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Tipsheet

Jim Jordan Puts Biden Admin on Notice for Refusing to Comply With Doc Requests

AP Photo/John Raoux

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who now serves as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has wasted no time making clear he intends to hold the Biden administration accountable. Last Friday he launched an investigation into President Joe Biden's handling of classified documents and now on Tuesday he's sent out seven letters to various members of the administration regarding their previous habits of ignoring requests for communications and documents. These letters renew those requests.

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One of the letters sent out on Tuesday was to White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, who was contacted on November 18, 2022 for follow-up with regards to a letter from by October 17, 2022 and from June 14, 2022. The letters came from Jordan when he was then the ranking member, as well as other Republican members. The November 18 letter detailed how the members "have made several requests for information and documents concerning the Biden Administration’s misuse of federal criminal and counterterrorism resources to target concerned parents at school board meetings," with the subsequent letter repeating the request for such information.

Klain's letter is particularly significant in that it references noteworthy behavior from the White House late last year. On December 29, 2022, Richard Sauber, Special Counsel to the president, submitted a letter to Jordan declining to comply with requests. Even more telling is that the letter was leaked to POLITICO beforehand. 

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As Jordan's letter to Klain reads in reference, with original emphasis:

To date, you have not complied with our long-outstanding requests for information and documents. Instead, the Biden White House provided a perfunctory letter that discounted Congress’s constitutional oversight authorities, failed to produce any documents or information requested, and declined to address any matters of substance. The White House leaked this letter to the media, and briefed at least one reporter on it, before transmitting the letter to the Committee at 4:34 a.m.—severely undercutting the White House’s purported commitment to working with us in “good faith.”

The White House has sought to excuse its noncompliance with our requests by asserting that the requests “were not made as part of the congressional oversight process to which the constitutional accommodation obligations apply.” Setting aside the constitutional and legal fallacies inherent in the White House’s argument, nothing in federal law prevented the White House from voluntarily complying with our requests. In addition, to the extent the White House believed it was bound only to comply with requests from committee chairmen, the White House has had notice since at least November 16, 2022, that a returning Republican Member would lead the Judiciary Committee in the 118th Congress and has taken no steps to comply with our outstanding requests in that time. In fact, as of today, we have seen no evidence that the White House has taken any steps to comply with our requests.

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In Klain's letter, Jordan made clear that they "are prepared to resort to compulsory process, if necessary, to obtain this material." 

Another letter was sent out to Attorney General Merrick Garland, with letters from October 11, 2022 as well as October 28, 2022 and November 2, 2022 being referenced. Follow-up from November 18, 2022 was also included and referenced. An appendix shows requests dating from June 8, 2021. Jordan and the other Republican members have been looking into "the operations and actions of the Department of Justice."

More letters were also sent out seeking "information and documents concerning the operations and actions of" or other similar language to various departments under the Biden administration, including to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, ATF Director Steven Dettelbach, and DEA Administrator Anne Milgram.

As the letter to Klain references how parents protesting at school board meetings were regarded, so do the letters to Mayorkas and Cardona.  

Each of these letters also contained a reminder letter, sometimes several, sent out in November of 2022 with appendixes included of these outstanding requests. 

Such concerns were also laid out in a report from just before the midterm elections that resulted in Republicans taking back control of the House. The 1,050 page report, "FBI Whistleblowers: What Their Disclosures Indicate About the Politicization of the FBI And Justice Department" was released by Republican staff members on November 4, 2022. 

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Now that Republicans are, in fact, in the majority, they have the power of subpoena. 

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