Welcome to “The Brief,” a monthly roundup of Democracy Forward’s latest work to hold the Trump administration accountable. Read on below for news of our victories, newest filings, latest case updates, and resources to learn more.


Court rejects Trump admin’s refusal to search the private email account Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross used for gov business
  • In a victory for transparency and accountability, a federal judge ruled in our lawsuit that it was unreasonable for the Commerce Dept. to exclude Sec. Ross’s personal email account from the FOIA record search.
  • This decision comes after Commerce dragged its feet for over two years. An official investigation by the National Archives and Records Administration was launched last year and is still ongoing.

What comes next? We’ll be fighting to ensure Commerce complies with the Court’s order. In the meantime, make sure you’re subscribed for next month’s update and learn more about the long fight on our case page →

Trump admin calls COVID-19 special enrollment period for health insurance “unwarranted”
  • In its first court filing responding to our lawsuit on behalf of the City of Chicago, the Trump administration told the court “current information does not establish that a COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period (SEP) is warranted.”
  • This despite the fact that over 150k Americans have died from COVID-19, over 4.5 million have been infected, and millions have lost their health insurance.
  • These court filings also reveal that a federal ACA special enrollment period was urgently requested by a diverse group — including health experts, insurers, providers, Democratic and Republican governors alike, members of Congress, and large employers.
  • One insurer noted: “The cost of delaying action and leaving people uninsured seems higher than any […] risk from a SEP.”

What comes next? We’ve filed our reply to the Trump administration’s arguments and expect their final response in a week. Follow us on Twitter for our latest updates and reactions or check the case page here →

Pompeo’s unlawful Commission releases its Report: an event that was dangerous in more ways than one
  • On July 16th, Secretary Pompeo and the Commission on Unalienable Rights presented the culmination of its work at an in-person event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.
  • The logistics of the meeting were not only absurd but unlawful. Pompeo and the Commission members traveled to another state amidst a pandemic essentially for a photo op. And then Pompeo’s speech was live-streamed (and extreme), but the Commission’s own “public meeting” that followed was in-person only.
  • Pandemic aside, this glossy “draft” report is still the product of an unlawful process. When this email hits your inbox, the Commission’s report will have finished its two-week comment period on July 30th.
  • It’s been reported that Pompeo has already started encouraging the State Department to use the released report as guidance (so much for the “draft” part).

What comes next? Our fight in court on behalf of four human rights organizations continues; we’re awaiting a decision on our suit to ensure the Commission is shuttered and that the State Dept. cannot rely on its work. Learn more about this Commission on our case page →

On our reading (and play)list

“What We Can Learn From Feminist Federal Credit Unions”
Cecilia Nowell | The Nation

Tl;dr — An important piece on the crucial need to address unequal access to credit and how our lawsuit with the California Reinvestment Coalition helped ensure the Trump administration follows the law on collecting data on banks’ record of lending to women, people of color, and small businesses.

And take a listen to our expert team on these podcasts —
  • Robin Thurston, Senior Counsel, on REDIRECT breaking down our lawsuit challenging the Dept. of Labor’s abrupt upending of its visa certification program for immigrant workers who help investigate workplace crimes: Dodge Caravans, U-Visas, and Executive Order Bills