Clinton allies seek email proof of watchdogs conspiring with the GOP

Clinton allies seek email proof of watchdogs conspiring with the GOP
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A political group aligned with Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonAssange meets U.S. congressman, vows to prove Russia did not leak him documents High-ranking FBI official leaves Russia probe OPINION | Steve Bannon is Trump's indispensable man — don't sacrifice him to the critics MORE is accusing federal watchdogs of bias in their investigations of the former secretary of State and is demanding documents about the inspectors generals’ ties to congressional Republicans.

Correct the Record, a super-PAC created to support Clinton’s presidential bid, on Thursday filed a pair of Freedom of Information Act requests seeking communications between inspectors general and GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

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The State Department’s inspector general “may have failed to operate as an independent watchdog, shared information with congressional Republicans, and allowed staffers to pursue longstanding vendettas,” organization president Brad Woodhouse wrote in one open-records request. “We believe that the public has a right to know the extent to which the State Department IG is complicit in this effort to damage her presidential campaign.”

Similarly, the inspector general for the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies, together with Republicans, “have worked to influence the public debate surrounding Hillary Clinton’s email use,” Woodhouse wrote, “with the goal of damaging Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.”

The request comes after weeks of intensified focus on Clinton by congressional Republicans.

Late last year, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyWhite House clarifies: We condemn all violence Republican lawmakers criticize Trump response to Charlottesville Grassley reverses ‘expectation’ of Supreme Court vacancy this year MORE (R-Iowa) squared off against Democrats who accused him of launching an unfair campaign against Clinton and her longtime aide Huma Abedin.

Democrats have told The Hill that they believe the source of much of Grassley’s information is Emilia DiSanto, a former Grassley aide who is now the deputy director of the State Department’s inspector general office. Grassley has denied the report, and DiSanto told The Hill the allegations are "utterly false."

Correct the Record on Thursday asked for emails between DiSanto and the Senate.

The organization also asked for email documents between the Senate and David Seide, the acting senior adviser to the State Department’s inspector general and a former prosecutor who went after a top staffer on Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign. 

Separately, the super-PAC asked the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for copies of emails between the intelligence community’s watchdog and Sens. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrSenate chairman hopes to wrap up Russia investigation this year Lawmakers seek to interview Trump secretary in Russia probe Senate Dem wants closer look at Russia's fake news operation on Facebook MORE (R-N.C.) and Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerOPINION: Congress should censure Trump for his unfit conduct How to fix Fannie and Freddie to give Americans affordable housing No. 2 Senate Republican backs McConnell in Trump fight MORE (R-Tenn.). Burr and Corker are chairmen of the Senate Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committees, and have been accused of elevating concerns about Clinton’s emails for political reasons.

On Friday, a Grassley spokeswoman called FOIA “a valuable tool for transparency” that “is available for everybody,” and lauded the Judiciary Committee chairman’s efforts to reform the law.

“It's good news for this group that the inspector general's office handles its own FOIA requests, separate from the agency,” the spokeswoman added, noting the State Department’s troubled record on open-records requests.

“The State Department has a well-documented terrible record of fulfilling FOIA requests with respect to both timeliness and adequacy, especially those related to former Secretary Clinton and her questionable use of private email for official business." 

This story was updated at 12:34 p.m. on Jan. 29.