A legal action has been brought by the well-known conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for allegedly hiding details about a grant that exceeded $350,000. The University of Dayton received the grant to study “domestic violence extremism and hate movements,” and according to the Heritage Foundation, there is a connection between neo-Nazi organizations and the Republican Party as well as the conservative group Fox News. The DHS is accused of failing to reply to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in the lawsuit, which was filed on Tuesday in Washington, DC.
Claims and Violations: In the case, Joseph Edlow and Samuel Dewey of the Heritage Foundation claim that DHS has consistently disregarded their FOIA request for details regarding the grant that the University of Dayton was given. The conservative group claims that DHS suppressed non-exempt documents and failed to produce any responsive records, constituting two federal breaches.
Program and Grant Controversial: In fiscal year 2022, Homeland Security authorized the grant under consideration as a component of its Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program. The grant-winning PREVENTS-OH program at the University of Dayton hosted a lecture with a “pyramid of far-right radicalization” that linked neo-Nazi organizations to mainstream conservative groups including the Republican Party, Heritage, and Fox News.
Heritage’s Concerns: The lawyers representing Heritage Foundation stated that they hoped the case will establish if DHS had singled out the group for attention or if it considers them to be on par with neo-Nazis. The claims have sparked concerns about the DHS’s possible bias and how it views conservative groups.
DHS Reaction and Award Specifications: The Department of Homeland Security has not yet reacted to inquiries regarding the complaint. The government had earlier notified Heritage on August 9 that there were “voluminous” FOIA search results and asked the group to focus their request.
The contentious pyramid was displayed during a seminar at the University of Dayton and featured well-known hate groups alongside mainstream conservative organizations. DHS claims that although it did not pay or approve of the lecture, the university included it in its grant application for money for its Homeland Security program.