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Political Litigation

Conservative Watchdog Files Lawsuit Over Buttigieg Travel Records

— June 16, 2023

The conservative organization claims that the F.A.A. has refused repeated records requests pertaining to Buttigieg’s alleged use of private government jets.

A conservative advocacy organization has filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration, claiming that the Federal Aviation Administration has refused public records requests relating to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s use of private government airplanes.

According to FOX News, the complaint was filed earlier this week by Americans for Public Trust, a watchdog group that has been described as “right of center.”

In its lawsuit, Americans for Public Trust claims that it repeatedly requested records detailing how often Buttigieg has used the F.A.A.’s fleet of private jets.

The organization was also purportedly seeking information on the cost of such flights.

However, Americans for Public Trust now says that the F.A.A. improperly and illegally failed to respond to its requests in a timely manner.

“Pete Buttigieg abused taxpayer dollars by using a private jet to fly domestically and internationally,” Americans for Public Trust Executive Director Caitlin Sutherland told FOX News Digital. “It’s been six months since we helped expose Secretary Buttigieg’s trips, but his agency refuses to tell the American people how much they’re on the hook for his extravagant travel arrangements.”

The silhouette of a commercial aircraft backed by a vivid sunset.
Public domain image by Karen Arnold, courtesy of CC0

“Buttigieg’s FAA has stonewalled and refused to adhere to the law for releasing public records, so we’re filing suit on behalf of all Americans who deserve to know how their money is being spent by this administration,” Sutherland added.

FOX News notes that, in its complaint, Americans for Public Trust alleges that more than 100 days have elapsed since the Federal Aviation Administration acknowledged receipt of the organization’s records requests.

“The FAA has not communicated with APT concerning whether the FAA will fulfill its FOIA requests since missing two self-imposed extended deadlines of May 1 and May 18, 2023,” the lawsuit alleges. “Nor has the FAA provided any indication as to when APT can expect its requests to be processed.”

“The only documents that the FAA has produced to APT were documents previously produced in response to a FOIA request from a different party, and the documents produced are not fully responsive to all three of APT’s requests,” Americans for Public Trust attorneys wrote. “APT accordingly brings this lawsuit to compel the FAA to immediately respond to APT’s FOIA requests and promptly disclose all responsive, non-exempt records.”

Under the Freedom of Information Act, federal agencies are generally required to provide any requested records within 20 working days, with some critical exceptions.

The federal Department of Transportation had previously audited Buttigieg’s office.

The Department of Transportation has since said that it “welcomed” the audit, insofar as it provides an opportunity for the agency to dispel allegedly unmeritorious claims.

“We welcome this independent audit moving forward in order to put some of the false, outlandish, and cynical claims about the Secretary’s mode of travel to rest. The fact remains that he flies commercially the vast majority of the time,” a Department of Transportation spokesperson said in a press release.


Biden admin hit with lawsuit for stonewalling Pete Buttigieg’s government jet records

FAA sued by government watchdog for delaying release of Buttigieg’s flight records

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