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GAP Files FOIA Lawsuit Against US State Department

Zack Kopplin, October 24, 2017

On Friday, October 20, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State. The Department has withheld records related to its au pair guest worker program, in some cases, for over a year.

GAP is suing over five distinct requests sent between September 2016 and July 2017. Specifically, GAP requested documents containing the number of abuse complaints reported by au pairs to their sponsor companies and the State Department, hundreds of thousands of pages of data from an Inspector General’s investigation into the program, and documents from Dina Powell, the Trump Administration’s Deputy National Security Advisor, who ran the program as the Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs in the Bush Administration.

These documents could potentially expose a systemic cover-up of abuse including food deprivation, overwork, and harassment, which in specific cases could reach the level of labor trafficking.

The State Department has repeatedly ignored both statutory deadlines for releasing information under the Freedom of Information Act and also its own estimated completion dates it set to respond to GAP’s requests.

The Loevy & Loevy law firm is representing GAP in the lawsuit.

GAP hopes the State Department will promptly release records in response to this lawsuit, and address all of GAP’s future public records requests.

Read our lawsuit here.