As I have continued to update our readers on the request to obtain the video footage from the US Capitol on the day of the riots, I was largely frustrated by the fact that the United States Capitol Police, along with the Speaker’s office, had either outright denied my request, or had failed to respond to the request to have the footage released. Aside from my concerns regarding obtaining the footage, an added frustration was my inability to pursue any legal recourse in the inevitable result that they refuse to release it.
After my initial attempt was denied by the USCP, I reached out to Judicial Watch to ask them if there was any legal merit to the denial I received. Judicial Watch responded in the affirmative, that is, that the USCP fell under the jurisdiction of Congress and that they were, indeed, immune from FOIA requests.
Well, something I said must have crossed a couple of wires over there, because yesterday, Judicial Watch announced they were requesting all emails and security footage from the United States Capitol Police regarding the security for January 6th.
From the Judicial Watch release:
Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Capitol Police seeking for emails and videos concerning the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 (Judicial Watch v. United States Capitol Police (No. 1:21-cv-00401)).
Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit under the common law right of access to public records after the Capitol Police refused to provide any records in response to a January 21, 2021 request for:
- Email communications between the U.S. Capitol Police Executive Team and the Capitol Police Board concerning the security of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The timeframe of this request is from January 1, 2021 through January 10, 2021.
- Email communications of the Capitol Police Board with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security concerning the security of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The timeframe of this request is from January 1, 2021through January 10, 2021.
- All video footage from within the Capitol between 12 pm and 9 pm on January 6, 2021
Congress exempts itself from the Freedom of Information Act, and the Capitol Police declined to produce any records about the riot to Judicial Watch, writing in a February 11, 2021, letter that the requested emails and videos are not “public records.”
“The public has a right to know about how Congress handled security and what all the videos show of the US Capitol riot,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “What are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer trying to hide from the American people?”
Not that I am taking credit for Judicial Watch’s actions. However, it should be noted that RedState had contacted the USCP a full week before Judicial Watch’s letter requesting those same records. My first piece on the matter published February 4th, and the response from USCP was published February 9th. Judicial Watch’s first letter to the USCP was dated February 11th. I emailed Judicial Watch on February 5th, and received a response from them on February 6th, stating the following:
Regrettably, the Legislative Branch and Judiciary Branch are Not Subject to the Federal Freedom of Information Act…
The Only Exception with the Judiciary is with respect to their Annual Financial Conflict of Interest Forms which they “Voluntarily” Disclose per their own Regulations.
So, Only the Executive Branch is Subject to FOIA…
While I am confused as to why they now feel they have the legal path to seek the records when they initially told me they couldn’t be obtained, I certainly am glad that they have taken the action to obtain them and hope they will make those records available to RedState once they are obtained.
Stay tuned, folks. This is far from over.