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Public Interest Group Seeks Documents and Openness

By Judicial Watch
Washington, DC
Press Office 202-646-5172
July 17, 2001

Task Force Meetings Should Be Public

(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch, the public interest law firm that investigates and prosecutes public corruption, sued Vice President Dick Cheney over his Energy Task Force. The Energy Task Force is not in compliance with the Federal Advisory Commission Act (FACA) and the Freedom of Information Act (³FOIA²), which mandates that documents, Task Force members, meetings, and decision-making activities be open to the public. Judicial Watch filed its complaint in D.C. federal court on July 16, 20001. The case is before The Honorable Emmet G. Sullivan and is captioned Judicial Watch v. National Energy Policy Development Group. The White House has refused to make information available not only to Judicial Watch, but also the General Accounting Office.

The lawsuit alleges that the Energy Task Force ³must file a charter, must allow input from interested persons, must comply with the FOIA and the Government in the Sunshine Act, must publish notice of its meetings in the Federal Register, and must have a board that is fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented...² Judicial Watch is also demanding its right to attend future Task Force meetings. "Judicial Watch is concerned that energy policy is being made in secret by individuals and interests with a financial and political stake in particular policies. If the Vice President wants to involve the oil industry or environmentalists in his Energy Task Force¹s deliberations, so be it, but the law requires that the American people be kept informed about these deliberations," stated Judicial Watch Chairman and General Counsel Larry Klayman.

"This is the Hillary Health Care Task Force, Part II ­ which was also in violation of FACA. Being conservative, Judicial Watch generally believes in a less regulatory environmental policy. Yet this doesn¹t mean that such policies be developed in a way which violates the law. We hope Vice President Cheney will come to understand this," added Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

A copy of the complaint is available by clicking at the link

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