FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: Court denies State Dept.'s request for 27-month extension to process Clinton-related email

Allan BlutsteinComment

Judge faults State Department for 'lax' response to Clinton-linked FOIA surge

By Josh Gerstein, Politico, July 26, 2016

A federal judge is faulting the State Department for slacking off in its effort to process Freedom of Information Act requests after the diplomatic agency finished cranking out about 30,000 of Hillary Clinton's emails earlier this year.

In an order Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras largely rejected a State Department request for a 27-month extension to respond to conservative group Citizens United's demands for emails between four former State officials and individuals at the Clinton Foundation and a consulting firm close to the Clintons, Teneo.

The judge said State's own data showed a "marked drop" in resources devoted to FOIA processing at the agency in February, around the time the last batch of emails Clinton turned over to State were publicly released.

"As clearly shown in Defendant’s graph, Defendant has, since February 2016, reduced the amount of resources it is devoting to FOIA processing ... his reduction occurred even though Defendant’s number of FOIA cases in litigation and Defendant’s number of open FOIA requests have not experienced a similar decrease," Contreras wrote. "Because these facts imply that Defendant has been 'lax ... in meeting its [FOIA] obligations...with all available resources. ...' the Court does not find a twenty-seven month extension of time appropriate."

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