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Senate chairman hammers State Dept on releasing records

Senate chairman hammers State Dept on releasing records

The head of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday hammered the State Department for its slow and occasionally incomplete efforts to release information about Hillary Clinton and other top leaders.

In letters to the State Department, Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyMnuchin, Price meet with GOP senators Business groups express support for Branstad nomination 10 no-brainer ways to cut healthcare costs without hurting quality MORE (R-Iowa) warned that “there is a real potential” that some department officials gave “false declarations to federal courts” by claiming to have taken “all reasonable steps to provide complete and accurate [Freedom of Information Act] responses.” 

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Grassley’s letters to Secretary of State John Kerry and the State Department’s internal watchdog came weeks after a report last month that found that the department’s responses are “sometimes inaccurate and incomplete.” The State Department “does not routinely follow requirements” to search through former secretaries’ emails, the inspector general report added, and often takes far longer than the time allowed by law. 

On Monday, Grassley highlighted the case of one FOIA request from 2012, when the State Department claimed that it was unaware of any email accounts associated with then-Secretary Hillary Clinton.

The response — which was not issued for five months after the request was filed — came despite the fact that multiple senior leaders at the department who had seen the request were in contact with Clinton through the personal email account she used exclusively during her tenure as secretary.

“They would have known instantly of records responsive to that request,” Grassley wrote in his separate letters to Kerry and Inspector General Steve Linick.