Will Trump Department of State be more forthcoming in response to FOIA requests?
Posted by Ann Corcoran on February 9, 2017
“This is an opportunity for the Trump State Department to come clean and clean up this refugee welfare program.”
(Tom Fitton, President, Judicial Watch)
We sure hope so!
It is hard to get public information from the US State Department as Judicial Watch found out during this past year.
So, don’t miss this news about Judicial Watch (the government watchdog organization that first revealed the presence of Hillary Clinton’s home server) filing suit over failed public information requests involving federally-funded travel loans given to refugees.
The refugees are supposed to repay the taxpayer for the cost of their travel to the US, but those same nine non-profit agencies that place them in your towns do the collecting. And, for their work we pay them 25% of the loan dollars they collect. (See amount USCCB received below for one year.)
For years the DOS has been mum about the rate of return to the US Treasury of these and other loans to refugees.
Here is Judicial Watch earlier this week:
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State seeking records on the number of “Refugee Travel Loans” issued by State’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration to the United Nation’s International Organization for Migration from 2010 to the present. Judicial Watch is also seeking the number of loans defaulted on and the amount of money written off on each defaulted loan. The suit was filed on January 24, 2017, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:17-cv-00157)).
Judicial Watch filed the suit after the State Department failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on February 5, 2016, seeking the following:
All records reflecting the number of Refugee Travel Loans furnished by the State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) per year; the number of travel loans that are defaulted upon per year; and the amount of money written off per defaulted loan.
JW also asked for information from the Department of Health and Human Services about special Microenterprise loans given to refugees to start businesses, etc.
Continue reading, here. Then this:
“The State Department has stonewalled our request for refugee loans and associated taxpayer losses for a year – an unlawful delay that screams ‘cover up’,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “This is an opportunity for the Trump State Department to come clean and clean up this refugee welfare program.”
To citizen investigators: When you are looking at financial documents of the nine major refugee contractors, you will often see the special line item for the amount of money they get from the federal government (from you) for collecting the travel loan reimbursement from the poor refugees.
Here is an example from the 2014 Annual Report (page 10) of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops Migration Fund. See that the “travel loan collection fee” for that year was over $3.4 million.
So, while we are at it, please notice that 97% of the the Bishop’s funding in this year was provided by you! (Add travel loan collection fee and federal grants.) Not even $3 million came from private Christian charity.
It is because these supposedly non-governmental groups are being so heavily subsidized by our tax dollars we have every right to transparency about how our money is being spent!
Where is Congress? The Refugee Act of 1980 must be reformed!
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