Larry Klayman
The difference between Freedom Watch and today's Judicial Watch!
By Larry Klayman
June 20, 2017

On July 29, 1994, almost 23 years ago, I conceived of and founded Judicial Watch to be the "People's Justice Department." At the time, I had been a trial and international lawyer, and before that a prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice for 17 years. Over my legal career, I had experienced a great deal of injustice in the courts and government in general, with judges and government regulators dishonestly favoring the vested establishment interests. Often, the amount of money donated to influential politicians, and the political patronage which gave rise to the nomination and confirmation of "hack" federal judges in particular, would influence these decision-makers. As an ideological "purist" I was offended that those persons and interests less influential but in reality more in need, would be treated as so called "second class citizens" and discriminated against.

My life story which pushed me to form Judicial Watch is chronicled in my autobiography, "Whores: Why and How I Came to Fight the Establishment!", which can be purchased at or The mission of Judicial Watch was thus conceived to be a strong public interest advocate which would investigate and prosecution judicial and government corruption and abuse.

As Judicial Watch gained early prominence and began to uncover scandal after scandal during the White House years of President Bill and First Lady Hillary Clinton, I largely financed the organization out of my own private practice. I used to joke that some people like to play golf or tennis as a pastime – indeed at one time I was a scratch golfer in high school and at Duke University – but for me bringing about justice and disinfecting our judicial and government systems from rank corruption had become my passion.

One our first cases at Judicial Watch, filed through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), uncovered what at the time would potentially become at the time one of the biggest scandals in American history. It was triggered by my forcing document production out of the Commerce Department, proving that Hillary Clinton had orchestrated, through then Secretary Ron Brown, the illegal sale of seats on government financed missions to prominent businessmen who paid as a quid pro quo $100,000 or more to the Clinton-Gore 1996 reelection campaign and the Democratic National Committee. These bribes were intended to have Brown effectively do business for them, at taxpayer expense, with foreign interests.

This scandal, which became known as Chinagate (and ultimately gave rise to campaign finance reform), and expanded almost daily, then morphed into other discoveries that the Clintons were selling national security secrets to the communist Chinese in exchange for laundered money from the Bank of China to also enrich themselves. Later, we also learned that the Clintons were peddling almost every government service or appointment, including judgeships and even pardons to master criminals such as Marc Rich, again, for their own profit.

But I realized at the time that FOIA cases to simply uncover incriminating government documents were not enough. Hard hitting lawsuits that sought to bring about real justice were required, as the Clinton Justice Department, run by Attorney General Janet Reno and Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder, were simply a cover-up operation. They were not representing the interests of the American people, only the Clintons, Democrats and themselves.

While many in the leftist media at the Washington Post and elsewhere, whose law firm also represented and continues to represent the Clintons, tried to cut me down to size with hit profiles and "fake news" articles, they failed. Judicial Watch and I became so prominent and effective, bringing hard hitting lawsuits concerning such scandals as Filegate, Travelgate, IRS-gate, the attempts to destroy the "Clinton woman," such as Gennifer Flowers, Dolly Kyle Browning, Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, and a host of other persons aggrieved by the Bonnie and Clyde of American politics – indeed I am the only lawyer in American history to have a court rule that a sitting president, Bill Bill Clinton, had committed a crime when he illegally released the Privacy Act protected file of Kathleen Willey a woman he had allegedly sexually harassed in the oval office – that the NBC hit series "West Wing" created a character after me, Harry Klaypool of Freedom Watch. See to see video of the series.

Using my skills as a trial lawyer, I gained this national and even Hollywood recognition by incessantly bringing powerful lawsuit after powerful lawsuit to further the mission of Judicial Watch and the American people it represented. Videos of the depositions I took in these cases were played nightly on Fox News and other cable networks, educating the viewers about Clinton and the fight against government corruption in general. This media also demonstrated that the American people did not have to rely on a corrupted government to peacefully bring about justice and clean out the "swamp" in Washington, D.C. and around the nation.

