May 9, 2018 Press Release

On Azar’s 100th Day in Office, Watchdog Group Sues for Secretary’s Schedule

05.09.18 – Today, on U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar’s 100th day on the job, Equity Forward filed a lawsuit to obtain Azar’s schedule, visitor logs, and other materials related to staff meetings from January and February 2018.

Equity Forward has filed two FOIA requests with the office. They can be found HERE and HERE. Equity Forward initially submitted these Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests in February and March 2018, and the agency has refused to disclose this basic public information.

To view Equity Forward’s memo on Azar’s first 100 days in office, click HERE.

“When Alex Azar was sworn in, we had hoped that he would take control of an agency that had allowed ideologues to run amok. Instead of bringing order in his first 100 days, Alex Azar has instead emboldened and empowered activists who are changing policies that have worked for decades and in doing so has endangered the health and well being of vulnerable people,” said Equity Forward executive director Mary Alice Carter. “Unlike some appointees at HHS, Alex Azar has not spent his career attacking reproductive health care, so who has his ear? Who is he meeting with to drive these destructive policies? It is time that the Secretary answer to the people: What does he have to hide? We will do everything we can to hold Secretary Azar and HHS accountable.”

When Secretary Azar took the helm of HHS, he claimed to be committed to transparency. But to date, Equity Forward has filed more than 60 FOIA requests — none of which have yielded responsive records. The suit filed today marks the fourth active lawsuit that the group has filed to hold HHS accountable for its failures to comply with federal open records laws. The three previous suits concern the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), the Office of Civil Rights, and the Office of Population Affairs.

In addition to the lawsuit, today Equity Forward also submitted a new FOIA request for copies of all calendars or calendar entries, schedules and/or travel itineraries for the months of March, April and May for Secretary Alex Azar and 13 other HHS officials.

Read the complaint HERE.