Milne Renews Call For Leahy to Be Transparent on EB-5, And Proposes FOIA Be Applied to Congress
Burlington, VT (September 19, 2016) – U.S. Senate candidate Scott Milne this morning announced that should he be elected, he would introduce legislation to apply the Freedom of Information Act to Congress.
“I see a chasm that separates my opponent’s walk from his talk. Senator Leahy portrays himself as the ‘godfather’ of EB-5 in America. He also claims he is ‘Senator Sunshine’ for his alleged commitment to transparency. And yet, he refuses to be transparent when it comes to why and how so many of his fingerprints have ended up all over the EB5 mess that stretches across the globe—from Hollywood, to China, to the Kingdom. Today, I renew my call for transparency,” said Milne.
“In May of this year, I called on Senator Leahy to release all communications to and from his office—emails, meeting notes, call logs, and letters—regarding EB-5 projects, any related federal or state investigations, and all private and U.S. Government operated or U.S. Government sponsored aircraft flights he has taken—either as a guest of, host for, or fellow passenger—with any of the principals of Jay Peak, EB-5 investors, SEC personnel, Vermont’s Attorney General, Governor, and U.S. Attorneys over the past five years.
“He refused on the grounds that he would not reveal emails from battered women. That simply does not pass the straight face test.”
Milne then continued to recount and elaborate on facts reported by VTDigger about Pat Leahy’s intimate connections with the Motion Picture Association of America and MPAA’s interest in the EB-5 program.
“Taken together, these facts raise legitimate questions about Pat Leahy’s interest in the EB-5 program—how that interest developed, and affected his official acts. He can answer these questions by releasing all of the relevant materials that I requested in May, which includes all communications between Leahy, anyone on his staff, or that he supervises, and Chris Dodd, all the Hollywood investors and stakeholders, and any person working for the MPAA, its members and the EB5 programs they are promoting—in addition to information regarding the alleged 200 million dollar Ponzi scheme in the Kingdom.
“Should I be elected, I will introduce legislation that will prevent such murkiness. It is integral to our democracy that impropriety be rooted out of Washington. I will propose that FOIA be extended to the United States Senate and all Congress. This important step towards increasing government transparency, along with the Leahy Rule to prevent immediate family members lobbying Congress and federal agencies, will begin the process of restoring America’s faith in government,” Milne concluded.
Leahy Has Called FOIA “A Vital Piece Of Our Democratic System” that “Promotes Accountability And Imbues Trust.”
“This bill advances one of the most fundamental rights of Americans, the public’s right to know what its government is doing,” said Leahy, who has been a longtime champion of FOIA in Congress… “Access to public information in a timely and effective manner is a vital piece of our democratic system of checks and balances that promotes accountability and imbues trust… FOIA represents the foundation of our modern open government laws.”
Statement of Senator Leahy, Openness in Government Bill, 2005
And, a “Foundation On Which All Our Sunshine and Transparency Policies Rest.”
“The Freedom of Information Act is the foundation on which all our sunshine and transparency policies rest,” the Judiciary Committee’s ranking Democrat, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont said.
“Under the Rader,” Politico, March 15, 2016
Leahy Has Advocated More Disclosure Requirements For Lawmakers In The Past. “Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and some in the transparency advocacy community have in the past pressed for more disclosure requirements for lawmakers, as has the Obama administration (though it removed its own Office of Administration from FOIA coverage a year ago).”
“Why FOIA Obligations Don’t Apply to Congress,” Government Executive, March 25, 2016
The Obama Administration Has Called For FOIA To Be Expanded to Congress.
“And those who are interested in advocating for genuine transparency and government should advocate for Congress being subject to those kinds of transparency measures,” said White House Press Secretary John Earnest.
“White House: Congress Should be Subject to FOIA,” Roll Call, March 25, 2016
Senator Leahy insists that he had no knowledge of the Jay Peak SEC investigation.
“VT, feds allege ‘massive’ fraud at Jay Peak Inc.,” Burlington Free Press, April 15, 2016 (see embedded video at 1:16, 12:40, 14:10)