FOIA Request Follows White House’s Unfounded and Unlawful Determination That There’s No “Practical Utility” In Data Necessary for Securing Pay Equity


WASHINGTON, D.C.— Democracy Forward filed a Freedom of Information Action (FOIA) request today with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for records detailing Assistant to the President Ivanka Trump’s role in unlawfully rolling back a critical transparency requirement designed to root out wage discrimination and close the wage gap.

The request follows Ivanka Trump’s stated support for the White House’s determination that there is no “practical utility” in collecting pay data correlated with employees’ race and gender, even though the EEOC found this data was necessary to enforce anti-discrimination laws and secure pay equity. Despite Ms. Trump’s repeated statements in support of equal pay for women, the move eliminated pay  transparency protections for more than 24 million women.

“Ivanka Trump’s claim to be an advocate for women rings hollow when she actively harms efforts to secure equal pay for women,” said Democracy Forward Executive Director Anne Harkavy. “This action by the White House is both unlawful and unfair to women, yet Ivanka Trump supported it, despite vowing to fight for pay equity.”

Ms. Trump’s refusal to support this equal pay protection conflicts with the statement she made during the 2016 Republican National Convention:

July 2016: “My father values talent….He will fight for equal pay for equal work, and I will fight for this too, right along side of him.”

Neither Ivanka Trump, nor the Trump Administration, have taken any policy action to advance equal pay.

To the contrary, rolling back policies designed to empower women has been a signature achievement of the Trump Administration. In addition to halting the EEOC’s plan to collect employee pay data, since taking office, President Trump has repealed President Obama’s college sexual assault initiative, proposed gutting the State Department office that works to end gender-based violence abroad, and removed research on sexual violence from the White House website. The Administration has also made it easier for employers to deny women contraception coverage, halted a Department of Labor effort to reduce domestic abuse, sexual assault, and other workplace violence in the healthcare industry, and rolled back limits on forced arbitration for workplace sexual assault and harassment victims. Recently, the Administration threatened to cut millions of dollars in sexual assault prevention funding from cities refusing to comply with President Trump’s immigration policies and objected to increased rights for victims of sexual assault in the military.

In the FOIA request filed today Democracy Forward seeks:

  • Correspondence between OMB and Ivanka Trump, her staff or close associates related to the decision to stay the previously approved equal pay data collection;
  • Correspondence suggesting Ivanka Trump’s statement in support of eliminating the equal pay rule was designed to provide cover for the Trump Administration and deflect attention away from President Trump.
  • In light of recent reports that Ivanka Trump has conducted government business over a personal email account, the request extends to related correspondence sent from and any associated accounts.

Yesterday, Democracy Forward, the National Women’s Law Center, and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement sued the government for this illegal action, seeking to reinstate the data collection.


Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy area,s represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.

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