Watchdog Group Files Lawsuit on Trump Border Wall

Lawsuit Filed on Second Anniversary of Border Wall Announcement Seeks Release of Documents and Communications Related to Wall’s Construction and Impact

Washington, DC – Non-partisan ethics watchdog American Oversight today filed suit against the Trump administration to force the release of communications, documents, and plans related to the president’s proposed border wall. The lawsuit comes two years to the day after then-candidate Trump unveiled plans for a border wall when he announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015.

“Two years after candidate Donald Trump announced his border wall, the American public has still been told shockingly little about one of the administration’s signature policy initiatives,” said American Oversight Executive Director Austin Evers. “The wall could cost tens of billions of dollars and fundamentally reshape our southern border. Whether you think it’s a good idea or not, it’s clear that the American people deserve more information about where their tax dollars are going and what impact the wall will have.”

Beginning on March 21, 2017, American Oversight filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with multiple federal departments and agencies related to the border wall, including the Department Homeland Security (DHS) and its component Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Department of the Interior (DOI), as well as the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The agencies failed to adequately respond to a number of the requests. As a result, American Oversight has filed suit against DHS, CBP, DOI, and OMB in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to force the government to comply with the law.

These requests cover a range of critical, but unanswered, questions surrounding Trump’s proposed border wall, including environmental impact analyses, cost estimates and plans to utilize eminent domain to seize land near the border.

On Friday, American Oversight also filed two new FOIA requests seeking additional information about the wall project. The new requests ask for records of meetings between DHS officials and Charles Johnson and Palmer Luckey, as well as information about the composition of the CBP board responsible for the approval of wall contracts.

The lawsuit and FOIA requests are part of American Oversight’s Audit the Wall initiative, which seeks to unearth information about construction of the border wall, one of President Trump’s signature policy initiatives.

Part of Investigation:

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News Roundup: Evidence of Obstruction

Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of Transportation, DOT - Federal Aviation Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Communications Commission, Georgia - Clayton County, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Tennessee Valley Authority, Texas Attorney General, Texas Office of the Governor, Texas Secretary of State, Texas Senate, White House - Office of Management and Budget
January 23, 2020

In the Documents: How the 2018-2019 Government Shutdown Affected Federal Science Agencies

Commerce - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security, Department of the Interior, Department of Transportation, DHS - Federal Emergency Management Agency, DOI - U.S. Geological Survey, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
January 22, 2020

OMB Releases 192 Pages of Ukraine Records to American Oversight

White House - Office of Management and Budget
January 17, 2020

News Roundup: The Evidence Continues to Mount

Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Justice, Department of State, Environmental Protection Agency, Georgia - Clayton County, Georgia - Hancock County, Georgia - Jefferson County, HHS - Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services
January 15, 2020

Updated Timeline: Messages About Yovanovitch Surveillance Happened Same Week as Giuliani-Pompeo Calls

Department of State
January 13, 2020

Energy Department Agrees to Release Ukraine Documents This Month

Department of Energy
January 10, 2020

State Department’s Release of Volker Calendars and Text Messages Raises Further Questions

Department of State
January 10, 2020

News Roundup: Presidential War Powers and New Impeachment Documents

Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Department of State, Department of the Treasury, Department of Veterans Affairs, Environmental Protection Agency, Florida - Hernando County, Florida - Nassau County, Florida - Okaloosa County, Florida - Seminole County, Florida Department of Corrections, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Department of State, Florida Office of the Governor, HHS - Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services, White House - Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
January 10, 2020

In the Documents: Investigating the Trump Administration’s Legal Analyses for Potential Use of Force Against Iran

Department of State
January 8, 2020

State Department Releases Additional Ukraine Documents to American Oversight

Department of State
January 7, 2020

Did the Trump Administration Abuse the Redactions Process?

