The Washington Free Beacon has uncovered evidence that former top staffers for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign lawyer are quietly involved with a low-profile organization that uses litigation to take on the Trump administration and government agencies.
Lawyer Marc Elias and former campaign manager John Podesta have been identified as leaders of the Democracy Forward Foundation, a D.C.-based 501(c)3 nonprofit with a 501(c)4 arm called Democracy Forward. The organization describes itself as a “nonpartisan” group that “scrutinizes Executive Branch activity,” according to its mission statement.
The sister of Sen. Kamala Harris, the California Democrat who has been touted as a potential presidential candidate in 2020, and the political director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are also involved with the group, according to the Free Beacon.
“With a team of experienced litigators, researchers, and policy experts, Democracy Forward scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, challenges unlawful actions through litigation, and educates the public about improper government activity,” Democracy Forward’s website reads.
“We believe that whenever the Executive Branch pursues unlawful policies or violates the rules, our democracy suffers and real people are hurt,” it continues. “Democracy Forward was created to fight back and ensure those transgressions do not go unnoticed or unchallenged.”
The Democracy Forward Foundation and Democracy Forward were both incorporated on March 29, according to D.C. business records. Katherine LeBeau, an associate at the Perkins Coie law firm where Marc Elias is a partner, incorporated both groups. Perkins Coie was recently identified as the law firm used by the Clinton campaign and the DNC to pay for the infamous Trump dossier.
Democracy Forward has remained relatively unknown despite filing lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury, and the Office of Management and Budget. They have additionally filed complaints for injunctive relief against the Department of Transportation and Department of Defense.
Democracy Forward’s executive team features individuals who previously worked on Obama and Clinton campaigns despite calling itself as a “nonpartisan” group, the Free Beacon discovered.
“Anne Harkavy, the group’s executive director, was a senior legal advisor to the general counsel of Obama for America, Obama’s former campaign committee. Corey Ciorciari, its policy and strategy director who oversees Democracy Forward’s policy, research, and communications teams, was a policy advisor for Clinton during her 2016 campaign.
Javier Guzman, the legal director, came from the Department of Justice. Alex Hornbrook, Democracy Forward’s operations director, served as director of scheduling and advance for Hillary for America, Clinton’s campaign committee.”
Using litigation to fight the Trump administration is a key strategy for Democratic partisans.
David Brock, the conservative investigative reporter turned Clinton ally who founded Media Matters, discussed using litigation in confidential documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon in January.
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