WASHINGTON (AP) — Seven months after a federal judge ordered the State Department to begin releasing monthly batches of the detailed daily schedules showing meetings by Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state, the government told The Associated Press it won’t finish the job before Election Day.
The department has so far released about half of the schedules. Its lawyers said in a phone conference with the AP’s lawyers that the department now expects to release the last of the detailed schedules around Dec. 30, weeks before the next president is inaugurated.
The AP’s lawyers late Friday formally asked the State Department to hasten that effort so that the department could provide all Clinton’s minute-by-minute schedules by Oct. 15. The agency did not immediately respond.
The schedules drew new attention this week after the AP analyzed the ones released so far. The news agency found that more than half the people outside the government who met or spoke by telephone with Clinton while she was secretary of state had given money – either personally or through companies or groups – to the Clinton Foundation. The AP’s analysis focused on people with private interests and excluded her meetings or calls with U.S. federal employees or foreign government representatives.
The AP’s reporting was based on official calendars covering Clinton’s entire term plus the more-detailed daily schedules covering roughly half her time as secretary of state. The AP first asked for Clinton’s calendars in 2010 and again in 2013. It then sued the State Department in federal court to obtain the detailed schedules, and the department so far has provided about half of them under court order.
Clinton has said the AP’s analysis was flawed because it did not account fully for all meetings and phone calls during her entire term as secretary. She also said the analysis should have included meetings with federal employees and foreign diplomats. The AP said it focused on her meetings with outsiders because those were more discretionary, as Clinton would normally meet with federal officials and foreign officials as part of her job.
Clinton said she met with people outside government regardless of whether they gave money or charitable commitments to her family’s charity.
“These are people I would be proud to meet with, as any secretary of state would have been proud to meet with, to hear about their work and their insights,” Clinton said this week on CNN.
With the foundation drawing continued attention, Clinton promised Friday to put in place additional safeguards to prevent conflicts of interest with the charity should she win the White House.
The foundation issue, along with continued focus on her use of a private email server, has dogged Clinton politically throughout the week, drawing strong criticism from opponent Donald Trump.
Former President Bill Clinton said last week that if she is elected president, the foundation will no longer accept foreign or corporate donations.
The State Department is now estimating there are about 2,700 pages of schedules left. Under its process, it is reviewing and censoring them page-by-page to remove personal details such as private phone numbers or email addresses. In some cases it has censored names of people who met privately with Clinton or the subjects they discussed.
A State Department spokeswoman, Elizabeth Trudeau, declined to discuss the ongoing case and noted the agency is struggling with thousands of public records requests….(read more)
Source: Associated Press
Justice gears up to prosecute campaign ‘coordination.’
You know the 2016 election is heating up when the Justice Department announces it’s gearing up to prosecute campaign-finance “coordination” between candidates and outside groups. If you thought the IRS targeting of conservative nonprofits was troubling, watch what Justice can do to criminalize political speech.
Justice said in a recent statement that it plans to “aggressively pursue coordination offenses at every appropriate opportunity.” That’s a warning for Republican candidates and the SuperPacs that support them. Note to major players: The federal government can subpoena your documents, email, computers and bank records in a political fishing expedition conducted by the FBI.
“A coordination investigation can be started on almost any pretext. All you need is an allegation that someone talked to someone they should not have. Once the investigation makes it over that low evidentiary hurdle, the feds can comb through every shred of personal and group communications to find illegal contact.”
Under federal law, a campaign expenditure is illegally coordinated when it meets certain tests for content and conduct. The content of an ad must either advocate for a candidate or mention the candidate by name in the 60 days before a general election. The conduct amounts to illegal coordination if there is material involvement or substantial discussion between a SuperPac and a candidate regarding that election-related content.
“Ms. Lerner knows all about campaign “coordination,” having led a multiyear FEC coordination investigation into the Christian Coalition in the 1990s. Ms. Lerner was pursuing a theory that the group had illegally coordinated its issue advocacy with candidates. That theory was rejected in federal court.”
A coordination investigation can be started on almost any pretext. All you need is an allegation that someone talked to someone they should not have. Once the investigation makes it over that low evidentiary hurdle, the feds can comb through every shred of personal and group communications to find illegal contact.
“GOP campaigns better lawyer up because Mr. Pilger’s speech police are gunning for you.”
We’ve seen how this wrecking ball works in Wisconsin, where Governor Scott Walker ’s conservative allies had their records seized and homes raided based on mere claims of coordination. Justice is now essentially giving itself sway to probe every Republican presidential campaign based on an accusation from some left-wing activist. Read the rest of this entry »
— Byron York (@ByronYork) July 30, 2014
“It’s the issue of fair treatment. You know you don’t want to have a country where lady justice has one eye open and she winks at her friends and then gives the evil eye to her enemies.”
— Dinesh D’Souza
Megyn Kelly: It’s an end around the campaign finance laws.
Dinesh D’Souza: Yes. It’s an end around campaign finance law. I acknowledge responsibility. And I have — I did admit doing that from the beginning. But I did contest the issue of selective prosecution, why was I being — so, we made a motion before the judge on selective prosecution but in a ruling last week he said no you can’t bring that into the case. So what really happened is I was going into a trial with in a sense, no defense.
Megyn Kelly: Do you feel chilled at all from, you know, the kind of work you do, the kind of films you make now?
Dinesh D’Souza: Well, one thing, Megyn, I mean, this is been a bit of a scary process…
Mario Trujillo reports: Hidden camera footage of what appeared to be Supreme Court proceedings from earlier this week surfaced on Thursday, offering one the of the first public recordings of the High Court’s proceedings.
“I rise on behalf of the vast majority of American people who believe that money is not speech, corporations are not people, and our democracy should not be for sale to the highest bidder…”
A video posted on YouTube and recorded by 99 Rise, a group that supports tougher campaign finance laws, shows proceedings leading up to and during a rare protest that took place in the court Wednesday.
Noah Kai Newkirk, a leader of the group, is seen in the video standing up and calling on the court to overturn the 2010 Citizens United ruling that opened the door to corporate political donations and led to the creation of super-PACs.
Timothy P. Carney writes: I’m generally for more disclosure in campaign finance, but the best argument against requiring full disclosure by groups engaged in political speech is that politicians sometimes retaliate against their critics. Sen. Elizabeth Warren inadvertently made that very argument this week.
As told by Ben White at Politico, a group called “Third Way” criticized Warren. Warren apparently suspected that Third Way’s criticism of her was funded by banks. So she wrote a letter to bank CEOs demanding they disclose which political groups they’re funding.