As if the embattled “most-transparent-in-history” White House needed more e-mail scandals, the Obama administration's “science czar,” John Holdren, an advocate of coercive population control and a one-time global-cooling alarmist, is facing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to access public information that he has been apparently seeking to hide by using a private e-mail account. In the case, the non-partisan Competitive Enterprise Institute filed a federal appeal aiming to pry loose Holdren's e-mails from his account after a federal judge sided with Holdren, protecting his e-mails from public scrutiny.
Critics, while praising the lawsuit, say it is time for an even broader examination of Obama's “czar,” his dangerous views, and how his extremism has impacted White House policy.
The latest shoe to drop in the ongoing saga surrounding Holdren's secret e-mails came this month, when the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) filed an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. “There are a growing number of scandals concerning the use of private email accounts by top Obama administration officials,” said Sam Kazman, CEI general counsel, in a statement posted on the organization's website. “The court ruling that we are appealing will only add to those scandals, because it legitimizes private email accounts as way to evade FOIA. While President Obama claims his administration is the most transparent in history, his officers seem to confuse being transparent with being invisible.”
The CEI describes itself as a “non-profit public policy organization dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty.” In this case, the D.C.-based organization filed its original FOIA request against Holdren in October of 2013. It sought access to all “policy-related e-mails” that Holdren was keeping on his private e-mail account. The “science” bureaucracy Holdren leads, formally titled the “White House Office of Science and Technology Policy,” refused to comply with the demand. It argued that Holdren's private e-mail account was outside of its control, and therefore, beyond the reach of citizens and FOIA requirements.
U.S. judge Gladys Kessler, a far-left Bill Clinton appointee, sided with Holdren's bureaucracy in a March ruling — essentially giving any bureaucrat or official a green-light to evade government transparency laws by using private e-mail accounts. CEI, though, vowed to fight back against what it called the “plainly incorrect” ruling shielding Holdren's secret e-mails. In its opening 72-page brief in the appeal, the group noted that just because e-mails are in a personal account does not exempt them from FOIA requirements or place them beyond an agency's “actual control” for FOIA purposes. In fact, the brief says, federal agencies frequently search the personal e-mails of employees for work-related records, showing that agencies do have actual control over the accounts.
“It makes little sense to claim that an agency is not ‘withholding’ documents when it refuses to produce documents held by its own chief executive that relate to ‘agency business,’” continued the CEI in its initial brief. “Even if OSTP had demonstrated that these emails were not within its actual control — which it did not — its failure to search its director’s personal account would still violate FOIA because any agency records in that account fall within the agency’s ‘constructive control.’” Indeed, the CEI said that FOIA applies to work-related records of agency employees, “regardless of where they are stored.” Yet, according to a statement released by CEI, “Holdren has placed himself above the law and spirit of transparency that Obama fraudulently vowed to uphold.”
This is not even the first time the CEI has been forced to sue Holdren for flouting the law. The market-oriented organization filed another FOIA lawsuit against the White House “science” bureaucracy seeking the alleged “growing body of evidence” Holdren claimed linked alleged man-made global warming to record cold temperatures and massive snowfalls in his widely ridiculed 2014 “Polar Vortex” video. “A growing body of evidence suggests that the kind of extreme cold being experienced by much of the United States as we speak is a pattern we can expect to see with increasing frequency, as global warming continues,” he claimed.
That assertion, of course, is exactly the opposite of what the “settled science” from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC) predicted in its 2001 global-warming report. That document claimed that the planet would see “warmer winters and fewer cold spells, because of climate change.” Ironically, perhaps, Holdren previously warned that man-made global cooling caused by human emissions of carbon dioxide would produce a new ice age by 2020 that would produce a billion deaths. By 2014, though, Holdren had abandoned cooling alarmism and was claiming that “global warming” was producing record-cold temperatures and massive snowfall across the United States. Seriously.
