Florida Officials’ Communications About Data Scientist Rebekah Jones
Last Monday, armed police raided the home of Florida data scientist Rebekah Jones and confiscated her computers and phone, saying they were investigating an alleged hack into a state government emergency response system. Jones — a former Florida Department of Health (DOH) scientist who says she was fired in the spring after refusing to change coronavirus data to support Gov. Ron DeSantis’ reopening plan — has since accused DeSantis of attempting to intimidate her for her allegations. We filed records requests with DOH and the governor’s office for communications among officials regarding Jones, as well as for records regarding the recent resignation of DOH’s top spokesperson, Alberto Moscoso.
Allegations of Covid-19 Email Destruction at CDC
On Dec. 10, Rep. James E. Clyburn, chairman of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, sent a letter of concern to DHS Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Robert Redfield regarding allegations from a CDC official that Redfield had ordered her to delete an email from a political appointee who was attempting to control CDC scientific reports. We filed FOIA requests with the CDC for records regarding the deletion or destruction of agency records, for senior officials’ text messages and emails, and for the email that Redfield allegedly ordered to be deleted.
Texas Election Lawsuit Against Four Battleground States
On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton seeking to overturn the election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin (four states where Trump lost). While the anti-democratic legal effort stood no chance, an alarming 126 House Republicans had signed on to a brief supporting it. We sent records requests to the Texas Attorney General’s Office for emails and text messages concerning the lawsuit.
Wisconsin Vote Recounts
Last week, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Wisconsin lawmakers were, with no explanation, withholding $3 million in reimbursements for recounts requested by the Trump campaign in Dane and Milwaukee counties — recounts that ultimately confirmed the victory of President-elect Joe Biden. The Wisconsin Elections Commission had unanimously approved the recounts on Nov. 19, after a meeting that lasted more than five hours. We filed records requests with the Wisconsin Elections Commission for members’ text messages with external parties, including with representatives of the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign.
Giuliani Meeting with Arizona Lawmakers
On Nov. 30, several Republican Arizona lawmakers and Rudy Giuliani — who days later was hospitalized with Covid-19 — held an unofficial “hearing” in which participants made unsubstantiated allegations about the integrity of the presidential election. Some of the lawmakers who attended the meeting later called for the Arizona Legislature to convene a special session to appoint its own presidential electors. We sent records requests to the Arizona House of Representatives for Majority Leader Warren Petersen’s communications and records regarding private meetings with Giuliani. We also sent requests to the Arizona governor’s office and the attorney general’s office for officials’ calendars.
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