WASHINGTON -- May 6 -- Today is the legal deadline for the White House to comply with our April 8 request made under the Freedom Of Information Act. The White House by law has 20 business days to respond, and those 20 days will expire at the close of business today.
In our legal request to the White House, we said two things:
1)That the White House must not destroy any documents or information pertaining to the removal of my clients from President Bush's March 21 event.
2)That under the Freedom of Information Act, we request that all disclosable documents or information pertaining to the removal of my clients be turned over to us.
Here's why this request is relevant.
Ultimately, we want to know WHO RECRUITED staffers for this presidential event, WHO TRAINED event staff to screen and remove citizens based on viewpoint, and WHO DIRECTED event staff to actually eject my clients.
It is indeed very mysterious that the Mystery Man in question originally confronted my clients, let them into the event, and then came running back 20 minutes later to kick them out.
Something happened in those Mystery 20 Minutes.
Someone told that mystery event staffer what to do. Someone was giving him directions either directly or through his earpiece.
Who was giving these directions will be a vital detail in any future lawsuit concerning the violation of my client's constitutional First Amendment rights at this event.
So pursuant to our legal request for information, we want an assurance from the White House that they did not destroy evidence. In addition, we want all disclosable information turned over to us.
Now, we intentionally requested all DISCLOSABLE information because obviously there will be some information such as non-uniformed Secret Service staffers who were in the audience that day who witnessed the events that it may be inappropriate to make public.
But, the White House must not be allowed to pull the wool over our eyes and hide behind the Secret Service's ongoing criminal investigation into this matter to avoid giving any details about who RECRUITED, TRAINED, AND DIRECTED event staff to remove my clients.
The people we sent this Freedom of Information Act request to knew the answers to most of our questions about who recruited, trained, and directed event staffers before the start of any investigation. We want that information.
If the Secret Service has learned something additional through its investigation in the last week or so, fine; let them withhold that until the investigation is through. But the White House must not be allowed to hide the truth and be evasive by falsely claiming that now everything is confidential. Were the government able to hide already known information simply by "starting a new investigation" then the Freedom Of Information Act would be useless and the public would never be able to find out what its public servants know.
Furthermore, we will not be fooled by excuses because Scott McClellan, the White House Press Secretary, ALREADY GAVE DETAILS about who kicked out my clients and why.
The problem is, the details given by Scott McClellan were a lie. We want the truth.
On Wednesday, April 27, a White House reporter asked McClellan the following question, "Back on March 21st, the President was in Denver doing an event. At that event three Denver residents were removed by somebody working on behalf of the President who is now being investigated for impersonating a Secret Service officer. I understand the White House knows who this person is. Will you tell us who this is? And will you, more importantly, explain what role the White House has in recruiting and training volunteers at these events? Is the White House encouraging people to screen or expel people from the President's events based on their point of view?"
Mr. McClellan proceeded to mislead reporters. He repeated four times that a "volunteer" removed my clients. He gave the impression to reporters and the public that the person who forcibly removed my clients was acting without authority or direction from the White House.
But the very next day, McClellan was directly disputed by two very credible sources in this context the Secret Service and the Colorado Republican Party. When asked about the Mystery Man, the Secret Service confirmed it was, "A Member of the Republican staff host committee." When asked who the host committee was, a spokesperson for the Colorado Republican Party, said, "The White House is the host committee."
If an official White House event staffer acted under orders to violate my clients' constitutional rights, that has enormous legal implications. If it was part of a larger White House policy, that would also have legal ramifications for citizens excluded from similar presidential events in Arizona, North Dakota, and New Hampshire.
As our Freedom Of Information Act request comes due today, we are demanding that the White House stop the stonewalling. We want assurance that no evidence has been destroyed, and we want all legally-required information turned over immediately.
KING & G REISEN, LLP
ATTORNEYS AT LAW
Diane S. King
David H. Miller, Of Counsel
1670 YORK STREET
Margaret B. Funk, Of Counsel
DENVER, COLORADO 80206
Alison Butler Daniels
Jennifer S. Cohen
Julie Tolleson, Of Counsel
April 8, 2005
Dear Mr. President, Representative Beauprez, Director Gardner, Chairman Martinez, sirs and madame:
This law office, along with the Denver law office of Recht & Kornfeld, P.C., represents Mr. Alex Young, Ms. Karen Bauer, and Ms. Leslie Weisethree individuals who were physically ejected from the March 21, 2005, Denver "Town Hall" meeting concerning Social Security conducted by the White House and the President of the United States at the Wings Over The Rockies Air And Space Museum. On behalf of our clients I am asking that all information, documents, and recordings of any and every kind having anything to do with the identification, surveillance and/or ejection of our above-named clients from that event be retained and disclosed to us. I would ask that you immediately pass this preservation-of-evidence and request for disclosure letter along to the proper person(s) in your office and/or organization, if you are not the person who has control and/or full knowledge about such materials.
Further, it has been reported in the public press, and specifically acknowledged by Director Garner, that some or all of you and/or your agents or employees have knowledge about the person or persons who were involved in actual the identification, surveillance and/or ejection of our clients from the above-mentioned event. This letter is also addressed to such person or persons, and you are requested to immediately forward this letter to them.
Finally, if not already clear, please treat this letter as a request under the Freedom Of Information Act and/or the Colorado Open Records Actas applicablerequesting any and all disclosable documents and/or information of any and every kind relating to the identification, surveillance and/or ejection of our above-identified clients from the event.
Your prompt attention to this matter within the timelines set out by the referenced laws is appreciated. Thank you.
David H. Miller
KING & GREISEN, LLP
1670 York Street
Denver, Colorado 80206