It's a difficult time for the woman many people hope will become the next President of the United States. Currently under intense media scrutiny following the revelation that she used a personal account for government-related email communications as Secretary of State — emails that her staff failed to properly keep records of — another possible conundrum could hit the assumed Democratic frontrunner in 2016; a ruling on the the conservative lobbying group Citizens United's lawsuit on Hillary Clinton's flight records is expected to be announced this week.
Citizens United filed a lawsuit last year after the State Department refused to disclose flight records that detailed the persons accompanying Clinton on overseas trips. The group intended to cross-reference the flight records with contributors who donated to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, in what it said was pre-production research for the sequel to its political documentary about the former senator, Hillary: The Movie.
Citizens United requested the flight records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), as one of its 16 appeals to the State Department since May that have not been fulfilled. At the announcement of the latest lawsuit in December, President of the right-leaning group, David N. Bossie, said in the press release:
The American people have a right to know who accompanied Secretary Clinton on these trips. Were there any big political contributors to previous or future Clinton campaigns on board? Were there any Clinton Foundation financial supporters on board?
But the group isn't the only one that filed FOIA appeals for access to Clinton's correspondences and documents while she was working in the Obama administration. Two years ago, Gawker requested under FOIA for all correspondence to that date between Hillary Clinton and Sidney Blumenthal, a close adviser and former staff member in the Clinton White House — specifically from the ongoing controversy that is her email address, email@example.com, that she had used to conduct both government and personal business.
Amid the possibility of the State Department's seeming secrecy on Clinton boiling over, the Associated Press announced on Wednesday that it is considering legal action over unfulfilled FOIA requests for government files during her tenure as Secretary of State. AP had asked for Clinton's full schedule and calendars, among other documents requested dating back to March 2010.
New York Daily News reported that the State Department is one the worst-performing federal agencies under FOIA. But its tedious pace in responding to requests for Clinton-related documents has most recently come under fire from media agencies and political groups trying to investigate her role in the Obama administration as one of its most prominent cabinet members before she is expected to announce her 2016 presidential bid.
On top of the ongoing email scandal, the State Department's refusal to comply with requests about Clinton will only further be a disservice to her, especially considering her claim back in 2008 that she was "the most transparent person in public life."