CEI Files Suit to Force Administration to Comply with FOIA

Washington, D.C., September 10, 2012 – The Competitive Enterprise Institute has filed a lawsuit to compel the Treasury Department to stop stonewalling and produce internal documents related to plans for a possible effort to enact a carbon tax in Congress’s lame-duck session following the November elections.

In early August, a carbon tax bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA). Days later, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) expressed hope that the Senate would soon take up legislation to put a price on carbon-based energy sources. These are the sources of which America has been blessed with abundance, and which work when and where Americans need them: oil, coal and gas.

These moves were joined with press reports and leaked documents indicating that the American Enterprise Institute is teaming up with liberals to rebrand this latest iteration of the failed “BTU tax” as a conservative idea, specifically for the lame-duck session.

CEI also notes that this month the left-wing public relations firm which has long led the charge for “global warming” policies, Fenton Communications, escorted proponents of a carbon tax around Washington to gatherings of conservatives, making the case that this original objective of the cap-and-trade crowd should be sold to Congress and the public as a conservative idea.

In response to the increasing activity on this front, on August 8 CEI filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Treasury Department Office of the Deputy Secretary for Environment and Energy and also the Office of Legislative Affairs, seeking deliberations pertaining to a carbon tax.

CEI Senior Fellow Christopher Horner, author of The Liberal War on Transparency and who filed the request, said, “Despite President Barack Obama’s repeated promises for openness and transparency in government, the Treasury Department failed to even acknowledge CEI’s FOIA request as required by law.” Horner continued, “This is an unusual step given the tools available to delay producing records typically invoked only for the most inconvenient requests for records.”

Faced with this signal that the administration has no intention of cooperating prior to the lame-duck session when the debate is expected to occur, CEI filed suit in the federal district court for the District of Columbia, in order to force the self-proclaimed “most transparent ever” administration to comply with its legal obligations.

To read the complaint, click here.