The Heritage Foundation is suing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for records related to its decision to fund a program that likened the think tank and other conservative organizations to neo-Nazi militants.
Heritage’s Oversight Project filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the DHS for records connected to the agency’s Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program (TVTP) that sent more than $350,000 to a project at the University of Dayton responsible for generating a “pyramid of far right-radicalization” that compared the Republican party and prominent conservative organizations to neo-Nazis.
BREAKING: The Heritage Foundation @OversightPR is suing the Biden administration for records related to DHS funding a university program that likened conservatives to nazis @DailyCaller pic.twitter.com/EhvymmsINX
— James Lynch (@jameslynch32) October 25, 2023
The MRC said in a summary of the documents that DHS was resisting its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for additional documents. Likewise, the Heritage Foundation’s lawsuit comes after the DHS did not comply with a Heritage FOIA request, the organization said in a press release. (RELATED: ‘Weaponize The Federal Government’: Ted Cruz Calls Out DHS-Funded Group For Comparing Conservatives To Terrorists)
The DHS sent $352,109 to the University of Dayton’s PREVENTS-OH Program, which purports to combat “domestic violent extremism” in Ohio, where the university is located. The program discloses its DHS funding on its website without including the specific dollar amount.
“DHS does not profile, target, or discriminate against any individual for exercising their constitutional rights protected by the First Amendment. The Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevent Grant Program has been administered across several administrations and it provides funding for communities to expand their prevention and intervention activities or address gaps in current prevention capabilities,” a DHS spokesperson told the Daily Caller in a statement.
In Dec. 2021, a seminar held by the Dayton program featured a “Pyramid of Far-Right Radicalization.” The pyramid grouped Heritage with Fox News, the National Rifle Association and the Republican Party in the category of “mainstream conservatism.” The second tier included “alt-lite” outlets and organizations like PragerU, InfoWars and Turning Point USA. The third was labeled “alt-right” and featured overtly white supremacist outlets like the Daily Stormer and American Renaissance, while the fourth featured groups dedicated to “accelerationist terrorism,” per the pyramid.
Dayton’s subsequent application for TVTP funding featured the seminar in a footnote, Fox News reported. Dayton’s program later received an award from TVTP unrelated to the seminar.
“It’s a sad day in America when patriotic citizens have to sue their own government for targeting them. The subversive element that has taken over the Department of Homeland Security gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to fellow travelers at a university program that labeled us as extremists but illegally refused to comply with the law and turn over documents related to their ridiculous targeting of conservatives,” Heritage Oversight Project Director Mike Howell said in the press release. “We’ve had enough. We’re taking the weaponized Department of Homeland Security to court. They can try explaining to a federal judge why they believe themselves to be above the law and Constitution.”