FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: Clinton aide Phillipe Reines admits avoiding FOIA, reports Gawker

FOIA News (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Clinton Aide Who Avoided FOIA Insists He Didn't Want to Avoid FOIA When He Wrote "I Want to Avoid FOIA"

J.K. Trotter, Gawker, Dec. 17, 2015

Former State Department official and longtime Hillary Clinton operative Philippe Reines has repeatedly stated that his email practices at State were aboveboard—even though he was caught lying about using a personal email address to conduct official government business. But new emails obtained by Gawker show that on at least one occasion, Reines discussed skirting the federal open-records law known as the Freedom of Information Act. According to the emails, he told two reporters,“I want to avoid FOIA.” Reines’ attorney dismisses the comment as a joke—but if it was, it was of the funny-because-it’s-true variety.

The relevant emails surfaced in the latest round of documents produced by the State Department in response to the lawsuit Gawker filed against the agency earlier this year. Page 412 and 413 of this month’s round reproduce a February 2009 exchange between Reines and the powerful political journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, who at the time were gathering information for their book about the 2008 presidential campaign, Game Change

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