House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz launches a probe into the State Department’s apparent efforts to run cover for Hillary Clinton by deliberately failing to comply with FOIA requests concerning her tenure as Secretary of State.
State has been awash in FOIA requests since the Clinton email controversy exploded last March, but their backlog problem started well before that. Numerous media outlets, including the AP and conservative groups like Citizens United and Judicial Watch have requested State documents during Clinton’s tenure only to be told they did not exist. After suing in court, the groups found that some of the documents, including records relating to Huma Abedin’s quasi-government employment status and Clinton’s schedules, appointments and call logs, did exist. Now the courts are forcing State to turn over emails and go back to former employees to ask for copies of messages they have in their possession.
Meanwhile, several Hill committees are probing Clinton’s tenure at State and asking for documents and emails as part of their investigations. But State has taken months and even years to respond to some of them, including requests from the House Benghazi Committee.
Numerous emails have shown that Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills had a hand in shaping how the department responded to FOIA requests related to more senior officials like Clinton. Chaffetz is seeking to learn more about this process but also not limiting himself to Clinton’s tenure. He’s also asking for information on the 415 FOIA requests that involved the past four secretaries of State as well as all communications related to those requests.