However, when I left Judicial Watch in 2003, to run for the U.S. Senate in Florida, I left behind directors, Tom Fitton, Paul Orfanedes, who had installed Christopher Farrell as the third director. These directors, who with the exception of Orfanedes are not lawyers, changed the mission of the organization from bringing hard hitting lawsuits to bring about justice, to primarily just uncovering just documents from the government through FOIA. The reason for this; Tom Fitton, who seized the role as the head of Judicial Watch despite my recommending to him that former U.S. Attorney and Congressman Bob Barr be brought in as chairman and general counsel to replace me , is not a lawyer. Fitton in my opinion turned the organization into his own fiefdom. Indeed, when I left the organization on September 19, 2003 to announce my candidacy, he had not graduated from college, for some unexplained reason that he failed to disclose to me when I initially hired him. I learned that he had not been truthful with me on my way out the door.

Thus, without the apparent or significant expertise to bring real hard hitting lawsuits, with clients who wanted to sue the government for damages and other relief to obtain justice not just for them but the public at large, Fitton and the others changed their mission to primarily furthering transparency in government.

It was for that reason, and because Fitton and the other current directors of Judicial Watch did everything in their power to try to harm my family and me after I left to run for the U.S. Senate, which continues to this day – in large part fearing competition from me given their limited experience to carry out the original mission of Judicial Watch – that I founded Freedom Watch after my Senate campaign. In this regard, I even obtained a jury verdict for maliciously defaming me in a federal court in Miami, Florida. The jury even awarded punitive damages in my favor.

While Judicial Watch has continued to use FOIA to pry documents out of government , except on rare occasions it has failed to follow up by bringing hard hitting lawsuits to bring about justice. I felt that for this reason I needed to again "don my cape and sword" and go back into battle, as the nation needs a private justice department to pursue "justice" given the ever increasing cesspool of corruption in Washington, D.C. and around the nation – which was a an ever growing cancer on our body politic.

Sure enough, at Freedom Watch, we have continued with the original mission of Judicial Watch I founded, it having been largely abandoned by Fitton and company, and in 2013 and 2014 scored the biggest victory in the history of government litigation when we preliminarily enjoined President Obama and his National Security Agency from unconstitutional surveillance of hundreds of millions of Americans. We also brought many other hard hitting lawsuits, which remain in progress, such as for the parents of "Gold Star" parents Pat Smith and Charles Woods for the wrongful death of their sons, caused by the illegal use of an unsecure private email server by Hillary Clinton. We also have lawsuits pending for the deaths caused by Black Lives Matter, Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam, and the likes of former President Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder. Recently, we also filed suit against the University of California at Berkeley and others for the violence this school system has caused. There we represent a fine young woman and Trump supporter who was beaten up by leftist anarchists financed by George Soros, while the Berkely police stood around and watched. Many other such hard hitting suits can be seen at

And, while it is difficult to find a non-leftist unbiased judge, who will administer to the letter of the law and not pervert it with his or her political prejudices, I will never give up trying to use the legal system to bring about justice. In my view, there is no shame in trying, even if the odds are sometimes long. Indeed, as just one example, after one attempt in a federal court in Washington, D.C., on behalf of our client, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, we did, along with 25 aggrieved states, find a courageous judge in Texas who invalidated Obama's executive order granting amnesty to over 5 million illegal aliens. This was another major victory!

The motto to this story; never give up! In today's world, you have my commitment to not do the easy thing, as Fitton and Judicial Watch now practice – gaining publicity but not bringing about justice themselves. Our mission is to soldier on in these dire and dangerous times to be your "Private Justice Department."

Please join our second American revolution by going to and listen to my show on Radio America each week, "Special Prosecutor With Larry Klayman," for news on our quest for freedom and restoring the vision of our Founding Fathers.

© Larry Klayman


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Larry Klayman

Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, is known for his strong public interest advocacy in furtherance of ethics in government and individual freedoms and liberties... (more)


Receive future articles by Larry Klayman: Click here

More by this author