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Tipsheet

The Biden Administration Is Getting Sued for Documents on Its Targeting of Catholics

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Back in February, a leaked memo from the FBI's Richmond field office revealed the damning information that they were targeting Catholics and Catholic Church with spying. Making the matter even worse is that Attorney General Merrick Garland had claimed otherwise not long before and has sought to downplay the matter, as the Biden administration continues to be anything but transparent. Now, there may finally be some accountability as the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) is facing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit from CatholicVote and Judicial Watch for their failure to provide records requested under FOIA. 

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According to a press release from CatholicVote, the group sent FOIA requests to the FBI and DOJ seeking access to record mentioning Catholics and other topics from the leaked memo. The requests were sent on March 8, 2023, almost two months ago now. That the group hasn't heard back is in violation of federal law. Agencies are required to respond within 20 business days, 10 for "unusual circumstances," but the FBI and DOJ have not even informed CatholicVote whether they plan to comply with the requests made of them. 

According to reporting about the lawsuit from Fox News, the FBI had advised on March 14 that there were "unusual circumstances" preventing the agency from complying with that 20-day deadline. 

This same DOJ, as the press release also denounced, has given violent pro-abortion activists a free pass with previously unreported plea deals, and that's with cases it bothers prosecuting at all. The DOJ has largely ignored incidents targeting pro-life organizations and churches, which have amounted to over 100 since last May, as tracked by groups like CatholicVote

"This week’s lawsuit, which demands information the agencies are required to provide to the public upon request under the Freedom of Information Act, comes amid increased public scrutiny of the Biden administration’s treatment of Catholics. Critics say that the federal government has selectively applied the law to discriminate against Catholics, especially in the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade last year," a separate news feed article from CatholicVote explained. 

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How the department has handled abortion activists is in stark contrast compared to how the department aggressively targets pro-life activists with arrests using extreme force to intimidate family members in the early morning hours. Activists like Mark Houck--though he's not the only one--have faced federal charges under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, despite how local charges against him had been previously dropped. Houck was found not guilty earlier this year.

"Our weaponized and corrupt government agencies have demonstrated a pattern of contempt for justice and the rule of law by prioritizing partisan ideology and agendas over the protection of the American people – in particular those with whom they disagree politically," CatholicVote's President Brian Burch shared in a statement. We are demanding transparency from our government and are determined to uncover just how high up the anti-Catholic bigotry goes."

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Burch also appeared on Fox News' "Fox & Friends" to explain details of the lawsuit reiterating how "so far the Biden Justice Department and the FBI have refused to turn over legal documents and communications that we are entitled to as American citizens," as he also explained they've "been left with no choice."

When it comes to claims from Garland, that this is from a low-level, rogue agent, Burch wondered that "if in fact that's true, and this is just a little misunderstanding by a rogue agent, then why is the FBI withholding these documents from us?" He offered that the DOJ and FBI should "turn it over, let the public see," and that they're "just asking for transparency," something "every citizen across this country should welcome the opportunity to understand exactly how our Department of Justice is operating."

Upon being asked why Catholics were being targeted, Burch pointed out it was "very obvious" that "the woke agenda of this administration has escalated the government and weaponized it against people of faith."

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