The American Accountability Foundation (AAF) filed suit Wednesday against the Biden administration to obtain documents related to its handling of the border crisis. The suit is the continuation of a year-long investigation regarding the administration’s relationship with and alleged conflicts of interests regarding Family Endeavors; a firm contracted to help the administration handle the border crisis.
The broader relationship between the administration and Family Endeavors, whose senior director for federal affairs is a former Biden official, is also the subject of an ongoing congressional investigation.
The suit is in response to the failure of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to comply with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents related to the administration’s six hundred million dollar contracts with Family Endeavors for their assistance with housing migrants being detained on the southern border.
The FOIA requests were first submitted in April of 2021, after Family Endeavors war awarded six hundred million dollars worth of federal contracts in a no-bid process. Typically, when the federal government wishes to contract something, they have to allow interested parties to bid on the contract. However, ICE cited “unusual and compelling urgency,” allowing them to award the contract without bidding.
Tom Jones, a former Trump official who is the founder of the AAF, stated that “Aside from the efforts at DHS and HHS to cover up the crisis at our southern border with this housing contract, they also displayed the worst type of government cronyism. Instead of ignoring our FOIA requests, DHS and HHS need to come clean to the American people about the clear conflict of interest with this contract and prioritize sound policy over political favors for their friends.”
Andrew Lorenzen-Strait, Family Endeavors’ Senior Director for Migrant Services & Federal Affairs, is a former ICE official who served as an advisor to the Biden administration’s transitional team in regards to the policy and staffing of DHS. He also ran a consulting firm, which advised clients on federal procurement practices.