Monday, August 13, 2007
Secret meetings for the North American Union in Quebec
Judicial Watch Seeks Access to North American Competitiveness Council Meetings under Federal Open Meetings Law
Jul 26, 2007
Commerce Secretary Gutierrez Urged to Comply with Federal Open Meetings Law during August 20 and 21 Security & Prosperity Partnership Meetings in Montebello, Quebec
(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today notified Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez that it is seeking access to the meetings and records of the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC) under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) – the federal open meetings law (5 U.S.C App. 2 §3(2)). Specifically, Judicial Watch seeks to attend and/or participate in meetings of the NACC and its U.S. component subcommittees, the next meeting of which is reportedly scheduled for August 20, 2007 in Montebello, Quebec, Canada.
Secretary Gutierrez launched the NACC, with his Mexican and Canadian counterparts, in June 2006. The NACC met on August 15, 2006 in Washington and again on February 23, 2007 in Ottawa, Canada. The NACC has provided over fifty (50) recommendations for action to Secretary Gutierrez and the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP).
To further its public interest mission, Judicial Watch previously submitted a request to attend NACC meeting with the organization designated by the Commerce Department as the “Secretariat” of the NACC comprised of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (jointly with the Council of the Americas). The Secretariat informed Judicial Watch that as a not-for-profit educational foundation, it was not eligible to participate in NACC meetings.
Judicial Watch’s notice to Secretary Gutierrez stresses the legal requirement for the NACC, and any U.S. component subcommittee(s), to obey the federal open meetings law and file a charter, publish timely notice of meetings in the Federal Register, allow interested parties to attend and participate in meetings, and provide access to committee records. Judicial Watch believes the NACC has failed to satisfy any of these statutory requirements.