Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against the Department of State are piling up fast thanks in part to non-profit transparency cop Judicial Watch, which said Wednesday it is going to court to force release of federal employment documents of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s two closest aides.
The suit was filed after the government failed to comply with the FOIA regarding Judicial Watch’s request for “all SF-85s and 85Ps; SF-86s; SF-450s; certificates of divestiture; individual waivers or any other applicable ethics statues, regulations, guidelines or agreements” for Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin.
Mills was Clinton’s former chief of staff. Abedin was Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff.
Judicial Watch submitted its FOIA request Aug. 18, 2015, and filed the subsequent litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The latest filing brings the group’s total active FOIA suits against the State Department to 23.
“A separate FOIA request, submitted on Aug. 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 non-profit said in announcing its suit.
“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,” the non-profit said.
Earlier this month, the Daily Caller News Foundation sued the State Department for its failure to comply with the FOIA in regard to TheDCNF’s request for copies of all documents showing completion of mandatory cyber-security training by Clinton, Mills and Abedin.
The two aides were among several Clinton staffers who used non-government email accounts to conduct official business. Those accounts were run from a server owned by Clinton and located in her private residence in New York.
Clinton’s use of the private server to do official business only became known to the general public in March 2015 as a result of a news story published by the New York Times. Clinton turned over to the State Department 55,000 pages of emails she claimed dealt with official business. She said she destroyed thousands more emails that were private.
The FBI is now investigating Clinton’s use of the private server. Federal employees are required to use government email accounts when doing official business. Multiple emails sent or received by Clinton included classified information about the most sensitive issues facing the country during her tenure as the chief U.S. diplomat.
“The State Department is breaking federal transparency law to provide cover for 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.”