In what may be a glimpse of more troubles ahead for Hillary Clinton, a federal judge on Friday ordered the State Department to release the passenger manifests of overseas flights the likely 2016 presidential hopeful took while serving as secretary of state.
Did she take Clinton Foundation donors with her as a thank you for their support? Some are wondering.
The Citizens United conservative advocacy group filed a federal lawsuit after it repeatedly requested the flight information under the Freedom of Information Act, only to have the requests repeatedly rebuffed since July, according to The New York Times.
A federal judge agreed enough is enough. The Times reported:
Judge Gladys Kessler of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the State Department to produce passenger manifests from 47 overseas trips that Mrs. Clinton made as secretary of state. Citizens United requested the manifests last July through a Freedom of Information Act Request.
The State Department, the judge wrote, must release the first batch of records by April 3, with more being released every two weeks; all the documents must be given to the group no later than Aug. 1.
“Clearly, the State Department is not getting the benefit of the doubt from judges anymore,” Citizens United President David N. Bossie told The Times.
The group has made 18 separate unfulfilled requests for the flight information, according to its lawsuit.
Other Freedom of Information Act requests related to Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state have been stymied because she used a private email account to conduct official business. But passenger manifests may offer important insight, Citizens United says.
The Atlantic magazine called Clinton “a George Clooney of foreign affairs” for racking up more than 950,000 air miles while visiting 112 countries during her four years as secretary of state.
If she made all those trips on the public dime, Americans have a right to know who accompanied her — especially if they weren’t other public officials.
Clinton has at times practically bragged about her heavy travel schedule, which potential presidential candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina found worth noting at a conservative Iowa event earlier this year.
“Like Hillary Clinton, I too, have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe, but unlike her, I have actually accomplished something,” Fiorina told the crowd in January. “Mrs. Clinton, flying is an activity, not an accomplishment.”
And denying the public the opportunity to examine official records isn’t an accomplishment, either, despite what the Clintons may think.
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