The White House is ordering federal agencies to overlook oversight requests from Democratic legislators, Politico reports.
Republican sources in and out of the administration told Politico that a White House lawyer, Uttam Dhillon, instructed agencies not to cooperate with Democrats' requests at meetings with high-ranking government officials in the spring.
According to these sources, the GOP hopes to keep Democrats from obtaining any new information they could use to attack the party or President Donald Trump.
"You have Republicans leading the House, the Senate and the White House," one White House official said. "I don't think you'd have the Democrats responding to every minority member request if they were in the same position."
One unnamed senior Democratic aide said that of the 225 oversight letters sent from Democratic senators, most went unanswered.
"When it comes to almost anything we've done at a federal agency, very close to 100 percent of those we haven't heard anything back. And at the White House, it's definitely 100 percent," said another senior Democratic aide. "This is rampant all over committee land."
The White House, through a spokeswoman, told Politico that the policy serves "to accommodate the requests of chairmen, regardless of their political party," though all the committee chairs in Congress are controlled by Republicans.
The Trump administration replies to "all non-oversight inquiries, including the Senate's inquiries for purposes of providing advice and consent on nominees, without regard to the political party of the requester," according to the spokeswoman. "Multiple agencies have, in fact, responded to minority member requests. No agencies have been directed not to respond to minority requests."
Although Republicans did complain that the Obama administration was slow to respond to requests, one former GOP staffer told Politico, "What I do not remember is a blanket request from the Obama administration not to respond to Republicans."
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