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit after the Justice Department failed to respond to an August 30, 2021, FOIA request for the following:
All records related to the Department of Justice’s August 2021 virtual meeting pertaining to threats to election officials (https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/readout-justice-departmentleadership-meeting-threats-election-workers). This request includes, but is not limited to, the following:
All records created in preparation for, during, and/or pursuant to the virtual meeting.
All records depicting the invitees to, and participants in, the meeting.
All audio recording, transcripts, and summaries of the meeting.
On August 26, 2021, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland convened a “virtual discussion” with a bipartisan group of over 1,400 election officials to discuss “mounting and persistent threats to the safety of election officials and workers across the country” and to introduce DOJ’s recently launched Election Threats Task Force. According to the readout of the virtual meeting, “the Task Force is composed of the Department’s Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, the Civil Rights Division’s Voting and Criminal Sections, and the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section, as well as the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.”
During the meeting, Associate Attorney General Gupta revealed that the Civil Rights Division is participating in the Task Force and has established “a helpline funded by the Office of Victims of Crime that connects victims of crimes and threats to trained professionals who can provide emotional support, information and referrals in over 200 languages.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray explained how “the FBI’s Election Crimes Coordinators — FBI Special Agents across all 56 FBI Field Offices — work with state and local election officials on election crime matters.” Wray also emphasized “the importance of reporting all election-related threats and troubling communications to the FBI, even if it is unclear whether there is a violation of federal law, so that law enforcement can investigate, identify trends and share information with partners across the country.” [Emphasis in original]
“The Biden Justice Department appears to have been manufacturing another fake crisis of ‘threats’ against government officials in order to justify targeting American citizens for exercising their First Amendment rights to demand election officials combat voter fraud and conduct free and fair elections,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “What is the Garland DOJ hiding?”