Freedom Watch chief Larry Klayman, who founded Judicial Watch and made a name for himself suing Bill and Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and a slew of foreign dictators, is asking Barack Obama to play by the rules in his establishment of a team to advise him on gun control.
Klayman, whose cases against Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have made headlines, became so well-known that a character in the TV series “West Wing,” Harry Klaypool, was based on his work.
Now he’s jumping all over the plan by Obama to have vice president Joe Biden head up a team to offer plans for gun control.
Obama has said a comprehensive approach is needed to reduce the nation’s gun violence – much more than just resurrecting a now-dead ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.
So he appointed Biden to a working group to look at proposals such as universal background checks for gun buyers, government tracking of the movement of weapons and stiffer penalties.
The reaction follows the massacre in Newtown, Conn., in which 20-year-old Adam Lanza is accused of killing his mother, then going to a nearby school and killing 20 children and another five adults.
Reports confirm White House aides have been collecting information and ideas from gun-control advocates such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The plan is for the Biden team to make recommendations to Obama this month.
Now Klayman has written to the White House, addressing his letter to “Barack Hussein Obama, President (Designate).”
“On Dec. 19, 2012, you announced the creation of the new Gun Control Task Force, to be headed by Vice President Joe Biden. On Dec. 20, 2012, Vice President Biden met with members of the law enforcement community and other private and/or non-governmental interests for the first meeting of this task force,” Klayman noted.
The task force, he charged, violates federal law.
“By designating this newly formed task force, which is a presidential advisory committee, de jure and/or de facto, you have made the meeting subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act … which applies to ‘any committee, board, commission, council, conference, panel, task force, or other similar group’ that dispenses ‘advice or recommendations’ to the president of the United States.
“Pursuant to FACA, a task force must publish within the Federal Registry notice of any meeting 15 days prior to that meeting, and the meetings must be made open to the public,” Klayman explained. “The first meeting of this task force was held a single day after its creation, without the required notice requirements having been met.”
Klayman said that under the law he is demanding “access to all subsequent task force meetings, as well as copies of all minutes and records, in paper, electronic, or any other format (including but not limited to emails), from the first and/or any subsequent meetings to date within twenty days of this letter.”
“If such a request is not met, Freedom Watch will be forced to file suit to enforce FACA’s provisions. I trust that the appropriate actions will be undertaken on behalf of our administration,” he wrote.
Klayman earlier took the White House to task over a nearly identical issue: an advisory committee assembled by Obama to advise him on the new tax requirements in Obamacare.
The case, before U.S. District Judge Richard W. Roberts, remains in the courts.
Klayman is challenging Obama to provide details about White House advisory groups that worked for Obama. The case was brought over the Obama Health Reform De Facto Advisory Committee and whether the White House complied with the Federal Advisory Committee Act in consulting with lobbying groups and industry interests in creating the Obamacare tax plan.
The judge said some claims over the compliance were dismissed as moot as the advisory group no longer met once Obamacare’s taxes were adopted by Congress. But he said remaining is the claim for minutes of the committee’s past meetings.
When Obama wanted the case dismissed, the judge said Freedom Watch’s argument that the information about the committee’s past meetings is sparse “had merit.”
“The declaration does not present any reasonably full list of the names of the participants, but only identifies a few examples of attendees and then refers to a website that does not purport to present any comprehensive record of the discussions,” the judge wrote.
“More significantly, the declaration fails to provide enough details to permit an assessment of whether the individuals who participated in the health care reform discussions were asked to render collective advice or produce any other type of collaborative work product.
“The record as it stands therefore is insufficient to support summary judgment,” he said.
Previously, the White House refused to give up information about negotiations with various groups over Obamacare, saying Obama has a “privilege” to keep such communications concealed.
Klayman formerly worked for the U.S. Justice Department.