In response to the recent anti-racism protests, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad Wolf created a task force that appears to increase protection of national monuments from graffiti and vandalism. Named the Protecting American Communities Task Force (PACT), the committee has been widely scrutinized, especially given its distressing lack of clarity around the functions of the force. With Trump’s recurring condemnation of anti-racism protesters, the public needs to know whether the creation of this task force was in order to push forward Trump’s political agenda over the needs of the public.
CREW has requested DHS records explaining the creation, funding, and resourcing of the PACT and clarity around the criteria in place to deploy DHS agents to guard monuments.
As the country grapples with the devastating health and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the public deserves to know if funding for protections of monuments is being prioritized over protection of people. DHS has long existed with little to no transparency around its processes and this program is no exception. Trump and Wolf’s growing expansion of DHS’s power in suppressing protests has raised constitutional concerns and questions around the increasingly secretive but powerful trajectory of an agency which has existed for less than 20 years. The public needs to know what activities their government is funding, particularly during a time where much of the country is hurting from the pandemic.