The Farce That Is FOIA: The State Department Stonewalled The Associated Press For Three Years On Foundation Donor Story

StateDepartmentI recently discussed the implications of Associated Press story on access given to donors to the Clinton Foundation. However, what is not getting much attention is that the Obama Administration delayed these journalist investigators for THREE YEARS in seeking this information from the State Department. Three years and the AP had to go to court to secure what is clearly public information. The Obama Administration is not unique in its resistance to disclosures, even in what President Obama once pledged would be the “most transparent” government in history. FOIA has long been reduced to a farce by bureaucrats who force public interest, journalistic, and legal groups to go to court to secure information. The lack of outrage over what the AP was put through is ample proof that the government has won in harassing efforts to use FOIA. Only the most organized groups tend to persist in such efforts.

Hundreds of FOIA requests directed at the Clinton period at State appear to have been ignored. The Obama Administration had continued its litigate-first approach to FOIA. Indeed, it has asked for years of delay even when pulled into court.

Regardless of how you feel about the findings of the AP, the continued pattern of obstruction of FOIA should outrage all citizens.  FOIA is a critical tool in forcing disclosures by the government.  Elected and appointed officials alike hate the Act because it denies the government control over what voters are seeing and hearing.  When we speak of transparency, FOIA is the eyeglass through which citizens can truly see their government.  The fact that the public just shrugs at the thought of our government obstructing disclosures for three years is ample proof that the government has prevailed in its long effort to suppress the use of FOIA.  Without it, citizens will again be left largely with what leaders choose to disclose in a system of managed information and knowledge.

The AP story should be not just disturbing over what it found but how long it took to find it.

74 thoughts on “The Farce That Is FOIA: The State Department Stonewalled The Associated Press For Three Years On Foundation Donor Story”

  1. Here’s another long, expensive lawsuit to get public information about DHS spying on peaceful protesters. It is given in the context of the recent lawsuit against the DNC for fraud against Bernie supporters. During the live streaming of information concerning the lawsuit, a DHS police car begins honking incessently. As people went to investigate the honking which was drowning out the discussion, the car was found to be empty.

    “…We have previously reported on the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) releasing a trove of documents obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request, showing that the Department of Homeland Security routinely spies on peaceful protesters and was obsessed with the amount of media attention being given to the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) activities. Homeland Security was fixated on both mainstream media coverage as well as concerned that Occupy would gain momentum through social media…”

  2. I’m surprised ABC news would even follow this story but here is some information obtained after a very lengthly round of litigation for public records. (Hillary supports do not read this information. The e-mails were obtained by a conservative group so there is no need to understand the truth concerning their content.)

    “A series of newly released State Department emails obtained by ABC News offers fresh insight on direct contact between the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s inner circle while she was Secretary of State.

    The emails -– released as part of a public records lawsuit by conservative group Citizens United and shared exclusively with ABC — reveal what the group claims is new evidence Foundation allies received special treatment ..” You can find the link at wikileaks. UBS is a prime player. Warning to Obama supporters. Do Not Read about Obama’s fund raising connections to UBS in 2007 (millions in bundles) while he was supposed to be providing oversight to them in his committee (he never showed up for those hearings). This information conflicts with Obama’s hagiography even though it is true!

  3. I have a good solution for all this. The Clinton Foundation should do as ALL other non-profit foundations do and NEVER release the names of donors. Simple. They did disclose to avoid charges of favoritism, and instead, they get pilloried for doing it. I get rather tired of made up “scandals” that are neither illegal, immoral, or real. GET REAL for a change!

    1. @Rjet

      Hey, check your oxygen mask! I think it is maybe clogged and you aren’t getting a full dose of oxygen. Quick, before you black out and crash!

      Because, if somebody holds political office, and runs an owns/runs a charity on the side, that is nothing but a formula for abuse. Because most of the money that a charity takes in does not have to actually go to the objects of the charity, and all sorts of money can be paid to friends, and cronies. It can easily become nothing but a slush fund.

      It ain’t like politicians can’t be bought:

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

  4. In 2009, I made a FOIA request and received a response quickly. There were no politicians or agency heads involved so it made the response easy.

