Judicial Watch is a conservative nonprofit with a stated mission of promoting “transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law” using public records and FOIA requests. Judicial Watch was founded in 1994 by Reagan administration federal prosecutor Larry Klayman, who used the group as a “smear sausage” factory by filing lawsuits against members of the Clinton administration. Klayman’s lawsuits, advancing what Kevin Drum of Mother Jones called “Clinton derangement syndrome,” were dismissed and debunked by Independent Counsels and federal judges. Klayman left Judicial Watch in 2003 to launch an unsuccessful Senate campaign, and later sued the organization for defamation.
Judicial Watch employs researchers and FOIA lawyers with funds from conservative organizations such as the Scaife Foundation, one of their largest donors. Between 2009 and 2014, Judicial Watch received almost $100,000 from the Koch-backed organization Donors Trust. Judicial Watch claimed in 2012 that it had filed at least 900 open records requests and over 90 lawsuits against the Obama administration highlighting criticisms that PolitiFact has consistently found to be false. Judicial Watch has received over $20 million in yearly revenue to pursue its agenda of achieving what it calls the “conservative goals of accountability and openness in government.”