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Insider is suing the Biden administration for secret Trump and Pence staffing records

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donald trump mike pence
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on November 2, 2020. Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty
  • Insider filed a lawsuit Monday in federal court against the General Services Administration.

  • The agency withheld names of nine Trump and Pence staffers following Insider's FOIA requests.

  • Insider is asking the court to force the release of records naming the Trump and Pence employees.

Insider Inc. is suing the Biden administration to obtain the names of staffers who have this year earned taxpayer-funded paychecks while working for former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in the US District Court of the District of Columbia, seeks to compel the General Services Administration to provide the names of nine staff members who worked for Trump and Pence in the months after they left office.

Those staffers continued to serve as federal employees and received federal paychecks for as many as six months after the conclusion of the Trump administration.

Some of them may still be working for Trump in the government-sanctioned Office of the Former President, which Trump is using to advance his political agenda as he hints at another bid for the White House in 2024.

In response to a series of Freedom of Information Act requests from Insider's senior correspondent Robin Bravender, the General Services Administration released the names of some staffers who continued to work for Trump and Pence, including the Trump aides Stephen Miller and Dan Scavino.

The General Services Administration also revealed that several Pence aides, including his former chief of staff Marc Short and former director of strategic initiatives Paul Teller, stayed on the former vice president's team.

But GSA withheld the names of five Trump employees and four Pence employees who worked on the transition, citing a privacy exemption. The agency denied Insider's administrative appeals of this decision, saying "disclosure of the names would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy" of the Trump and Pence staffers.

Insider argues in its lawsuit that the GSA is incorrect and illegally withholding the requested information.

The "requested records are not exempt under FOIA," Insider said in the complaint. "According to the U.S. Department of Justice's FOIA Guide, 'civilian federal employees who are not involved in law enforcement or sensitive occupations generally have no expectation of privacy regarding their names, titles, grades, salaries, and duty stations as employees.'"

Insider is asking the court to declare that GSA has violated FOIA and to order GSA to produce the names of the Trump and Pence staffers.

"The public has a right to know who is earning a taxpayer-funded salary to work for Donald Trump and Mike Pence, and Insider will continue to fight to obtain that information until it does," Insider's Washington bureau chief, Darren Samuelsohn, said.

Headquartered in New York City, Insider Inc. is the global news company behind Insider and Business Insider, with offices and bureaus in London, Singapore, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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