The State Department’s recent discovery of thousands of unsearched records from Hillary Clinton’s tenure has delayed several public records lawsuits and could keep many of the documents out of the public sphere until next fall.
The watchdog groups Citizens United and Judicial Watch, which are suing the State Department for Clinton-related records, are two plaintiffs that have been affected by the discovery. The State Department said the new documents could take months to process, a time period that extends well beyond its court-ordered deadlines.
Citizens United said the State Department has yet to explain how the electronic files were overlooked for the past two years, raising questions about whether this was a stonewalling effort. The group is seeking records related to Clinton donors Gilbert Chagoury and Rajiv Fernando.
“With this 11th hour revelation, the State Department has missed its court-ordered deadline to finish the production of documents in this case,” said David N. Bossie, president of Citizens United. “These newly discovered records could impact document production in other Citizens United FOIA lawsuits as well as cases involving other plaintiffs.”
On Jan. 14, the State Department disclosed in a Judicial Watch case that officials had recently found shared and individual electronic files in the executive secretary’s office that were not previously searched in response to the lawsuit. Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit last May.