FIRST ON FOX: Government watchdog group Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit to obtain information and documents from Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry’s office that have been hidden from public view.
Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia last month, alleges that the State Department has blocked the group from obtaining basic information about the internal operations of Kerry’s office in violation of the Freedom of Information Act. The 1967 law requires the federal government to disclose information and documents upon request.
“The American people have a right to know what John Kerry is up to, what we’re paying to fly him around the world, and who we pay to actually work for him,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement shared with Fox News Digital.
According to court filings, Judicial Watch sent an information request to the State Department in late July. The group asked for copies of records related to Kerry’s travel costs, an entire catalog of Kerry’s calendar entries and copies of all organizational charts for Kerry’s office identifying the staffers who have been hired at the office.
While the State Department acknowledged that it had received the request, it failed to determine whether to comply with it, communicate any decision with Judicial Watch or produce the requested documents. Judicial Watch said it had “exhausted its administrative appeal remedies” after the agency didn’t meet its Sept. 13 deadline, forcing the legal action.
The group asked the court to order the State Department to conduct the records request and to share any documents produced by the search.
President Biden appointed Kerry to be the first-ever special presidential envoy for climate (SPEC), a cabinet-level position tasked with engaging in climate negotiations with foreign nations, shortly after taking office in January 2021. Kerry’s office is housed at the State Department and has an estimated $13.9 million annual budget with approval for 45 personnel.
But since Kerry’s appointment, which didn’t require Senate approval and grants him a seat on the National Security Council, his office has been tight-lipped about its staff and operations. A Fox News Digital review of online career portals in August identified several current SPEC employees, all of whom previously worked at left-wing think tanks and organizations.
“It’s not surprising — it’s essentially the same old gang,” Myron Ebell, the director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and Environment, told Fox News Digital at the time. “These are the people who have been working on and failing on these issues for decades.”
“This gang is the climate aristocracy, you might call them,” said Ebell.
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