Media Mentions

Gov. Greg Abbott Does Not Seem Concerned That He’s Funding A Texas University Lab That Worked To Censor Conservatives

By Katelynn Richardson (Daily Caller)

April 26, 2023

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott declined to answer repeated questions from the Daily Caller News Foundation on whether he believes it is appropriate for taxpayer funds to support a Texas university’s project that worked to censor conservatives.

The University of Texas at Austin houses the Global Disinformation Lab, established in 2020 to research a “broad spectrum of information, misinformation, and disinformation via digital media.” The lab recently partnered with the Global Disinformation Index (GDI), which works to blacklist conservative news sites from ad exchanges, according to documents obtained by the Washington Examiner, for a research report released in December 2022.

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Antony Blinken set up meetings with Hunter Biden using private email address

By Rachel Schilke (Washington Examiner)

April 26, 2023

Email correspondence between then-Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Hunter Biden shows that meetings and lunches were set up by Blinken using his personal email address instead of his government address.

The batch of emails reviewed by the Washington Examiner dealt with conversations between Blinken and Biden when Blinken served as deputy secretary of state under former President Barack Obama. In 2015, Biden asked Blinken to get together to get his “advice on a couple of things,” to which Blinken set up a meeting using an AOL address instead of his state.gov address.

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IRS TARGETING SCANDAL: WATCHDOG SUES DOJ FOR RECORDS ON LEGAL BILLS COVERING LOIS LERNER AND HOLLY PAZ

By Federal Newswire Report

April 18, 2023

The Functional Government Initiative (FGI) announced it has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice (DOJ) seeking records of billings and payments made to law firm Steptoe & Johnson LLP for representing Lois Lerner and Holly Paz, key officials at the center of the IRS political targeting scandal. The lawsuit aims to determine whether taxpayers have been, and possibly still are, footing the legal bills for these officials.

Lois Lerner, former acting IRS Director of Exempt Organizations, and Holly Paz, her top aide and former IRS Director of the Office of Rulings and Agreements, were implicated in the improper targeting of conservative groups for additional scrutiny. This scandal, which first came to light in 2013, led to a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee report, several lawsuit settlements, and an FBI investigation. Despite Lerner appearing to apologize for the misconduct at a meeting of the American Bar Association, she has continued fighting to keep records from the scandal sealed.

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Biden Admin Is Funding Overseas Lithium Projects While Shutting Down American Mines

By Tristan Justice (The Federalist)

April 4, 2023

American taxpayers are funding critical mineral projects abroad while their government blocks new mines at home. According to new documents from the Department of the Interior made public by the Freedom of Information Act, the Biden administration is actively funding “sustainable lithium extraction” in Argentina.

Federal agencies, according to records obtained by the Functional Government Initiative and shared with The Federalist, “are conducting bi-weekly virtual meetings and trainings with representatives from Argentina’s Ministry of Productive Development the Argentine Geological Mining Service, and the three provinces of Catamarca, Jujuy, and Salta with the goal of creating a regional lithium resource inventory covering all three provinces.”

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DHS Panel Courted Left-Wing Agents To Aid In ‘Misinformation’ Crackdown

By Ailan Evans (Daily Caller)

April 4, 2023

A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) advisory panel helping the federal government crack down on misinformation pushed to enlist left-wing entities and individuals in its efforts, according to documents obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency (CISA) Cybersecurity Advisory Committee’s (CSAC) Protecting Critical Infrastructure from Misinformation and Disinformation subcommittee was convened in December 2021 to provide CISA with recommendations for how to address misinformation, disinformation and malinformation (MDM) ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. However, internal meeting minutes, emails and notes obtained by the DCNF through a public records request reveal committee members frequently pushed to enlist outside left-wing groups and individuals linked to Democratic causes to further their efforts.

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TikTok lobbyist on board of AOC-advised group funded by China’s ByteDance: ‘Influence peddling’

By Gabe Kaminsky (Washington Examiner)

April 4, 2023

One of the top lobbyists for TikTok sits on the board of directors of a nonprofit group that has pocketed cash from the app’s Chinese parent company ByteDance and is advised by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), a staunch opponent of banning TikTok in the United States, records show.

Ocasio-Cortez opens herself up to a conflict of interest by railing against TikTok ban proposals while helping to advise the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, a nonprofit group that in December 2022 received $150,000 from ByteDance, watchdog groups previously told the Washington Examiner. That same charity, which used the funds to support members of its affiliated Congressional Hispanic Caucus, has a board member named Jesse Price who is TikTok’s public policy director, according to its website and most recent publicly available tax forms.

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Government watchdog FOIA lawsuit reveals ESG discussions at SEC with outside groups

By Houston Keene (Fox News)

April 3, 2023

A government watchdog’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request revealed environmental, social, and governance (ESG) discussions at the highest levels of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Government watchdog the Functional Government Initiative (FGI) sued the SEC after the commission did not fulfill a FOIA request submitted by them and received their first set of documents last week.

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THE IRS CONTINUES TO LACK TRANSPARENCY: 10,000 POTENTIAL DOCUMENTS AFTER REPORTING THERE WERE NONE

By Pete McGinnis (Federal Newswire, Op-ed)

March 24, 2023

Last week, many who focus on openness in government celebrated Sunshine Week and National Freedom of Information Day on March 16, observed on the birthday of James Madison, the Father of the Constitution. These events highlight the importance of government transparency. However, instead of openness, the IRS remains shrouded in darkness. The Functional Government Initiative’s (FGI) ongoing transparency lawsuit against the IRS provides a clear example of the agency’s lack of transparency.

In February 2022, the Functional Government Initiative (FGI) submitted a Freedom of Information request seeking records on the Biden Administration’s IRS proposals. The proposals called for an $80 billion increase to the IRS budget for hiring 87,000 new agents and new rules to require taxpayers to report transactions that total as low as $600, among other proposals.

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Biden Administration Sued Over Recommending ‘Booster Shots 6 Times a Year’

By Zachary Stieber (Epoch Times)

March 23, 2023

President Joe Biden’s administration has been sued for refusing to hand over records concerning a top official’s apparent recommendation that Americans get a COVID-19 vaccine every two months. Health Secretary Xavier Becerra, a Biden appointee, has said in multiple posts on social media that people should get a shot “if it’s been over 2 months since your last dose.”

The Functional Government Initiative (FGI), a watchdog organization, filed a Freedom of Information Act request in 2022 asking for evidence to back up the recommendation.

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Legal Group Sues Education Department For Withholding Records On Student Loan Debt Forgiveness

By James Lynch (Daily Caller)

March 17, 2023

The Functional Government Initiative (FGI), a watchdog legal organization, is filing a lawsuit against the Department of Education (ED) for failing to release records regarding student loan forgiveness and the student debt payment moratorium.

FGI filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in August 2022 for records from the ED to see whether political considerations were taken into account when the Biden administration released its plan to forgive student loan debt. The ED initially responded to the FOIA request and acknowledged they received it, and since then the department has delayed the request, FGI says in its lawsuit.

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