Government Officials’ Involvement in Capitol Mob Attack
In the weeks following the Jan. 6 invasion of the U.S. Capitol building, news continued to trickle out about several state and local government officials who participated in that day’s “Stop the Steal” rally in support of former President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election results. Over the past week, we’ve filed the following records requests to learn more:
Maryland National Guard Deployment Communications
Early reporting on the slow law enforcement response to the Capitol riot indicated that the Defense Department had initially denied a request from the city of Washington, DC, to deploy the National Guard, though Pentagon officials say they never rejected the request. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says he was prepared to deploy the Maryland National Guard as soon as he learned about the invasion, but was forced to wait until he finally received permission from the Defense Department. We filed a records request to Hogan’s office for email communications with Pentagon officials about National Guard deployment on Jan. 6.
Ohio Information Officer Told to Resign After Criticizing Police Response to Capitol Riot
Marc Gofstein, a public information officer working at the Franklin County sheriff’s office in Ohio, was told to resign after criticizing on his personal Facebook page the police response to the Jan. 6 riot. According to the Columbus Dispatch, Sheriff Dallas Baldwin circulated a statement to employees that said Gofstein’s “inflammatory” post undermined his ability to do his work. We sent a records request to the Franklin County sheriff’s office for the sheriff’s and chief deputy’s email communications about the Capitol riot.
Robocalls Promoting Jan. 6 Rally Sent by Attorney General Group
Earlier this month, the Washington Post reported that the Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF), a group affiliated with the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), sent out robocalls encouraging Trump supporters to attend the D.C. rally that preceded the attack and to “fight” in the name of the stolen-election lie. Several attorneys general — including Florida’s Ashley Moody, who previously was on RLDF’s board of directors — are now distancing themselves from the calls. We filed records requests to the attorney general offices in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Texas for any communications with representatives of RAGA or RLDF.
Trump Political Appointees ‘Burrowing In’
As President Joe Biden continues his first full week in office, significant attention has remained on “burrowing,” the practice of political appointees from the previous administration moving to a federal career position, potentially to maintain influence over policy. Recent reporting suggests that at least 26 Trump appointees have burrowed into career positions over the past year, though the exact number is unknown. We’ve been closely following the issue, and last week filed FOIA requests with 21 federal agencies for records regarding political appointees moving to career status positions, including any related ethics documents.
Part of Investigation: