For years the State Department has been notoriously slow walking Freedom of Information Act requests from the media. Coincidentally, many of the requests pertain to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private email system. Government watchdog Judicial Watch and free speech advocacy group Citizens United have filed countless FOIA lawsuits against the Department after requests went unfulfilled. Members of the media often wait months, if not years, for information.
Failing to properly comply with FOIA requests is a violation of federal law and now, the House Oversight Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Thursday looking into just how widespread the practice of failing to respond to requests really is. In addition, the Committee will look into how FOIA was purposely avoided by Clinton's use of a private server (FOIA only covers government accounts).
"According to the State Inspector General, there are numerous weaknesses in the FOIA operations at the Office of the Secretary. From 2009 through 2013, State lost an untold number of federal records to inappropriate record keeping practices by Secretary Hillary Clinton and her senior staff," the Committee released Wednesday. "Due to State's inadequate recordkeeping, hundreds of FOIA requesters received incomplete responses and it remains unclear whether those requesters will ever receive a full and complete response."
Witnesses include State Department Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kenned, Transparency Coordinator Janice Jacobs, Director and Executive Secretariat Karin Lang and Deputy Director for Correspondence, Records, and Staffing Division Clarence N. Finney, Jr.