Judicial Watch Sues State Department for Top Clinton Aides’ Ethics Documents
DECEMBER 16, 2015
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking ethics and employment records of Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, longtime aides of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-01817)).
The lawsuit was filed after the State Department failed to comply with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted on August 18, 2015. Judicial Watch is seeking access to the following records on Mills:
- All SF-85s and 85Ps; SF-86s; SF-450s; certificates of divestiture; individual waivers or any other applicable ethics statues, regulations, guidelines or agreements.
A separate FOIA request, submitted on August 19, 2015, seeks access to Abedin’s and Mills’ OF-109 forms, which are signed by departing government employees stating they have turned over all official documents and records to the State Department. The OF-109 form records are not limited to classified material. It requires that all records must be left in the hands of the State Department, including emails. The form is signed under penalty of perjury.
The documents Judicial Watch requests, such as the SF-85 form, are filled out by incoming government employees detailing past work history, education, and references. Other Judicial Watch litigation forced Hillary Clinton to admit that Abedin used Clinton’s email system to conduct government business, leading to both Abedin and Mills turning over thousands of emails from non-governmental accounts to the State Department for review and disclosure to Judicial Watch. Emails uncovered from Abedin’s account, described Clinton as “often confused.”
Judicial Watch previously released documents revealing that between 2009 and 2011 former President Clinton spoke to more than two dozen leading international investment firms and banking institutions, many of them on more than one occasion. At least one of the documents shows that Mills used a non-governmental email account for the Clinton ethics reviews. Mills reportedly negotiated the “ethics agreement” on behalf of the Clintons and the Foundation that required the Clintons to submit to rigorous conflict-of-interest checks. Despite this, and in apparent violation of Obama administration ethics rules, the documents reveal that Bill Clinton’s requests for speaking engagement approval were invariably copied to Mills, who was involved in ethics reviews as chief of staff for Mrs. Clinton at the State Department.
The Washington Post reported that Mills was unpaid for her first few months at the State Department, “officially designated as a temporary expert-consultant — a status that allowed her to continue to collect outside income while serving as chief of staff.”
Separate Judicial Watch FOIA litigation raised questions about whether Abedin received an illegal patronage job from Clinton’s State Department. Records forced out of the State Department reveal Abedin failed to produce important financial and employment information as required by law before obtaining her position as a special government employee (SGE) in 2012.
“The State Department is breaking federal transparency law to provide cover for Mrs. Clinton and those who are now working for the Clintons: Huma Abedin, vice chairwoman of the campaign; and Cheryl Mills, member of the board of directors for the Clinton Foundation,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It shouldn’t take untold months and a federal lawsuit to get the Obama administration to turn over a dozen forms about top officials. This is another cover-up.”