In the ongoing drama that has been AOC’s fish story about her “trauma”, she endured on the day of the Capitol riots continues, as the Freedom of Information Act request filed with the United States Capitol Police was outright rejected by the Agency.
According to the law, any federal agency as defined by 5 U.S. Code § 551 can be FOIA’d and therefore would have to respond. As I assumed that the USCP was a “Federal Law Enforcement Agency,” I believed that they were under the umbrella of a FOIA-able organization.
Not so fast, says the USCP. In an emailed response to RedState, both the Public Information Officer’s office and the Inspector General’s office of the USCP have stated that they are not under the definition of a “Federal Agency.”
In an emailed response, James W. Joyce of the USCP stated:
“Please be advised, in response to your Freedom of Information Act request, the United States Capitol Police (USCP), as a legislative branch entity, is not an “agency” as defined by 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq., under the Freedom of Information Act. Therefore, the USCP is not subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.”
This defies the separation of powers as defined in the United States Constitution. To enforce the laws of the Capitol property, the USCP would have to have some sort of executive power granted to them, which could not be granted to them unless they are then defined as an independent agency. As a “legislative branch entity,” they would be powerless to enforce any of the laws as they do not have executive powers of law enforcement. If we are to believe the USCP’s assertion, then Congress is a nation unto itself and outside of the purview of any other laws of the land.
Ronald Gregory of the USCP’s Inspector Generals Office responded similarly:
“The Office of the Inspector General of the United States Capitol Police and the department itself, fall under the Legislative Branch of government and is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.”
There’s just one big problem with this: The USCP, on their own website, self-defines itself as a “federal law enforcement agency.”
How can a self-defined agency, with all of the powers associate with the enforcement of the law, hide behind the veil of Congressional immunity, only when it serves them. Either they have the power to enforce the law and the accompanying liabilities associated with it, or they can be an impotent “legislative branch entity,” absent the power to enforce the law. They cannot simultaneously be both.
Even further, when you look into the definition of an agency contained in 5 U.S. Code § 551, it states that Congress itself is immune but not any other agencies which it supervises.
“For the purpose of this subchapter—
(A) the Congress;
(B) the courts of the United States;
(C) the governments of the territories or possessions of the United States;
(D)the government of the District of Columbia;
(E)agencies composed of representatives of the parties or of representatives of
organizations of the parties to the disputes determined by them;(F) courts martial and military commissions;
(G)military authority exercised in the field in time of war or in occupied
It clearly defines that an agency is the Government of the United States, whether or not it is “within or subject to review” of another agency, in this case, the US Congress. Just because the Congress is immune shouldn’t then extend the immunity to the USCP simply because they claim it. If they want to be a “legislative entity,” then they should not be extended the police powers it has. If they want to be a “federal law enforcement agency” then they should be subjected to all of the transparency requirements of every other law enforcement agency and Federal agency.
An email to Justice Watch stated that no agencies under the supervision of the US Congress are subject to the reach of FOIA, regardless of the agency’s own self-defined statements.
This leads me to the only potential here: The USCP is protecting Congressional members who lied about the happenings of January 6th. At this point, if there is nothing to hide, it would simply be of the public’s interest to release those videos, regardless of their content, to either prove or disprove the claims made by either side of the aisle. Our request for security footage does not go outside of the norm. LAPD had an officer shot in their lobby and the footage was made public within hours. Security footage inside the Capitol Building, showing rioters was made public within hours. What are they hiding? The potential exists that the footage either confirms AOC’s claims, or it rejects her narrative and makes her statements an inciting of violence against the right. There cannot be another option here. If the footage isn’t released, it means that the USCP and Congress are hiding information from the public.
Something needs to be done about this and I am open to suggestions.