A watchdog group is suing climate czar John Kerry over his refusal to share details about his office staff until late 2024 — a response that violates a public records directive just sent by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Garland stressed to Biden administration department heads that “openness should prevail” when it comes to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
AG FOIA GUIDELINES
That is not the case with Kerry, who has told the Herald and now Protect the Public’s Trust not to expect details of who exactly works in his Climate Office until the eve of the 2024 presidential elections.
U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, called the delay “absurd.”
“This is some rich stuff coming from the self-declared ‘most transparent administration ever,’ ” the senator told the Herald Thursday.
Garland wrote in his March 15 memo that agencies should not “withhold information based merely on speculative or abstract fears or fears of embarrassment.” Kerry’s office declined to speak on the record Thursday to explain why it won’t hand over details of the Climate Office to the Herald until Oct. 1, 2024.
“Agencies should continue their efforts to remove barriers to requesting and accessing government records and to reduce FOIA processing backlogs,” Garland said in his memo, adding that “timely disclosure of records is also essential to the core purpose of FOIA.”
Protect the Public’s Trust said it is suing on that statement — pointing out that Kerry’s office has informed the group to expect details of his staffing by Nov. 18, 2024. That’s nearly two weeks after the Nov. 5, 2024, general election.
“The American public is suffering from intense pain at the pump, rising inflation, and the specter of armed conflict in Europe. Yet the State Department is claiming the need to withhold records that could shed light on an office that is run by former presidential candidate and Secretary of State John Kerry until after the next Presidential election,” the watchdog group stated Thursday.
Sullivan, who has called for Kerry to be fired, added the nation’s first U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate must be hiding something.
“The fact that the State Department would claim it will take more than 3 years to fulfill a simple FOIA request is patently absurd. What are they hiding about John Kerry and his team? What’s his budget? How many staff does he have? Where is he traveling to — does he go to Iran? How much taxpayer money is this guy wasting?” Sullivan asked.
“Hard-working families are suffering right now as a result of the actions being taken by administration officials like our Special Climate Envoy, who spends his days jet-setting around the globe pushing an all-out assault on America’s energy sector and dramatically weakening America’s geostrategic advantages. The American people deserve answers,” Sullivan added.
The Herald has appealed to both the U.S. State Department Watchdog and now Garland’s office. So far, no response has been sent by either.
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