Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

For Immediate Release

Press Release

Rootstrikers Submits FOIA Request for Emails Between Top Trade Negotiator and Wall Street

Request comes on the heels of USTR's unwillingness to voluntarily disclose correspondence

Today, Rootstrikers submitted a request to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for all correspondence between USTR Michael Froman and the 10 largest U.S. financial institutions.

On May 28, Rootstrikers and nine other organizations called on Ambassador Froman to voluntarily disclose this correspondence. The FOIA request comes on the heels of his refusal to do so and increased scrutiny of trade deals such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Trans-Pacific Partnership following the passage of Trade Promotion Authority by the U.S. Congress.

"Publicly, the Administration has denied that upcoming trade agreements like TTIP pose a potential threat to strong financial regulation, but when they were asked for documents showing what Ambassador Froman has been saying privately to the big banks, the Administration has stonewalled," said Kurt Walters of Rootstrikers. "It’s concerning that Ambassador Froman chose not to build credibility and trust by voluntarily disclosing these communications, but he now has an obligation to do so under FOIA."

Froman, himself a former executive of Citigroup, received a golden parachute worth more than $4 million upon leaving the large financial institution to go into government. In 2008, he served as a senior official on President Obama's transition team while still on the Citigroup payroll. In that position, he successfully pushed to install Tim Geithner – the Chairman of the New York Federal Reserve and architect of the bailout – as Treasury Secretary at the same time that Citigroup received record-shattering cash infusions as part of the bailout to prevent it from collapsing.

"Under the FOIA statute, USTR has 20 business days to comply with this request,” said Walters. “If it turns out that Ambassador Froman's correspondence with the big banks is too voluminous for USTR to comply promptly – a fact that would confirm our concerns about Wall Street's influence on the trade negotiation process – we will be willing to narrow our request. Otherwise, we expect prompt compliance as the statute requires."


Rootstrikers is a project of Demand Progress dedicated to reclaiming our government so it works for everyone and not just the wealthy and the well-connected.

'Dark Money Is Dark Money': Sanders Calls on DNC to Ban Super PAC Cash in Primaries

"A super PAC is a super PAC, whether it is funded by Republican billionaires or Democratic billionaires," said Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Jake Johnson ·

Study Finds Many Existing Oil and Gas Sites Must Be Shut Down to Avert Climate Disaster

"Our findings show that halting new extraction projects is a necessary step, but still not enough to stay within our rapidly dwindling carbon budget," said one researcher.

Jake Johnson ·

'Cancel It, Don't Means Test It!' Omar Says of Student Debt

Progressive lawmakers and other critics continue to warn the Biden administration against the "logistical nightmare" of limiting debt cancellation by income.

Jessica Corbett ·

Trump DOJ Casting Long Shadow Over Biden Admin: Analysis

The Biden administration "should adopt Trump's positions about as often as a stopped clock is accurate," the Revolving Door Project argues.

Brett Wilkins ·

'Fueling the Flames': Model Shows Growing Risk of Wildfires in US

"It's time to end fossil fuels and better manage our forests."

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo