CREW sues SSA for lack of response to its FOIA request

Washington: A citizens watchdog group has filed a lawsuit against the Social Security Administration (SSA) after the agency didn't respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request regarding $1.8 million worth of contracts with Fleishman-Hillard with

Washington: A citizens watchdog group has filed a lawsuit against the Social Security Administration (SSA) after the agency didn't respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request regarding $1.8 million worth of contracts with Fleishman-Hillard with

The group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), filed FOIA requests with 22 federal agencies, asking for copies of PR contracts after the Armstrong Williams/Ketchum fallout in January. The lawsuit seeks the immediate release of the contracts with Fleishman.

Melanie Sloan, CREW executive director, said her group was trying to determine if the contracts involved messaging about the President's claims that Social Security is in a crisis - efforts that have already led to accusations of covert propaganda.

Fleishman GM Martha Boudreau said the firm doesn't do work for the agency that deals with Social Security reform.

Jim Courtney, a spokesman for the SSA, added that the agency has not engaged in any contracts with outside PR firms for campaigns related to Social Security reform.

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