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 ClintonGraham: Comey should be held accountable for acting on bad intel Hillary Clinton condemns 'racist abuse' in Portland attack Clinton returns to election night convention hall to talk about her new book 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 GrassleyDems plot recess offensive on ObamaCare The case for protecting America's intelligence agency whistleblowers Senate confirms Trump's first lower-court nominee 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 BurrSenate Intel Committee demands Trump campaign to turn over all docs: report Mr. President: Cooperation with Russian investigation is your best play Overnight Cybersecurity: Senate Intel chiefs get subpoena power in Russia probe | Trump orders probe of leaks | Lawmaker unveils 'hacking back' bill MORE (R-N.C.) and Bob CorkerBob CorkerUncertainty builds in Washington over White House leaks Kushner 'sounds like he's more than glad' to answer questions, GOP senator says Sunday shows: Homeland Security chief hits the circuit after Manchester attack 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.