Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

For Immediate Release

Press Release

Legal Advocacy Organization Appeals Pentagon’s Denial of FOIA Request about Trump Military Parade

In a February 2018 request, Free Speech For People described the planned military parade as an “abuse of executive power” and a corrupt use of resources for electoral purposes.
WASHINGTON -

Free Speech For People, a nonpartisan legal advocacy organization, today filed an administrative appeal against a decision from the Department of Defense, which denied the release of records relating to former President Trump’s planned military parade.

In February 2018, Free Speech For People sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Defense seeking documents related to Trump’s planned military parade through the streets of Washington, D.C. The planned parade, they argue, would have constituted an abuse of executive power, and a corrupt attempt to use the resources of the United States military to stage a rally for Trump’s re-election campaign. Trump ultimately abandoned the parade amidst overwhelming public disapproval.

The Pentagon’s response on September 16, 2021, stated that it had located 2,026 records relevant to the request. However, it refused to release any records, citing national security, “deliberative process,” and privacy exemptions with no further explanation. The Freedom of Information Act requires agencies to “segregate and release nonexempt information,” and the exemptions cited by the Pentagon are limited in scope. Thus, the Pentagon is legally required to separate and release what may be a substantial portion of those records.

“The Pentagon’s response was grossly inadequate,” says Free Speech For People Legal Director Ron Fein. “Even if there are legitimate national security or privacy interests at stake with some of the information in the records, the government must redact that information and release redacted versions.”

“The planned military parade was an unparalleled attempt by Trump to abuse his powers as Commander in Chief for political gain. It foreshadowed the authoritarian tendencies on full display last summer when Trump used the military and federal officers to crack down on peaceful protests,” added Free Speech For People President John Bonifaz. “The public has a right to know what happened when Trump asked the military to stage a political rally for him.”

The administrative appeal was sent to Joo Chung, Director of Oversight and Compliance in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and was submitted by Ron Fein, Legal Director, and Ben Horton, Legal Fellow, at Free Speech For People.

The Department of Defense is expected to reply to the appeal within twenty days. If it does not respond to the request, Free Speech For People may pursue litigation consistent with the FOIA.

Read the FOIA appeal here

###

Free Speech For People is a national non-partisan non-profit organization founded on the day of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. FEC that works to defend our democracy and our Constitution.

'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·


Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·


'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·


'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo