CV NEWS FEED // CatholicVote President Brian Burch on Tuesday announced that the advocacy organization is prepared to file a lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) within ten days due to the agency’s failure to provide information about its activities targeting Catholics.
“On March 6th we filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FBI in Richmond, VA, asking for communications regarding the targeting of traditional Catholics. Norms require the agency to respond within 20 business days, with an additional 10 for ‘unusual circumstances,’” CatholicVote said in a statement. “To date we have not received any response. Our legal team is prepared to bring a lawsuit within the next 10 days if we do not receive what we are entitled to by law.”
“Between this delay and the inaction associated with investigating and prosecuting the violence and vandalism being committed against pregnancy centers and Catholic Churches our top law enforcement institutions have demonstrated a pattern of hostility against Catholics and all people of faith,” the statement concluded. “This is unacceptable and we will not back down.”
CatholicVote’s announcement came a day after Congressman Jim Jordan, R-OH, of the House Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government issued a subpoena demanding more information from the FBI about its “shocking” activities.
In a public letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Jordan revealed that the Bureau’s efforts targeting America’s Catholics were much more extensive than indicated by the memo against “radical-traditionalist” parishes that was leaked in January.
As CatholicVote reported:
“Based on the limited information produced by the FBI to the Committee, we now know that the FBI relied on at least one undercover agent to produce its analysis,” wrote Committee Chair Jim Jordan…. The FBI further “proposed that its agents engage in outreach to Catholic parishes to develop sources among the clergy and church leadership to inform on Americans practicing their faith.”
According to the limited documentation the FBI released to Congress, the FBI had sought to use Catholic churches as “new avenues for tripwire and source development,” including at “mainline Catholic parishes” and among “local diocesan leadership.”
The Agency also aimed to “sensitize” Catholic churchgoers “to the warning signs of radicalization,” and “enlist their assistance to serve as suspicious activity tripwires.”
Burch reacted to the new information by turning up the heat on CatholicVote’s ongoing efforts to “hold the FBI accountable.”
“We’ve been working to get to the bottom of the FBI’s outrageous memo targeting ‘radical-traditionalist’ Catholics since it was first leaked in January,” Burch said. “Since then, we’ve learned that the FBI has sought to infiltrate even more church communities, setting up ‘tripwire’ programs and cultivating ‘sources’ who will report on fellow parishioners.”
Burch contrasted the federal law enforcement agency’s pursuit of Catholics with its controversial lack of prosecutions in cases involving attacks on churches in the wake of the Supreme Court’s repeal of Roe v. Wade last year.
“There have been over 300 attacks on Catholic churches and pro-life pregnancy centers since 2020. Hundreds of real criminal acts have been ignored. Yet our government is working to infiltrate our churches, implying that we – faithful Catholics – are the real ‘radicals,’” Burch pointed out:
The double standard is unacceptable, and we will not rest until we stop it. That’s why we’re preparing to confront the FBI with a lawsuit. That’s why we are working daily with members of Congress to provide them all the resources necessary to hold the Biden administration accountable. We are also looking at additional legal options, and are prepping a massive media campaign to make sure every Catholic understands what is happening.
Burch added “Make no mistake: the law still matters, and the FBI will be held accountable. The public – and especially us Catholics – deserve to know every detail of what is clearly an ongoing campaign of anti-Catholic actions at the FBI.”