A Tale of Two FOIAs

In May of this year, Dr. Anthony Fauci made some statements to Senator Rand Paul during a hearing which caught my attention.  Those patently false statements, for which Dr. Fauci hasn’t been held accountable, launched one of the most in-depth article series I have ever written.  During the course of my research, I had an NIH/NIAID whistleblower approach me with information and direction on my investigation which required that I FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) numerous documents and communications from within those federal agencies.

As part of most FOIA requests (I have made numerous FOIA requests in the past), there are two questions regarding providing the information.  The first is whether or not you qualify for expedited filing and the second is whether or not you qualify for a fee waiver.  On my NIAID FOIA, I requested both expedited processing and a fee waiver.  Imagine my surprise, that despite being clearly in an act of investigative journalism (informing the public regarding the operations of a Federal Agency is one of the exemptions), the NIAID denied my expedited request.  Essentially, it was a slap to my face and the face of RedState, stating that neither I nor RedState amounted to “real journalism.”  Additionally, they stated that we would likely have to pay for the information because they had yet to make a determination on our fee waiver request.

NIAID Letter 1, Page 1
NIAID Letter 1, Page 2
NIAID Letter 2, Page 1
NIAID Letter 2, Page 2

The NIAID FOIA Department then approached me about “narrowing” my request, stating that it was “too broad,” despite focusing the search on specific keywords and people.  They have now requested twice that I remove certain people from my request, which I have refused to do.  Additionally, the information I have requested, for the most part, is digital.  That means that any “hands-on” searching for the requested information is significantly reduced.

Imagine my surprise when they told me it would be over a year before I could expect the return of my requested information.  While I certainly understand that a department that handles information on the biggest pandemic in a century, might be overwhelmed currently, denying me an expedited request amounts to petty retaliation for my journalistic work.

NIAID Email

Then, within the last two weeks, I had to again request information from the CDC regarding another investigative piece I wrote, this time regarding CDC Director Walensky’s husband’s access to a multi-million dollar grant for his four-month-old company.  Dr. Loren Walensky then went on to sell his million shares in March of 2021, after a 16.9 million dollar grant had been issued to his company.   In the wake of our article, a public affairs stooge at the CDC contacted both RedState and my source, syndicated radio talk show host Howie Carr, to issue veiled threats and cast aspersions on our independently sourced piece.

As a result, I then FOIA’d information regarding the sale of the stock and the public affairs campaign launched at the CDC, against the evidence that suggests favorable treatment in the awarding of the grant to Walensky’s company.  Expecting another FOIA fight, I made direct efforts to ensure that my request was as clear as possible.

In the days following my request, I received a letter from the CDC, which surprised me.  Not only were they granting both my expediting request, but they also granted the fee waiver on my request.  The person with whom I have been in contact at the CDC was nothing but professional, courteous, and direct, which allowed me to focus my search within the CDC records.  This person didn’t question why I requested the information I had requested (like the NIAID did), nor did they show any bias (you know… by stating we weren’t a real media organization).  After trading a few emails and some pleasant phone calls, I was told I would have my information in a few weeks.

CDC Letter, Page 1
CDC Letter, Page 2

Two FOIAS, Two federal agencies within the HHS, two completely different results.  How could the CDC grant our expediting and fee waiver, while the NIAID denied it?  The old adage, “If you’re getting flak, you’re over the target,” appears to be true in this case.  My requests were virtually identical.  The only difference, according to the information I have received, is that while the CDC request has the potential of making a few people uncomfortable, my NIAID request has the potential of destroying not only the legacy of Dr. Anthony Fauci and his flying monkey minions but also the accompanying narrative which the left has weaponized to label lockdown/mask/vaccine opponents as terrorists.

I sent my CDC determination letter to the NIAID to appeal their garbage expediting and fee waiver decision.  At the time of publishing this article, no response has been received.

I will continue to update you on this issue as more information comes to light…. even if it is in a year when I get my FOIA’d information back from the NIAID.  Hopefully, they see the light, expedite my request, and get me my information back much sooner than that.