AFPF Ramps Up Challenge to Biden Administration Censorship Regime with New FOIA Requests

By | April 11, 2024

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ARLINGTON, VA – Americans For Prosperity Foundation (AFPF), a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary for advocating for a free and open society, announced today the expansion of its investigation into the Biden Administration’s censorship regime. AFPF submitted new Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the Department of the Treasury for records about the authorities these agencies wield to censor so-called “misinformation.”

“The Biden Administration continues to stonewall investigations into the government’s alleged authority to undertake censorship activities, but we will not stop until we get answers,” said AFPF Director of Investigations Kevin Schmidt. “Citizens should not have to submit multiple FOIA requests and file lawsuits to get the basic transparency the law requires of the federal government.”

These requests come in response to the agency’s troubling track record of violating the civil liberties of Americans and exerting power beyond the boundaries set by the U.S. Constitution:

  • Dodging Congressional Questions: In a December 2023 hearing before the Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Accountability, one official from DHS and CISA obfuscated in response to questions about the agency’s alleged authority to censor “misinformation.” And for over a year, agency officials have withheld the content of the memos that describe its supposed “MDM Authorities.”
  • Targeting Citizens’ Social Content: In November, a Washington Post report detailed how the Treasury Department and the White House are working with social media platforms to counter negative social media posts about the economy that Biden administration officials find threatening.
  • Overreaching Under Guise of Disinformation: DHS’s recent establishment of a Disinformation Governance Board in 2021 raised serious concerns about potential infringements on the speech rights of American citizens.
  • Arguing Censorship at SCOTUS: Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Murthy v. Missouri (previously known as Missouri v. Biden). In AFPF’s amicus brief, we argue that “government officials acted through a variety of social media platforms to censor a broad range of speech that challenged the government’s viewpoint.”

These new FOIA requests (available herehere, and here) aim to uncover any additional instances of overreach by DHS and other agencies.

This week is Sunshine Week, a weeklong acknowledgement of the importance of open government, transparency, and the role that Freedom of Information (FOI) laws have played in holding those in power to account. This week, AFPF hosted an essay symposium followed by a live webinar. Click here to watch the stream on YouTube.

Through its advocacy and educational initiatives, AFPF strives to empower individuals to actively participate in shaping a society where civil liberties are respected and government focuses on its proper role – defending people’s rights, protecting public safety, and promoting rule of law.