National Security

State Dept plans not to release docs to RNC until after election

The State Department is arguing in court that it cannot meet the Republican National Committee’s demands for records from Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary until after the November election.

The department said this week that nearly two-thirds of its records about functions held in the Diplomatic Reception Room during Clinton’s years at State can’t be made public before Election Day due to its current workload. 

The RNC has declined an opportunity to narrow the number of functions about which it wants information.

{mosads}The department has also maintained that it can’t find any visitor logs or other records about visitors to Clinton’s former department or personal office, to the RNC’s consternation. State argued that the battle over the accuracy of that claim should be delayed until next spring.

The RNC pushed back against the department in a joint court filing on Monday.

The State Department should release all 1,600 pages of records about formal events during Clinton’s tenure by the Nov. 8 election, it insisted, and filings to settle the matter of the visitor logs should take place in September. 

“[T]ime is of the essence,” the RNC argued in the court filing late Monday evening. 

“In recent months, State has faced scrutiny in the press for purportedly delaying productions in [Freedom of Information Act] litigation with the Associated Press over calendar entries and schedules similar to those that the RNC seeks here,” it added, referring to a yearslong battle between the AP and the State Department.

“Whatever the truth about those allegations, the RNC cannot agree to a summary-judgment briefing schedule that extends into next year.”

A federal judge will need to weigh in on the matter before the State Department’s proposed schedule can be approved. 

The RNC filed FOIA requests for the function details and visitor logs last year. After failing to receive the documents, it filed suit over the request — and several other issues — in March.

A failure by the State Department to release the documents in time for the election would likely add to the criticism facing it and Clinton’s Democratic presidential campaign over alleged lack of transparency. What started as concerns about Clinton’s private email server has snowballed into broader charges of secrecy at the department and within Clinton’s inner orbit.

The matter has gained new meaning this month, as newly released emails from Clinton’s time in office appear to show that donors to Clinton’s family foundation received special access to her and top aides in the department. A recent AP review found that, according to documents provided by the State Department, more than half of the meetings Clinton took with non-governmental officials were Clinton Foundation donors. 

The RNC’s records requests appeared designed to investigate potential overlap between senior associates at the Clinton Foundation and the State Department. 

Clinton and most of her campaign aides have dismissed concerns about impropriety with the foundation.  

“I know there is a lot of smoke, and there is no fire,” Clinton said this month.

Tags Hillary Clinton Republican National Committee
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