Biden administration disbands contentious DHS panel of 'experts' after AFL lawsuit

An investigation by the nonprofit found that 98% of the political contributions from the group's members went to Democrats and only one percent went to Republicans.

Published: May 3, 2024 9:48pm

The Biden administration disbanded a controversial panel of immigration "experts" on Friday, after the Department of Homeland Security reached an agreement with the conservative legal nonprofit America First Legal (AFL), which sued the department for allegedly violating federal law.

AFL filed the lawsuit in November, arguing the panel was not unbiased as Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas had claimed, but was Democratic instead. Mayorkas formed the panel last September.

An investigation by the nonprofit supported the assertion that the panel was biased when it allegedly found that 98% of the political contributions from the group's members went to Democrats and only one percent went to Republicans. This bias violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act because there was an alleged "lack of balance" and "inappropriate influence" from the Biden administration, the AFL claimed.

"The Experts Group shall be wound down within thirty (30) days of the entry of the Order, it will not hold any future meetings, and the Department will not reconstitute the Experts Group inconsistent with the FACA or the Homeland Security Act of 2002," according to a joint notice and stipulation of dismissal. "The Department will also provide the Experts Group meeting agendas and meeting minutes with participant identifying information redacted within fifteen (15) days of the entry of the Order."

The joint notice said that part of the agreement is that the DHS can maintain that it never violated federal law in creating the panel, and the AFL would dismiss its lawsuit in exchange. The DHS is also allowed to create a different advisory group in the future if it follows federal law.

"As a result of our lawsuit in federal court, DHS is surrendering in total to our demands," former White House advisor and America First Legal President Stephen Miller told Fox News. "They are closing down their new partisan intelligence board featuring [James] Clapper and [former CIA Director John] Brennan — which would have been used to promote censored, unethical spying, and gross civil rights invasions of political enemies — and they are surrendering their documents, handing them over to our possession. We won. We beat Biden and DHS."

Clapper and Brennan were considered controversial because they both signed a letter that dismissed the legitimacy of the Hunter Biden laptop story. 

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