What board?: Stone wall blocks public access to information about Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board

As indicated by President Donald Trump’s reversal of the Obama order to end the ban on transgender people in the military, the Evangelical Advisory Board has an outsized impact on government policy without the transparency mandated by FACA, a 1972 federal law requiring that the advice of advisory committees is “objective and accessible to the public.”  Notice of meetings must be published so the public can attend. Detailed minutes must be taken and committee records made public. There has been no compliance on these conditions even as members of the board boast about their influence on policy. (Church & State, a publication of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, October 2018, by Rob Boston)

Americans United (AU) sent a letter to the Trump administration in August of 2018 asking for transparency and filed a Freedom of Information Act request for records of the meetings. In response, the General Services Administration in charge of advisory boards denied the existence of the board saying it was a campaign advisory group and did not have any official capacity after the campaign ended. ( From an response to FAC from Alex J. Luchenitser, AU’s legal director, in a January 29, 2019 e-mail from AU’s Rob Boston)

The Trump administration’s assault on the separation between church and state established by the First amendment continues, most recently with a Trump tweet backing Bible Literacy classes in the public schools. (American Civil Liberties Union, January 29, 2019, by Heather L. Weaver)