WASHINGTON — Today the Institute for Energy Research filed suit against the U.S. Department of State in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. This Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit seeks specific records relating to green-group lobbyist Jennifer Morgan’s advancement of initiatives backed by foreign governments while she worked for the World Resources Institute (WRI), and the resulting collaboration with State Department officials on those initiatives.
Public records indicate the Obama State Department leapt to assist WRI’s effort to aid the Chinese government, even after being told precisely what the group had been asked to do and for whom. The requested records would shed further light on what that help constituted, and what role Ms. Morgan and WRI played on behalf of China’s government relevant to U.S. policy.
This suit comes on the heels of widespread media reports of congressional oversight initiated to examine the apparently common practice of U.S. environmental pressure groups to engage on behalf of other countries in influencing U.S. climate policy.
“It is of utmost importance to investigate and reveal how foreign entities are advancing their interests through malicious collaboration with environmental groups. The circumstances surrounding this specific correspondence are of great concern to the public and State is obligated to fulfill its duties by turning these documents over,” said Thomas Pyle, President of IER.
Records previously obtained by Chris Horner, who filed the suit on IER’s behalf for the public interest law firm Government Accountability & Oversight (GAO), show that Morgan boasted to State officials that China’s National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation (NCSC) had “approached” WRI to coordinate think tanks and other advocates — including those identified by China — “stem[ming] from the recognition that this Administration is coming to an end soonish and their desire to open up channels in DC that are additional to the ones that are working well now.”
Public records reveal that the parties involved, including the State Department, gave great attention and use of public resources to assisting Morgan/WRI in their effort to help China continue its impact on U.S. climate policy.
Also relevant, other records reveal that State officials engaged in a discussion thread, “Subject: Jennifer Morgan”, which it is implausibly withholding in its entirety as b5, “deliberative process”. This is plainly designed to delay and obstruct public awareness of State’s activities in working around the U.S. Constitution’s Article II, Section 2 for “advice and consent” of all treaties.
Horner added, “None of these records being withheld unlawfully from the public are privileged. We look forward to confirming that the current Administration does not intend to continue the Obama administration’s brazen practice of keeping records secret on the non-existent ‘political embarrassment’ exemption to FOIA.”
Horner continued, “As has been said, democracy dies in darkness. We ask the Trump Administration to shed some light on these schemes.”
To read the original FOIA request, click here.
For media inquiries, please contact Erin Amsberry