Judicial Watch Sues State Department for Documents about Possible Clinton Conflicts of Interest
JULY 15, 2013
(Washington, D.C.) – Judicial Watch, the organization that investigates and fights government corruption, announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of State to obtain documents pertaining to possible conflicts of interest between the actions taken by Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and Bill Clinton’s activities. The lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Dept. of State (No. 1:13-cv-00772)) was filed on May 28, 2013.
The Judicial Watch lawsuit was filed after two years of the State Department refusing to comply with a May 2, 2011, FOIA request for responsive documents. By law, “all federal agencies are required to respond to a FOIA request within 20 business days.”
The Judicial Watch FOIA request filed with DOJ on May 2, 2011, seeks the following records:
- Any and all SF-50s for Mrs. [Hillary Rodham] Clinton;
- Any and all SF-85s and/or 85Ps for Mrs. Clinton;
- Any and all SF-86s for Mrs. Clinton;
- Any and all SF-450s for Mrs. Clinton;
- Any and all certificates of divestiture for Mrs. Clinton;
- Any and all individual waivers issues to or for Mrs. Clinton pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 208 (b)(1) and 5 C.F.R. §2640.301 or any other applicable ethics statues, regulations, guidelines or agreements;
- Any and all communications and records of communications – including but not limited to phone logs – related to Mr. Clinton’s speech schedule; and,
- Any and all communications and records of communications – including but not limited to e-mails, fax reports, and phone logs – related to former Mr. Clinton’s personal or charitable financial relationships with foreign leaders and governments.
The Department of State acknowledged receiving the Judicial Watch FOIA request on May 17, 2011, and was required by law to respond by June 8, 2011, at the latest. As of the date of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, DOS had failed to produce any records responsive to the request, indicate when any responsive records will be produced, or demonstrated that responsive records are exempt from production.
The potential for conflicts of interest between Hillary Clinton’s role as Secretary of State and Bill Clinton’s international ventures grew increasingly controversial in late 2008 when the former president released a list of donors to his library and foundation in what he termed “a deal between” Obama “and Hillary.” According to an AP wire story, “Saudi Arabia gave $10 million to $25 million to the foundation. Other government donors include Norway, Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei, Oman …” CNN at the time warned that Clinton’s “complicated global business interests could present future conflicts of interest that result in unneeded headaches for the incoming commander-in-chief.”
The controversy deepened further when it was revealed that among those vetting Mrs. Clinton for the job of Secretary of State was Bill Clinton’s former deputy White House counsel Cheryl Mills, a longtime Clinton family confidant, who, the Washington Post wrote in 1999 “endeared herself to the Clintons with her never-back-down, share-nothing, don’t-give-an-inch approach …” After clearing Mrs. Clinton for the DOS job, Mills was named the incoming Secretary’s Chief of Staff. Ms. Mills was a featured speaker at Bill Clinton’s 2012 Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting.
In response to ethics concerns, reports detailed there would be a thorough process at the Obama State Department for vetting potential conflicts caused by Bill Clinton’s activities in the private sector.
“Given the Benghazi lies and recent reports on pervasive misconduct by State Department officials, our lawsuit is focused like a laser on the issue of Hillary Clinton’s personal ethical standards,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The fact that after two years of State Department stonewalling, we now have to go to court to obtain records concerning Bill Clinton’s personal deal-making and Hillary Clinton’s ethics suggests that there is something to hide.”