Last fall, conservative watchdog group, Judicial Watch, filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice for their failure to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request for the records related to Fast and Furious that President Obama used executive privilege to keep from Congress.
According to Judicial Watch, the DOJ has filed a “motion to stay” the lawsuit for the sole reason that there is an identical lawsuit filed by the U.S. House of Representatives for the same documents. The DOJ stated the Judicial Watch lawsuit was “ancillary” to the House committee’s suit, and that the Judicial Watch lawsuit might interfere with negotiations in the House lawsuit.
Judicial Watch issued a press release on Thursday saying they filed a “brief” with the court opposing the DOJ’s motion to stay: “Judicial Watch counters that FOIA demands a response and that its lawsuit is more straightforward than the House lawsuit and ripe for consideration on its merits.”
A section of Judicial Watch’s brief reads as follows:
This notion that [Judicial Watch’s] lawsuit is in some way inferior [to the House lawsuit] is simply incorrect. [Judicial Watch] has as much of a right under the law as the House Committee to seek access to records of Defendant. In fact, since Defendant does not challenge [Judicial Watch’s] claim on jurisdictional grounds, it could be reasonably argued that [Judicial Watch’s] right is greater – it is certainly clearer and simpler – than that of the House Committee…Whereas [Judicial Watch’s] FOIA lawsuit is ripe for adjudication on the merits, the House Committee suit could be months, if not years, away from reaching the same stage.
If the court grants the stay, the Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit could be delayed indefinitely.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the following about the DOJ’s motion to stay:
It is beyond ironic that the Obama administration has initiated an anti-gun violence push as it seeking to keep secret key documents about its very own Fast and Furious gun walking scandal. Getting beyond the Obama administration’s smokescreen, this lawsuit is about a very simple principle: the public’s right to know the full truth about an egregious political scandal that led to the death of at least one American and countless others in Mexico. The American people are sick and tired of the Obama administration trying to rewrite FOIA law to protect this president and his appointees. Americans want answers about Fast and Furious killings and lies.
Read more from Judicial Watch.