A group of former US diplomats has filed a lawsuit in New York federal court accusing the Trump administration of infringing on the privacy of US citizens through its “new rules” on commercial litigation, as well as through the implementation of “secret orders.”
The group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), said the government’s rules require that all commercial litigation in the United States be conducted under a single corporate structure.
“The rules are intended to promote transparency in commercial litigation and encourage investment in small and medium sized companies that provide services to Americans and Americans overseas,” CREW said in a statement released on Thursday.CREW’s lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, says the government “has been implementing secret orders, secret orders to block or delay litigation, secret and non-secret orders to stop or delay investigations of or prosecute wrongdoing by the US government, and secret orders of the president to terminate contracts.”
“This lawsuit seeks to halt these secret orders by enforcing the law, which is clearly meant to prevent and stop unlawful conduct by the Trump Administration,” the group said.
The new rules, introduced in March, require US firms to file their financial statements electronically and use an electronic reporting system that allows them to file quarterly reports and annual reports.
It also imposes an annual reporting requirement for companies that do not use an online reporting system.
The government, in its latest rules, has also banned firms from accepting government contracts if they are “likely to result in excessive litigation.”
The government’s “rule” is not intended to affect civil lawsuits, CREW alleged.
“In its rule, the Department of Justice says the new rule will provide for a uniform standard of commercial litigation.
However, this rule is not designed to allow a single entity to make commercial litigation available to every person in the country, nor is it intended to create a single legal system that would cover every aspect of commercial law, including arbitration and private attorney-client negotiations,” CREWD said.
“It is also not intended that the government will have the ability to conduct business in a manner that is inherently unfair, deceptive, or discriminatory.
The government will, therefore, have to comply with the law in any manner necessary to ensure fairness and justice in the commercial litigation system.”
The rules also require that foreign companies filing in the courts of the US must have an office or office space in the same location as their US office.
The administration, which has said it does not consider the rules to be “anti-competitive,” has said that it is not trying to interfere with US firms’ ability to sue foreign entities.
“Our goal is to promote a free and open environment for all companies, not to stifle innovation and competition,” CREWE said.