ATLANTA — Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Wednesday he has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice for information regarding the DOJ's lawsuit against Georgia's Election Integrity Act of 2021, formerly SB 202.
Raffensperger said he's suing the DOJ for any communication the federal agency may have had with opponents of the law in efforts to overturn it.
“Considering how blatantly political the Biden lawsuit against Georgia’s commonsense election law was from the beginning, it’s no surprise they would stonewall our request for basic transparency,” Raffensperger said. “I will always fight for truth and integrity in Georgia’s elections.”
Raffensperger filed the lawsuit asking the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to require the DOJ to comply with federal law regarding his Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA) request.
On Aug. 31, Raffensperger sent a FOIA request to the DOJ seeking any communication discussing Georgia's new election law or the Biden lawsuit against the law, between 62 identified outside individuals, entities, members of congress or their staff.
The FOIA request is also seeking documents used by the DOJ to determine if and when a state's election law violates federal law.
Raffensperger said a response has not been given after 92 calendar days– 62 work days. He said they've only received confirmation that their request has been received.
By federal law, the DOJ's FOIA guidance is expected to respond within 20 days, or approximately one month of work days.
11Alive asked Raffensberger about a recent settlement involving his own office's response to a public records request from a government watchdog organization. He said his department was also overwhelmed with requests because they only have two people to handle them and they responded as quickly as possible.
"I think it's unreasonable because that's an organization that has unlimited funds, they put the money up in Washington D.C., they have thousands of employees that work in the DOJ, they have the resources, they're just don't want to do it and they're stonewalling us," Raffensperger said. "We've increased the number of days of early voting, so we have a lot of issues and we want to know what did Stacey Abrams, and what did these other 60 organizations that we've identified, how did they influence your decision?"
Raffensperger calls the move "politically motivated" and added that they just want to know the correspondence between them for an open and transparent process.
"We want to know a simple question 'where'd you come up with this idea of suing the state of Georgia over SB202?' Many of our practices are very similar to what we have in other states," he said.
The complaint pointed out other states such as Delaware, New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland and Wisconsin have similar election rules, and the DOJ has not filed lawsuits against those states.
11Alive has reached out to the DOJ for response but hasn't heard back yet.