For Immediate Release
After Pentagon Stonewalls Legal Advocacy Group Seeking Public Information on Trump’s Proposed Military Parade, Group Files New FOIA Requests to the District of Columbia
WASHINGTON - Today, Free Speech For People, a national non-partisan legal advocacy group, submitted six requests to agencies of the District of Columbia government, under D.C.’s municipal Freedom of Information Act, requesting release of documents and communications regarding President Trump’s proposed military parade through Washington, D.C. These requests seek information regarding topics such as costs, estimated budgets, parade routes, vehicles, hardware, weapons, aircraft, units, equipment, materiel, personnel, and agency concerns about the proposed parade. The requests were sent to D.C.’s Department of Transportation, Department of Public Works, Executive Office of the Mayor, Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, Metropolitan Police Department, and Office of the General Counsel.
These requests complement a federal Freedom of Information Act request that Free Speech For People sent earlier in February to the U.S. Department of Defense. But despite the narrow nature of our request—limited to documents on a single topic, created or received within a 19-day period—the Pentagon not only denied the request for expedited processing, but categorized the request as presenting “unusual circumstances” and placed it at the end of a queue of 2,235 “complex” requests. Given the Pentagon’s median processing time of 99 days per “complex” request (which is over three times as long as the required time to respond under the Freedom of Information Act), without further action, the Pentagon’s response might come towards the end of 2023.
As reported in the Washington Post on February 6, President Trump gave a directive to the military to prepare a grand military parade and planning has now moved to a more concrete preparation stage. Planning reportedly includes consideration of potential parade routes (with the president’s preferred option reportedly passing directly past the Trump International Hotel), particular hardware (including Abrams tanks), costs, and dates. While the article mentions a range of dates, the parade could be as soon as May 28, 2018.
Because of the Pentagon’s stonewalling, Free Speech For People has gone around the Department of Defense and asked for information in the possession of the District of Columbia government. We will share the information provided by the District as soon as we receive it.
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Free Speech for People is a non-profit, non-partisan legal advocacy organization that works to renew our democracy and our United States Constitution for we the people, not big money and corporate interests. For more information, visit: www.freespeechforpeople.org.