Judicial Watch Sues Obama Department of Health and Human Services for Records Detailing Health Grant to the National Council of La Raza
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and fights government corruption, announced today that on July 18, 2012, it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (No. 1:12-cv-01181)) against the Obama Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) seeking access to records detailing taxpayer-funded grants provided by the Centers for Disease Control to the National Council of La Raza (The National Council of “The Race”).
Pursuant to its December 6, 2011, FOIA request Judicial Watch seeks access to the following records:
i. Any and all records regarding, concerning or related to the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program grants awarded to the National Council of La Raza between September 11, 2009 and September 20, 2011. This request includes, but is not limited to, the grant application, records regarding the disbursement of grant payments, records of communication regarding the awarding of the grant, and all records related to the management, evaluation and oversight of the activities funded by the grant.
ii. Any and all records of communication between any official, employee or representative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and any official, employee or representative of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (including, but not limited to, Director Cecilia Muñoz) regarding, concerning or related to any grants applied for by and/or awarded to the National Council of La Raza between January 20, 2009 and the present.
HHS acknowledged receiving Judicial Watch’s FOIA request on December 13, 2011, and was required by law to respond no later than January 26, 2012. However, as of the date of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit HHS has failed to respond in accordance with FOIA law.
The National Council of La Raza, which openly advocates for illegal alien sanctuary policies, has also been linked to the Mexican reconquista movement, which seeks to conquer the American Southwest and return it to Mexico. Cecilia Muñoz previously served as Senior Vice President for the Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza. Because her appointment would have violated Barack Obama’s lobbyist ban, the president granted Muñoz an “ethics waiver” so she could join his administration as Director of Intergovernmental affairs. (Muñoz now serves as the Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.)
According to a Judicial Watch investigation, federal funding for the National Council of La Raza nearly tripled from $4.1 million to $11 million in FY 2010, the year Muñoz joined the Obama administration. This funding for NCLR and affiliates has come from a variety of Obama administration agencies, including the Department of Justice, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Labor, The Department of Education, and the Centers for Disease Control through its “Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health” (REACH) program. (The stated mission of the REACH program is to “eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health.”)
“The Obama administration is clearly embarrassed by its association with this radical organization, as it should be. But embarrassment is not a sufficient reason to withhold government records contrary to law,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “This seems to be a story of a left-wing special interest group benefiting from White House connections at the expense of the taxpayers.”
Read about La Raza and more in Tom Fitton’s book The Corruption Chronicles, on sale now.