August 23, 2017

CREW requests the following:

  1. Copies of all records pertaining to the authorization for and payment of Secretary Ben Carson’s trip to Phoenix, Arizona on or before August 22, 2017, to speak at a campaign rally President Donald Trump held;
  2. Copies of records reflecting who accompanied Secretary Carson on that trip; and
  3. Copies of all records indicating or reflecting which individual or individuals helped Secretary Carson prepare the speech he gave at the President’s August 22 rally.

On August 22, 2017, at what was billed as a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona for President Trump, Secretary Carson presented a speech. He was introduced to the crowd as “[t]he Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development[.] ” Legal experts already are suggesting his appearance may have violated the Hatch Act because he appeared at a  campaign rally in his official capacity. Id. 

The requested records would go a long way toward answering the question of the Secretary’s capacity at the rally, the extent to which his participation was taxpayer-funded, and the extent to which other HUD officials assisted the Secretary in making a campaign-related speech. Clearly, the requested records pertain to a matter of great public interest.

Read the FOIA request here.