Eight Hundred Days Later, Fix the Court Receives Update from Bush Library on Status of Kavanaugh FOIA
On May 8, 2017, Fix the Court submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the George W. Bush Library for “all correspondence, records and files of Brett M. Kavanaugh” during his time in the White House from 2001 to 2006. That included his stint in the White House counsel’s office (2001-2003) and as staff secretary (2003-2006).
Since then, the Bush Library has been releasing Kavanaugh documents on its website. The vast majority of them are quite useless “location markers,” which acknowledge the existence of a file but withhold the contents in full under the strictures of the Presidential Records Act.
Today, 800 days after our initial FOIA request and 53 weeks after Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, we received a letter from the Bush Library noting that after “approximately 900,000 pages” of Kavanaugh’s counsel’s office record has been reviewed and released, “roughly three million pages of records, both textual and email, from Justice Kavanaugh’s service as Staff Secretary that are responsive to your request” remain.
During the Kavanaugh nomination, an arbitrary decision was made to release a certain percentage of the nominee’s counsel’s office files located at the Bush Library while withholding 100 percent of his staff secretary files located there.
What’s ironic is that Fix the Court obtained some of his staff secretary files via a second FOIA to the Justice Department, on which we had to sue to get records.
FTC’s Gabe Roth said:
If the staff secretary period was some magical time, incapable of being touched by public records requests, then those documents should have been withheld even when a request for them was directed to DOJ. Since they were not, the logic of blanket withholding falls apart.
We will let the public know as soon as any records become available.