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Turk Memo

District of Columbia · February 13, 2018

Brady’s success in exposing government inaction made front-page news in 2018 in The New York Times, and were covered by CNN and other publications around the country. In 2018 alone Brady prevailed on numerous Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) requests and lawsuits, forcing executive agencies to produce documents that exposed the Trump Administration’s formation and implementation of gun policy, and the ATF’s oversight -- and lack of oversight -- of the gun industry. The Brady Center filed four lawsuits against the Trump Administration over five FOIA requests that the government failed to respond to months after they were legally required to do so. The results of Brady’s ongoing efforts have so far exposed undue corporate gun lobby influence over policy-making and extensive ATF failure to effectively police known bad actors in the gun industry.

One story dated back to inauguration day in 2016, when Donald Trump (after taking over $30 million of NRA money) was being sworn in, and the ATF’s second highest ranking official was finalizing a white paper with policy recommendations that read like the gun lobby’s wish list. Once news of the white paper broke, the Brady Center filed a FOIA request demanding that the Trump Administration disclose documents explaining the gun lobby’s role, and when the government stonewalled, Brady went to court. Brady won, forcing the Trump Administration to hand over the documents. Then Brady exposed what they were trying to hide: an outside gun industry lawyer and lobbyist helped the ATF official write the policy paper. The documents also exposed a culture of secrecy in the ATF and the agency’s desire to limit the leak and hide the damage. “First rule of Fight Club is not to talk about Fight Club” one ATF official said to another another in response for comment about the white paper.


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