Watchdog Group Sues for Information: Did Ivanka Work Against Equal Pay?
Although Ivanka Trump positioned herself as an advocate for women and children during her father’s presidential campaign, she’s defended President Trump’s rollback of an Obama-era rule requiring employers with over 100 employees to report data on the gendered breakdown of their employees’ wages. On Tuesday, a watchdog group sued the Trump administration over its failure to respond to a public records request on Ivanka’s role in that decision.
The lawsuit, filed by Democracy Forward against the Office of Management and Budget, fittingly on Equal Pay Day, and obtained by Newsweek, seeks to “compel it to produce documents that would shed light on the role Ivanka Trump had in the decision to suspend implementation of a rule that would have required companies to report pay data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.”
It concerns the office’s nonresponse to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request the Washington, D.C.-based watchdog filed in November, a couple months after Trump—who vowed to champion equal pay—made an about-face on the issue.
Democracy Forward hopes to obtain correspondence between the OMB and Ivanka Trump or her aides, as well as any records from her phone calls and meetings about the rollback. The organization filed the request Nov. 16 and was supposed to hear back from the OMB within 20 days—but says the office never responded.
“Ivanka had promised to be a voice for the working women,” Democracy Forward spokeswoman Charisma Troiano told Newsweek. “She instead appears to have been complicit … as far as her role in the administration’s rolling back of a data rule that would have helped women secure equal pay.”
“It was curious to us that someone who had been seemingly an advocate of equal pay would in such short time reverse course,” she added. “We file this FOIA lawsuit to find out exactly how complicit she was in allowing this rollback to move forward.”
Troiano was referring to comments like the one made by Ivanka at the July 2016 Republican National Convention when she asserted: “As president, my father will change the labor laws that were put into place at a time when women were not a significant portion of the workforce. He will fight for equal pay for equal work, and I will fight for this too, right alongside of him.”
The Trump administration justified the repeal of the rule by arguing that the requirements were “unnecessarily burdensome” for employers and did “not adequately address privacy and confidentiality issues.” Democracy Forward also sued the administration for the repeal back in November, claiming that the action was “arbitrary and capricious” as well as illegal because the Office of Management and Budget did not “have the authority to stay a collection of data required by agency rule.”