CEI, citing the “growing number of studies that refuted” Holdren's warming-caused record-cold ramblings, originally asked the science czar's office to correct the video, which was mercilessly ridiculed around the world. Instead of correcting its propaganda or providing the alleged “evidence” cited by Holdren, though, the agency argued that the scaremongering was exempt from the federal Information Quality Act because the science czar was merely stating his “personal opinion.” The dishonest video, of course, was produced with taxpayer dollars.
“If this video really represented Dr. Holdren’s personal opinion, then it’s bad enough that OSTP spent taxpayer dollars to produce and post it on the White House web site,” CEI general counsel Sam Kazman noted in a statement condemning the official response. “But for the agency to refuse to disclose documents related to the video in order to protect what it claims are internal deliberations is doubly ridiculous. Perhaps OSTP should give us a new video titled ‘The Holdren Document Vortex Explained in 2 Hours.’”
Other evidence-free Holdren “personal opinions” have caused even more alarm among analysts. Consider, for example, the 1977 book Ecoscience he authored. Among other “opinions,” the science czar proposed forced abortions, a “planetary regime” with an international armed force to control humanity, drugging of the water and food supply with sterilizing agents, stealing children from young mothers, forced sterilization of people who “contribute to social deterioration,” and much more. “Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society,” Holdren argued, hiding behind a passive voice to promote his totalitarian views. He has also argued for international wealth redistribution and for the U.S. government to “de-develop” the United States.
In a widely republished August 26 column by conservative pundit Michelle Malkin headlined “What Is Obama’s Top Population-Control Freak Hiding?”, she notes that the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy “obstinately refused to answer my questions for Holdren on his views about forced abortions and mass sterilizations or on his continued embrace of forced-abortion advocate and eugenics guru Harrison Brown, whom he credits with inspiring him to become a scientist.” Holdren’s mentor, she continued, “likened the global population to a 'pulsating mass of maggots'.” Numerous other Holdren associates over the years have expressed similar anti-human sentiments.
And the importance of those views must be explored, Malkin continued. “These are not harmless dalliances of the past,” she explained. “Holdren’s insidious ideology — and his hidden policy communications — now have an untold impact on American taxpayers. He is the top strategist in Obama’s war on carbon, war on coal, war on the West and war on the economy. Holdren is the zealot 'right at the heart' (as The New York Times put it) of devising White House climate change initiatives that reward environmental cronies, send electricity rates skyrocketing and kill jobs.”
Malkin wants to know, among other points, who Holdren is conducting government business with on his secret e-mail, and what he is hiding from the public that is forced to pay his salary. She also asked what data is being “doctored” and what scientific evidence is “being stonewalled in the name of rescuing the planet and consolidating power in the hands of the green elite?”
“It’s time to turn up the heat,” Malkin concluded.
And Holdren is hardly the only extremist “czar” to be foisted on the American people by the Obama administration. Obama's “ebola czar,” lobbyist Ron Klain, for example, came under fire last year after a video surfaced of him declaring that “growing population” — particularly the population of Africans — was the “top leadership challenge” for the world today. Another Obama appointee, “Green Jobs Czar” Van Jones, was forced to resign in disgrace after interviews of him declaring himself to be a revolutionary communist surfaced.
Holdren is also not the first senior Obama official to face scrutiny over potentially criminal efforts to avoid FOIA requirements and other e-mail-related lawlessness. Among others implicated in similar scandals: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; former IRS official Lois Lerner, who was caught persecuting conservatives; former EPA boss Lisa Jackson; and former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. There are almost certainly more, and some analysts have suggested that the emerging pattern suggests that the administration is engaged in an orchestrated and likely unlawful campaign to deceive the public and lawlessly conceal wrongdoing. The “ClimateGate” scandal, of course, exposed many of the top global-warming alarmists conspiring to violate freedom of information laws, too.
It is past time for Congress to use its constitutional powers to do its job, subpoena the records involved, investigate the lawless violations, and hold administration officials responsible — all the way to the top if necessary. Perhaps even more important, though, is for lawmakers to respect their oath of office and stop funding Obama's radical “czars” and the bewildering array of unconstitutional bureaucracies.