    Here is the data I requested. The names of the executed WWII soldiers, buried under only a number. I asked for these names to give them some form of dignity, if only upon the internet. The names are toward the bottom of the page.

  5. Already know that the FOIA is worthless, tried to get a report from the FBI on the Hope Steffey abuse, and they blacked out EVERYTHING that made the cops look bad. And then tried to give me the excuse that it was allowed, but I had already gotten the information from the Ohio State BCI, so I sent them an appeal with PROOF that they lied about the redaction, their reply was to get a lawyer if I wanted more info.

    Then I tried t get a FOIA request on the Dana Holmes case in Lasalle County, Il. The head jailer, Jason Edgcomb, then gave me the run around. Jason Edgcomb is SUPPOSED to be the FOIA officer at the sheriff’s dept, but he then refuses to release any info and instead refers me to Todd Martin, who apparently the DA’s office has assigned to help cover these abuses up. He also refuses to release anything but the incident report, saying that the case is still ongoing. (Standard procedure for cover-ups.) And he wants my FOIA request in writing…wouldn’t you know.
    Somehow this case gets labeled as a strip search, which it wasn’t. The sheriff’s dept claims it was done when Dana tried to kick a deputy twice, which the video proves is a lie, and which would still be illegal even if it were true. This was strictly abuse under the “color of law”.
    And by the time this is done, more victims are coming forward, also claiming abuses under the “color of law”. And now the county is settled all the cases with a big hunk of taxpayer’s cash, just as they always do in these cover-ups. $355,000 of taxpayer’s money to keep this from going to trial.
    Of course it is still being investigated on a criminal level by the Grundy County state’s attorney, but unless they are REALLY ‘independent’, I don’t see them coming up with criminal charges, even though the evidence is overwhelming. (Which is why this never went to trial.)
    This whole thing stinks.

    1. John – I have a pleasurable FOIA story. We were trying to open a charter school and the fire marshal was giving us problems with approving the school. School had started and I was picking kids up every day in my van and taking them to the park or to the library or where ever we could hold class. Finally, we took a field trip to the fire marshals office to see what the hold up was. We were getting nowhere with the guy at the desk until someone in the back yelled “Say Freedom of Information Act!” They gave us everything we needed and we were in the school the next day.

  6. Oh, and now it gets even worse! Hillary used BleachBit!

    South Carolina Representative Trey Gowdy appeared on Fox News today and disclosed new details about the Clinton email scandal that seem to indicate intent to destroy evidence. Per the clip below, Gowdy reveals that Clinton used “BleachBit” to erase the “personal” emails from her private server.

    For those not familiar with the software, BleachBit is intended to help users delete files in a way to “prevent recovery” and “hide traces of files deleted.” Per the BleachBit website:

    Beyond simply deleting files, BleachBit includes advanced features such as shredding files to prevent recovery, wiping free disk space to hide traces of files deleted by other applications, and vacuuming Firefox to make it faster.

    During his appearance on Fox, Gowdy clearly indicates that Clinton’s use of BleachBit undermines her claims that she only deleted innocuous “personal” emails from her private server.

    “If she considered them to be personal, then she and her lawyers had those emails deleted. They didn’t just push the delete button, they had them deleted where even God can’t read them.

    “They were using something called BleachBit. You don’t use BleachBit for yoga emails.”

    “When you’re using BleachBit, it is something you really do not want the world to see.”

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  7. As governments grow their means so must they stow their ends. Tuck them away, keep them in a hole, lie low, and stay holed up for as long as it may take to discourage their citizens from seeking the truth.

  8. Hey, I just learned about a new group called “Trumpocrats” – disgruntled Demoncrats who formed a super PAC and are supporting the Donald. I think more people are throwing off the partisan blinders as this election will make or break us. We are sick of the status quo.

  9. And now for even more corruption! “AS THE NUMEROUS and obvious ethical conflicts surrounding the Clinton Foundation receive more media scrutiny, the tactic of Clinton-loyal journalists is to highlight the charitable work done by the foundation, and then insinuate — or even outright state — that anyone raising these questions is opposed to its charity. James Carville announced that those who criticize the foundation are “going to hell.” Other Clinton loyalists insinuated that Clinton Foundation critics are indifferent to the lives of HIV-positive babies or are anti-gay bigots.

