Americans For Prosperity Foundation Sues DHS Over Secretary Mayorkas’ Private Email Use During Disinformation Governance Board Launch

Mar 20, 2023 by AFPF

ARLINGTON, VA—Americans For Prosperity Foundation (AFPF) filed suit to enforce a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records related Secretary Mayorkas’ use of private email to conduct official government business.

AFPF discovered Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ use of private email for official business after filing a separate FOIA request for records related to the formation of the Disinformation Governance Board, announced by the Biden administration last April. Following the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) failure to produce records in a timely manner, AFPF filed suit to force production.

Read AFPF’s op-ed in the New York Post here.

DHS subsequently produced records revealing DHS Secretary Mayorkas used a private email account for government business. DHS confirmed the private email use but claimed no further records would be found and implied no policy was violated.

DHS previously made headlines in 2015 when it was reported then Secretary Jeh Johnson and several dozen high-ranking DHS officials, including Mayorkas, were given waivers to use private email for personal use on agency computers for more than a year after the agency banned doing so.

Considering the DHS’s track record and a subject as controversial as the Disinformation Governance Board, AFPF filed a second FOIA request to learn the extent of Secretary Mayorkas’ use of private email to conduct official business.

AFPF Policy Counsel Ryan Mulvey released the following statement:

One of the most nefarious ways executive branch officials evade FOIA is by using private email to conduct official business. Because private accounts are not generally subject to the FOIA, these unofficial channels of communication provide a sort of cloak of secrecy.

The track record of federal officials, the lack of transparency from DHS, and the highly controversial subject matter means this warrants a full investigation.

There cannot be a full accounting of the Orwellian Disinformation Governance Board if relevant records are hidden in the private email of the top decision maker at DHS. That’s why AFPF is committed to finding out exactly how Secretary Mayorkas is using his private email for government business.

AFPF and Americans for Prosperity immediately raised concerns when news of the Disinformation Governance Board first broke last year — kicking off an investigation seeking answers to key questions about the board and offering thousands of concerned citizens a path to engage. Learn more about AFPF’s and AFP’s work to hold government accountable and protect civil liberties for all Americans.