WASHINGTON — Today, the Institute for Energy Research (IER) filed an open records lawsuit against the Department of the Treasury concerning evidence of Russian attempts to influence U.S. energy policy. This Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks certain, specific records of Treasury officials as they relate to two congressional oversight reports detailing the apparent Russian campaign to oppose fracking and otherwise promote a “climate agenda” in the U.S. The FOIA request also seeks records related to oversight attempts by one congressional committee that apparently has fallen on deaf ears at Treasury.
On Monday, the U.S. Senate Select Intelligence Committee released two reports revealing Russian efforts to influence U.S. policy, including energy policy by promoting environmentalist themes. The Washington Examiner recently reported on the effort of House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith to obtain responses from Treasury on these matters, to which Treasury has had no response. In order to obtain more information and educate the public on this matter, IER requested correspondence relating to Russia, hydraulic fracturing and environmental advocacy that were to or from named, high-ranking career Treasury employees.
Treasury, which owed IER responsive records, among other responses, by November 23, 2018, has only said that someone will get back to IER, at some point in the future, because of “unusual circumstances”.
IER President Thomas Pyle said:
“The Russia meddling that no one is talking about involves Russian attempts to promote an environmental agenda in the U.S. by masking its interests and using U.S. green groups to do its bidding. It is imperative that we learn the extent of their ideological campaign and what the federal government may know. Treasury has a public obligation to inform the public on this matter and we file this lawsuit in the hopes that the information will come out as soon as possible.”
Attorney Chris Horner, who filed the suit for IER on behalf of the non-profit public interest law firm Government Accountability & Oversight (GAO) said,
“Increasing public revelations confirm that these issues are too important to be buried in bureaucratic runaround and delays. Both GAO and IER look forward to resolving the Treasury Department’s public obligations sooner rather than later, but intend to fully pursue IER’s rights, and these public records, to fully understand what our government officials knew and did regarding this ideological campaign.”
Today’s suit follows litigation filed by the GAO against the Treasury Department on IER’s behalf this summer pertaining to career government officials attempts to quietly advance the “climate industry”. IER has also filed complaints against the State Department regarding records on a related issue of Russian funding of green groups and a separate suit relating to green-group lobbyist Jennifer Morgan’s advancement of initiatives backed by China.
To read IER’s FOIA request to Treasury, click here.
To read IER’s public lawsuit filled today, click here.
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