The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on Monday, April 16 with the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) demanding that the agency release records reflecting the use of taxpayer funds for expenditures for, " flight, hotel, dining, drinking, bar service, room service, prostitution, escorts, companions, recreational or entertainment services" as well as costs " necessitated by the removal and/or transport of the Secret Service’s agents from Colombia and their return and/or transport to the United States, as well as any expenditures or payments to the local police agencies or law enforcement."
The FOIA to the Secret Service states: “The American public in general has a right to know the extent of the federal government's public expenditures and how its tax dollars are being spent on entertainment and leisure activities, poolside drinking, prostitution, and protection of Secret Service agents from law enforcement in Cartenega, Colombia, particularly given the current state of the economy, budget cuts to education, healthcare and housing, and the Secret Service's budget demands for asserted security functions.”
“Time and again, the public is expected to bow to the Secret Service's decisions to bar, remove or distance protesters from being able to have their messages heard by the President, candidates or other officials, with the untested assertion that there is a 'security' need for such abridgement of First Amendment rights. Fundamentally, the public has an interest in the functioning and representations and conduct and character of the U.S. Secret Service in the execution of Presidential security functions, particularly where Courts and the public are asked to defer to the representations of the Secret Service,” stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director for the PCJF.
"There is nothing about this incident that suggests it was an aberration," Verheyden-Hilliard continued. "Given that it only came to light because one woman went to the police, it raises the question as to whether women worldwide who are forced into prostitution for survival are used by Secret Service personnel on the public's dime when they carry out their Presidential advance duties."
Updates and information received from this FOIA request will be made available at www.JusticeOnline.org.