A Catholic political advocacy organization has filed a lawsuit against the FBI and the Department of Justice over an FBI document identifying Catholics as “violent extremists.”

The lawsuit, filed on Thursday by CatholicVote and Judicial Watch, alleges that the aforementioned agencies failed to comply with their Freedom of Information Act regarding the FBI field office memo, as first reported by Fox News.

The plaintiffs claim that the DOJ and the FBI have not responded to their attempts at communication since April 6.

The lawsuit was filed after an internal memo from the FBI’s field office in Richmond, Virginia, was leaked. The memo, dated January 23, 2023, labeled “radical-traditionalist Catholic[s]” as potential “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists.”

CatholicVote and Judicial Watch requested written communications between the DOJ and the FBI that included the terms “Catholic,” “Rosary,” “Latin Mass,” “Pope Francis,” and “Radical-Traditionalist Catholics.”

The groups filed their first FOIA request on March 8. Yet they claim that the FBI said on March 14 that “unusual circumstances” did not allow them to meet the 20-day response deadline.

Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote, said in a statement, “Our weaponized and corrupt government agencies have demonstrated a pattern of contempt for justice and the rule of law by prioritizing partisan ideology and agendas over the protection of the American people — in particular those with whom they disagree politically.”

“We are demanding transparency from our government and are determined to uncover just how high up the anti-Catholic bigotry goes,” he continued, per Fox News.

FBI Director Christopher Wray recently testified before Congress that the leaked memo “does not reflect FBI standards.”

“We do not conduct investigations based on religious affiliation or practices, full stop,” he said, as reported by Fox News. “We have also now ordered our inspection division to take a look at how this happened and try to figure out how we can make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.”

At the same time, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) said that the FBI “proposed that its agents engage in outreach to its analysis and that the FBI proposed that its agents engage in outreach to Catholic parishes to develop sources among the clergy and church leadership to inform on Americans practicing their faith,” according to documents he subpoenaed

While Attorney General Merrick Garland described the leaked memo as “appalling” in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) was unconvinced.

Hawley sent a letter to Garland on April 11 accusing him of false testimony and claiming that the DOJ was, in fact, cultivating sources within Catholic churches and other religious institutions.

“Let’s be clear: your Department has decided to turn Catholic congregations into front organizations for the FBI, and when asked about it, you’ve decided to fudge the truth before Congress,” he wrote. “This is an unconscionable assault on American Catholics’ First Amendment rights and an abdication of your duty to enforce the law without fear or favor.”

The Dallas Express reached out to both the DOJ and the FBI for comment.

The FBI National Press Office said the agency cannot comment on ongoing litigation.