Department of Defense, White House - Office of Management and Budget
January 3, 2020

In the Documents: New Information on Scott Pruitt’s Fleet of Luxury SUVs

Environmental Protection Agency
December 27, 2019

American Oversight’s 2019 in Review: Nine Important Stories We Uncovered

December 21, 2019

Defense Department Ukraine Documents Released to American Oversight

Department of Defense
December 20, 2019

News Roundup: Beyond Impeachment — The Investigations Continue

Congress, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of the Interior, Department of Transportation, DHS - Immigration and Customs Enforcement, DHS - U.S. Customs and Border Protection, DOL - Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, Federal Communications Commission, Government Accountability Office, HHS - Administration for Children and Families, HHS - Food and Drug Administration, White House - Office of Management and Budget
December 18, 2019

Why Trump Has Met the Standard for Obstruction of Congress

Congress, Department of Defense, Department of State
December 13, 2019

News Roundup: Stephen Miller’s Extremist Network

Congress, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Department of the Interior, Department of the Treasury, DHS - Immigration and Customs Enforcement, DOI - Bureau of Land Management, DOI - Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Environmental Protection Agency, Georgia - Carroll County, Texas Attorney General, Treasury - Office of Foreign Assets Control, White House - Office of Management and Budget
December 12, 2019

American Oversight Sues for Treasury Communications About Russian Investment in Kentucky Plant

Department of the Treasury, Treasury - Office of Foreign Assets Control
December 11, 2019

Lawsuit over Administration’s Unlawful Seizure of Trump-Putin Meeting Notes Moves Forward

Department of State, National Archives and Records Administration
December 6, 2019

News Roundup: Impeachment Report, Border Wall Contracts, and Pompeo’s Meeting with GOP Donors

Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of State
December 3, 2019

House Committee Impeachment Report References State Department Documents Obtained by American Oversight

November 27, 2019

News Roundup: Thankful for FOIA

Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of State, Kentucky Office of the Governor, USDA - Food Safety and Inspection Service
November 27, 2019

Behind the Scenes: How American Oversight Forced the Release of State Department Ukraine Records

Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of the Treasury, White House - Office of Management and Budget
November 25, 2019

American Oversight Sues Justice Department for Ukraine-Related Communications

Department of Justice
November 22, 2019

State Department Releases Ukraine Documents to American Oversight

Department of State
November 22, 2019

News Roundup: Fiona Hill’s Warnings, Nikki Haley’s Emails, and Matt Bevin’s Stay at Trump’s Hotel

Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of State, DHS - Immigration and Customs Enforcement, DOJ - Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, Kentucky Office of the Governor
November 21, 2019

Nikki Haley Sent Classified Emails on an Unclassified Email System

Department of State
November 20, 2019

Sondland’s Testimony Highlights State Department Obstruction

Department of Energy, Department of State
November 15, 2019

News Roundup: Impeachment Inquiry Goes Public

Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Department of Veterans Affairs, Florida House of Representatives, Georgia - Bartow County, Georgia - Carroll County, Georgia - Decatur County, Georgia - Lowndes County, Georgia - Paulding County, Georgia Secretary of State, HHS - Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services, Texas - Dallas County, Texas - Harris County, Texas - Travis County, White House - Council on Environmental Quality
November 14, 2019

How ‘Sharpiegate’ Turned a Simple Misunderstanding into a Media Frenzy — and Headache for NOAA Employees

Commerce - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce
November 8, 2019

News Roundup: Ukraine-Related Documents, Hurdles for Asylum-Seekers, and Chad Wolf’s Involvement in Family Separation

Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of the Interior, DOJ - Office of Information Policy, DOJ - Office of Legal Counsel, Environmental Protection Agency, Florida Office of the Governor, White House - Office of Management and Budget
November 7, 2019

What We Learned from the Yovanovitch and McKinley Transcripts

Congress, Department of State
November 1, 2019

News Roundup: Impeachment Votes and Sonny Perdue’s Georgia Connections

Department of Agriculture, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of the Interior, DHS - Immigration and Customs Enforcement, DOI - National Park Service
October 31, 2019

In the Documents: Interior Department Officials Arranging VIP Tours for Trump Administration Figures and Allies

Department of the Interior, DOI - National Park Service
October 31, 2019

State Department Agrees to Produce Ukraine Records to American Oversight by November 22

Department of State
October 25, 2019

News Roundup: Court Chips Away at Trump Administration Obstruction

October 24, 2019

Research Tool: Ukraine-Trump Key Figures and Documents

Department of Commerce, Department of Energy, Department of State, Department of the Treasury
October 23, 2019