    That the Clinton Foundation has done some good work is beyond dispute. But that fact has exactly nothing to do with the profound ethical problems and corruption threats raised by the way its funds have been raised. Hillary Clinton was America’s chief diplomat, and tyrannical regimes such as the Saudis and Qataris jointly donated tens of millions of dollars to an organization run by her family and operated in its name, one whose works has been a prominent feature of her public persona. That extremely valuable opportunity to curry favor with the Clintons, and to secure access to them, continues as she runs for president.” find at Glenn’s

    Hill says: Citizens United totally rules!

    1. Interesting, too, how little attention is paid to how Clinton as Sec’y repeatedly okayed arms sales to Sudan, despite its use of child soldiers.

      Need I add that Sudan donated significant sums to the Clinton Foundation?

      As for doing “good works,” that’s irrelevant. Even the mob donated to orphanages.

  10. @Nick

    Agree – the Hildebeest MUST be defeated. I am confident he will win in SC despite the despotic RNC folk who are against him – all pro TPP as fits the usual pattern. I will vote for Jill to pull votes off HRC.

    Thanks for posting the names of those women – I will check them out.

  11. The collective amnesia from the right on this issue is mindless. Bush sr ran and operated the points of light foundation as president. He collected money and met with donors. The cabel of Dubya-Cheney made tons of money from their lies about the war…But lets all forget all that………….

      1. Meanwhile, outside the world of partisan Democratic fan fiction, Points-of-Light is the issue of a merger between the original Points-of-Light Foundation and the Hands On Network. The original was founded in 1990, during the 1st Bush administration. It has a revenue stream of about $27 million per annum (the Clinton Foundaiton rakes in $140 million). It’s boss until recently was Democratic pol Michelle Nunn. It’s current CEO is Tracy Hoover, a protege of Nunn’s who has been a non-profit sector functionary for 25 of her 50 years. It has about 90 employees of which the most handsomely compensated receives about $240,000 a year including benefits. About 80% of its revenue goes to program expenses.

        Oh, and this is cute:

        1. What is forgotten here it that is was a Republican Senator who asked “What did the president know and when did he know it?”
          It was a Republican who stood up for the rule of law.
          I know who that was, do you?

    1. The story about Points of Light. Why, after reading this would you even suggest there is something corrupt with something G. W. H. Bush started and supported? You think we won’t check up on this? But you gotta explain how this totally open and transparent volunteer organization compares to the Clinton Foundation. So yes, I do forget about your lame comparison.

      The Points of Light Story

      1987: Community advocates found New York Cares.
      1989: President George H. W. Bush’s inaugural address invokes the vision of a “thousand points of light,” and invites the nation to take action through service to their fellow citizens.
      1990: President Bush establishes the Daily Point of Light Award for individuals making a difference. During his administration, President Bush formally recognizes more than 1,000 volunteers as “points of light.” He advocates that “points of light” demonstrate how “a neighbor can help a neighbor.” The award is now administered by Points of Light.
      1990: In response to President Bush’s call to action, Points of Light Foundation is created as an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization to encourage and empower the spirit of service. The new nonprofit extends President Bush’s vision, understanding that “what government alone can do is limited, but the potential of the American people knows no limits.”
      1991: The Points of Light Foundation merges with the National Volunteer Center Network.
      1992: Hands On Atlanta, New York Cares and Greater DC Cares found CityCares (later named HandsOn Network) as an umbrella organization to provide a national network for sharing resources.
      1993: President Bill Clinton signs the National and Community Service Trust Act, which initiates the founding of AmeriCorps, a national service program that engages Americans in voluntary action to address the country’s most critical issues.

  12. This is happening all the time now….even at the state/local level. There appears to be little or no risk to politicians or bureaucrats for stonewalling this stuff.

    What would happen to a citizen if this situation was in reverse? Would a citizen receiving a subpoena be a fair analogy? IRS Audit?

    1. How about a state that refuses to include Legislators emails with the items that can be obtained with a publuc records request? Washington State excludes these d0uchebags’ emails from the list of items that are obtainable! It is unbelievable. And Washington State even has a “Sunshine” Commitee to prove (lol) they aren’t on the take.

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