The Food and Drug Administration was just told by a federal judge in Texas that no, it can’t take 75 years to release documents showing the process of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine licensing approval — that it has to cough up the data within about eight months.
That’s a significant win for open government advocates.
The fact the FDA feigned inability to provide the crucial documents in Freedom of Information Act requesters’ lifetimes was an abysmal abuse of government power in the first place. Who needs 75 years to give the public what the public already owns?
The backstory is that Public Health and Medical Professionals launched a FOIA suit against the FDA, claiming the agency was taking too dang long to release the requested 400,000-plus pages of data. Yes, that’s a lot of data — but too bad. If government wants to create a quagmire of bureaucracy for citizens to then sift for answers, then government assumes responsibility for dealing with the quagmire of bureaucracy it creates.
It’s not that the FDA denied the release of the documents.
But citing staffing issues, the agency said it could only release roughly 12,000 pages by the end of this month and around 500 pages a month thereafter — meaning, mathematically speaking, it’d be about 2097 before all the documents were given to the public for perusal.
And yet Americans, ’til then, are supposed to trust in the Anthony Fauci-like dictates to take the shots, get the booster, get the next booster, get the next booster after that, and simply and blindly obey. That is not the American way. This is not the thinking American’s way.
A core facet of limited governance is open governance.
If citizens aren’t given the ability to see what government’s doing, then how can citizens ensure their government is functioning properly and constitutionally?
The fact the FDA would dare suggest a 75-year timeline is in itself a red flag. Even those who believe fully in government-created vaccines and who are willing, quite willing, to follow blindly any and all government recommendations-slash-mandates, must realize the FDA’s beg for a full generation’s time is not a good look.
U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman put it this way: “[T]his FOIA request is of paramount public importance.”
He also recognized that the FOIA request could be seen as “unduly burdensome,” but then shrugged that off with a ‘deal with it’ ruling. He ordered the FDA to produce 55,000 pages per month, instead of 500.
The FDA says it only has 10 employees who are tasked with reviewing FOIA requests and that it takes about eight minutes to “perform a careful line-by-line, word-by-word review of all responsive records before producing them in response to a FOIA request,” according to Suzann Burk, with the agency’s Division of Disclosure and Oversight Management, Reuters reported.
Too bad. So sad. Better get going then.
Thing is, government is there to serve the people.
If government cannot perform its foundational function of humble service, then it’s government that must change — not the people.
And government can always, always, always find money to hire when it wants.
“Biden proposes doubling IRS workforce,” Politico reported in May 2021.
“Biden swells the ranks of his White House climate team,” The Washington Post reported in January 2021.
“Biden looks to have federal government provide lawyers for migrants at border,” Yahoo! Reported in August 2021.
See how easy it can be?
The FDA has zero excuses. Let the sunshine blast forth.
For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE. Her latest book, “Socialists Don’t Sleep: Christians Must Rise Or America Will Fall,” is available by clicking HERE.