FPI / February 3, 2022
The Congress of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, via its police department, argues that videos and emails from Jan. 6, 2021 are not public records, there is no public interest in their release, and that “sovereign immunity” prevents citizens from suing for their release, a government watchdog group which sued for the Jan. 6 material said.
Judicial Watch has filed an opposition to the U.S. Capitol Police’s effort to shut down Judicial Watch’s federal lawsuit for Jan. 6 videos and emails.
“The Pelosi Congress (and its police department) is telling a federal court it is immune from all transparency under law and is trying to hide every second of its January 6 videos and countless emails,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
“The hypocrisy is rich, as this is the same Congress which is trying to jail witnesses who, citing privileges, object to providing documents to the Pelosi January 6 committee,” Fitton added.
Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit under the common law right of access after the Capitol Police refused to provide any records in response to a Jan. 21, 2021 request. Judicial Watch asks for:
• Email communications between the U.S. Capitol Police Executive Team and the Capitol Police Board concerning the security of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The timeframe of this request is from January 1, 2021 through January 10, 2021.
• Email communications of the Capitol Police Board with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security concerning the security of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The timeframe of this request is from January 1, 2021 through January 10, 2021.
• All video footage from within the Capitol between 12 p.m. and 9 p.m. on January 6, 2021
Because Congress exempts itself from the Freedom of Information Act, Judicial Watch brought its lawsuit under the common law right of access to public records.
In opposing the broad assertion of secrecy, Judicial Watch details Supreme Court and other precedent that upholds the public’s right to know what their government is up to:
“In ‘the courts of this country’ — including the federal courts—the common law bestows upon the public a right of access to public records and documents” … “the Supreme Court was unequivocal in stating that there is a federal common law right of access ‘to inspect and copy public records and documents.’ ” … “[T]he general rule is that all three branches of government, legislative, executive, and judicial, are subject to the common law right.” The right of access is “a precious common law right . . . that predates the Constitution itself.”
Free Press International