Federal Judge Says He Will Order State Department to Begin Turning Over Requested Ukraine Documents

Department of State
October 22, 2019

New Lawsuit Seeks Perry and Brouillette Ukraine Documents and Communications about Biden Investigation Effort

Department of Energy
October 18, 2019

News Roundup: Corruption, Plain and Simple

Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of State, DHS - U.S. Customs and Border Protection
October 18, 2019

Court Calls for Hearing on Emergency Motion for Ukraine Documents

Department of State
October 11, 2019

News Roundup: Impeachment, Obstruction, and More Questions about Rick Perry

Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, DHS - U.S. Customs and Border Protection, HHS - Administration for Children and Families, HHS - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
October 4, 2019

News Roundup: The Public Needs Answers

Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Department of State
October 4, 2019

Pompeo’s Obstructionism Won’t Work

Department of State
October 2, 2019

Pompeo’s Letter Is the Trump Administration’s Opening Salvo of Obstruction

Department of State
October 1, 2019

We’re Suing the State Department for Giuliani-Ukraine Documents

Department of State
September 27, 2019

News Roundup: From the Top Down

Commerce - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of the Interior, DOI - Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Florida - Collier County, White House - Council on Environmental Quality, White House - Office of Management and Budget
September 27, 2019

Using FOIA to Fight Trump Administration Obstruction

Department of the Interior, DOI - Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
September 25, 2019

Release of Trump–Zelensky Call Readout Raises Questions About Justice Department Involvement

Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of the Treasury, U.S. Agency for International Development
September 20, 2019

News Roundup: Trump, Giuliani, and Ukraine

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of the Treasury, Department of Transportation, DHS - Immigration and Customs Enforcement, DHS - U.S. Customs and Border Protection, DOJ - Federal Bureau of Investigation, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Federal Reserve, HHS - Administration for Children and Families, HHS - National Institutes of Health, HHS - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Texas - Starr County, Texas Attorney General, Texas Secretary of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
September 12, 2019

New Lawsuit Seeks State Department Records of Jared Kushner’s Middle East Trips

Department of State
June 25, 2019

Lawsuit Seeks Records of Trump Family Influence over Minnesota Mining Project

Department of Agriculture, Department of the Interior, DOI - Bureau of Land Management, USDA - United States Forest Service
June 7, 2019

News Roundup: Investigating Outside Influence and Political Appointments at the State Department

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of Transportation, DHS - Federal Emergency Management Agency, Small Business Administration
March 29, 2019

News Roundup: The Mueller Investigation Is Over, But the Swamp Is Thriving

March 25, 2019

The Corruption Continues: Mueller Has Finished His Work. American Oversight Has Not.

March 12, 2019

Investigating the Trump Administration’s Efforts to Sell Nuclear Technology to Saudi Arabia

Commerce - International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of State, Department of the Treasury, White House - Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
January 9, 2019

Investigating the Acting Defense Secretary’s Ties to Boeing

Department of Defense
December 12, 2018

Audit the Wall: No Plans, Funding or Timeline — And No Wall

Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, DHS - U.S. Customs and Border Protection
June 6, 2018

USTR Emails Reveal Tensions, Inconsistencies in Trump Administration’s NAFTA Strategy

White House - Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
April 17, 2018

Lawsuit Seeks Scott Pruitt and Nino Perrotta Travel and Security Spending Records

Environmental Protection Agency
April 6, 2018

New: EPA Documents Show Details of Pruitt Office Renovations

Environmental Protection Agency
March 16, 2018

Sunshine Week Blog: FOIAs Will Continue Until Accountability Improves

February 9, 2018

New Lawsuit Seeks DHS Border Wall Emails with White House, Fox News, Border States

Department of Homeland Security, DHS - U.S. Customs and Border Protection
December 20, 2017

Update: EPA IG Refuses to Investigate Controversial Contract

Environmental Protection Agency
December 20, 2017

American Oversight Expands Investigation into Tax Bill

Department of the Treasury, White House - Office of Management and Budget
December 17, 2017

Trump Transition GSA Emails and Memorandum of Understanding

General Services Administration
December 1, 2017

American Oversight and Environmental Working Group Seek Answers about Dourson’s Work at EPA

