The Obama Administration is already infamous for slow-walking information requests, causing investigations to drag out for years, and then complaining loudly about how long the investigations are taking! But they’ve really outdone themselves this time.
The Justice Department has filed a motion in court, on behalf of the State Department, seeking to keep a vast trove of correspondence between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s aides, and the notorious Clinton Foundation, hidden from voters’ eyes for 27 months… in other words, until October 2018, about halfway through President Hillary Clinton’s prospective first term.
The story laid out by the Daily Caller grows more outrageous with each paragraph. For starters, we learn that four senior Clinton aides — Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Michael Fuchs, Ambassador-At-Large Melanne Verveer, Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, and Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin — were sending a lot of correspondence to the Clinton Foundation. The original tally of six thousand emails turned out to be low — very, very low. The State Department said the total has swelled to 34,116 potentially responsive documents.
“During Clinton’s four years as America’s chief foreign diplomat, her aides communicated with officials at the Clinton Foundation and Teneo Holdings where Bill Clinton was formerly both a client and paid consultant, on the average of 700 times each month, according to the Justice Department filing,” the Daily Caller reports. This from the same gang that couldn’t spare the time to work out decent security arrangements in Benghazi.
Teneo Holdings will be a familiar name to Clinton scandal-watchers: it’s the company Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin was working for, while simultaneously drawing a full State Department check from American taxpayers, in an utterly unprecedented work arrangement that has drawn Congressional scrutiny.
Teneo was founded by President Bill Clinton’s onetime personal aide, Doug Band. Abedin was working on the kind of double-dipping program that was supposed to bring irreplaceable top corporate and scientific talent into government service, without forcing them to give up successful private-sector careers, but she was merely a staffer for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The Daily Caller notes that Cheryl Mills was double-dipping too, working for the Clinton Foundation and its Clinton Global Initiative while also serving as a State Department employee. “Conflict of interest” doesn’t do justice to the stench hanging over these arrangements.
The documents Justice and State are delaying were supposed to be handed over by July 21, in accordance with a judicial order, but DOJ lawyers told the judge on Wednesday night that the State Department found some “errors in the manner in which the searches had been conducted in order to capture documents potentially responsive to plaintiff’s request.”
One reason it’s been less than smooth sailing for these Freedom of Information Act Requests is that the State Department’s entire FOIA review staff consists of 71 part-time retired foreign service officers. The Administration adamantly refuses to beef up the staff. (Which is hardly surprising, given that perpetual complaints about inadequate resources allow these FOIA requests to be dragged out for years.)
The plaintiff in the FOIA case at hand is Citizens United, the group that rose to prominence in a Supreme Court case Hillary Clinton is still trying to overturn. “The State Department is using taxpayer dollars to protect their candidate, Hillary Clinton. The American people have a right to see these emails before the election,” said Citizens United president David Bossie.
Citizens United just won another victory in court, as a federal judge ordered the State Department to hand over Hillary Clinton’s schedules for 14 overseas trips she took as Secretary of State. Some of the documents Citizens United has already secured led them to suspect the Secretary met with Clinton Foundation donors while on these trips.
Of course, the Associated Press recently learned that Clinton’s schedules were, shall we say, creatively updated by her aides, scrubbing the historical record of potentially embarrassing meetings. One of the events from Clinton’s overseas journeys, a dinner in Dublin with Teneo executives, seems to have gotten a vigorous scrubbing and disappeared from her official calendar.
“Citizens United wants to know how many overseas dinners Sec. Clinton attended with Clinton Foundation donors that didn’t make it on her schedule,” said Bossie. He can probably expect to see those schedule records sometime around 2046. They might be stashed in a lost government warehouse, right next to the Ark of the Covenant.
It’s probably a total coincidence that Bill Clinton just caused a stir by holding a mysterious private meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, creating “optics” that made even some liberals queasy.
Lynch insists all they talked about was “grandchildren, golf, and their respective travels.” We can take her word that they didn’t talk about DOJ lawyers helping to shield Clinton Foundation documents from the public for 27 months, or with the depositions Clinton aides are currently giving about Hillary Clinton’s email server in another FOIA suit, right?
Also on Thursday, the White House published a fact sheet called “New Steps Toward Ensuring Openness and Transparency in Government.” No, really, they did.