Claims Public Is Not That Interested in How Agency Spends Their Money
Resorting to a mind boggling explanation, the Secret Service is refusing to promptly disclose the amount of taxpayer funds it spent on prostitution-related costs in Colombia in response to the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund’s (PCJF) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) demand for expenditure records. Today, the PCJF has filed a formal appeal of this refusal.
In the midst of Congressional hearings and daily headlines about Secret Service agents’ partying and payments for sexual services, the Agency has refused to promptly make the expenditure documents public, stating that they do not believe there is “an urgency to inform the public about use of taxpayer funds for expenditures incurred by Secret Service personnel during their deployment to Columbia [sic],” and that the Agency sees no “evidence of public interest [in this matter] that is any greater than the public’s general interest” in “government activity, generally.”
“We are prepared to go to Court to make this material available to the American public,” stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the PCJF. “We’ve heard a lot of explanations for why the government doesn’t want to reveal information, but the claim that the public has no interest in this issue is especially ludicrous.”
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 Cartagena, 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.”
Updates and information received from this FOIA request will be made available at www.JusticeOnline.org.