Environmental Protection Agency
November 30, 2017

New FOIAs Seek Treasury Department’s Secret Tax Bill Analyisis

Department of the Treasury
November 16, 2017

American Oversight and EWG Seek Records of Industry Influence at Department of Energy

Department of Energy
November 3, 2017

American Oversight Launches ‘NAFTA Watch’

Department of Commerce, White House - Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
October 31, 2017

American Oversight Sues State Department for Records Showing Efforts to Compel Mexico to Pay for Border Wall

Department of State
October 17, 2017

5 Questions for Attorney General Sessions

Department of Justice
October 5, 2017

Lawsuit Seeks Records of Lolita Zinke’s Travel, Role at Department of the Interior

Department of the Interior
October 3, 2017

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s Calendars Show Deep Industry Connections

Environmental Protection Agency
September 29, 2017

“Serious, Likely Irreparable” Damage from Border Wall

Department of the Interior
September 7, 2017

Investigating EPA’s Attacks on a Journalist

Environmental Protection Agency
September 2, 2017

DOJ Confirms Trump Lied in “Wiretap” Tweets

Department of Justice, DOJ - Federal Bureau of Investigation
August 30, 2017

Watchdog Groups Launch Joint Investigation into EPA Oversight of Toxic Substances Control Act

August 28, 2017

Statement on EPA IG Investigation of Pruitt Travel

Environmental Protection Agency
August 1, 2017

American Oversight Obtains Attorney General Sessions SF-86 Signature Page

Department of Justice
August 1, 2017

Statement on Waiver of Environmental Regulations for Border Wall

July 27, 2017

Call for OSC Investigation of Pruitt Travel to Oklahoma

Environmental Protection Agency
July 21, 2017

American Oversight Calls for Resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Department of Justice, DOJ - Federal Bureau of Investigation
July 19, 2017

American Oversight Demands Answers about Outsourcing of Carrier Jobs

Department of Commerce, Department of the Treasury, White House - Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
July 13, 2017

DOJ Releases Redacted Page of Sessions’s SF-86 to American Oversight

Department of Justice, DOJ - Federal Bureau of Investigation
July 11, 2017

Investigation of Trump Administration Actions and the AT&T-Time Warner Merger

Department of Justice
June 27, 2017

American Oversight Sues EPA to Release Pruitt’s Calendars and Communications with Carl Icahn

Environmental Protection Agency
June 22, 2017

American Oversight and Environmental Working Group Challenge EPA Over Failure to Release Pesticide Records

Environmental Protection Agency
May 24, 2017

After American Oversight Lawsuit, DOJ Confirms that Sessions Lied about Russian Contacts

Department of Justice, DOJ - Federal Bureau of Investigation
May 16, 2017

American Oversight Demands Release of Comey-Trump Memos

Department of Justice, DOJ - Federal Bureau of Investigation
May 12, 2017

Letter to Burr and Warner: Senate Should Request Trump-Comey Tapes

Department of Justice, DOJ - Federal Bureau of Investigation
May 10, 2017

Statement on the Firing of FBI Director Comey

DOJ - Federal Bureau of Investigation
May 10, 2017

Ethics Watchdog Calls for IG Investigation of Sessions for Violating Recusal

Department of Justice, DOJ - Federal Bureau of Investigation
April 19, 2017

American Oversight Sues DOJ for Release of Trump Tower Wiretap Records, Russia Investigation Documents

Department of Justice, DOJ - Federal Bureau of Investigation, White House
April 12, 2017

American Oversight and Environmental Working Group Demand Release of Pruitt Communications with Pesticide Industry

Environmental Protection Agency
April 4, 2017

10 Questions about the Border Wall that Deserve Big, Beautiful Answers

Department of Homeland Security, Department of the Interior, DHS - U.S. Customs and Border Protection
March 28, 2017

Statement on Trump Administration Proposal to Build Border Wall South of Rio Grande

Department of the Interior
March 24, 2017

American Oversight Launches Investigation of President Trump’s Border Wall

Department of Homeland Security
March 22, 2017

Statement on Intelligence Committee Chairman Nunes’ Actions

March 17, 2017

American Oversight Calls on Congress to Investigate Trump Aide’s Reported Ties to Nazi Group

Office of Government Ethics, White House