July 20, 2015: A federal judge criticizes “the State Department for four years dragging their feet” over their release of some Clinton’s documents.

Judge Richard J. Leon (Credit: Borderland Beat)

Judge Richard J. Leon (Credit: Borderland Beat)

US District Judge Richard J. Leon is responding to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, mostly relating to Clinton’s daily calendars and schedules, not her emails. (Politico, 7/20/2015Leon says that “even the least ambitious bureaucrat” could process the request faster than the State Department’s efforts. The Associated Press is suing the State Department to release more documents. (Foreign Policy, 7/30/2015)

August 7, 2015: The State Department is ordered to release more Clinton documents.

US District Judge Richard J. Leon sets a stringent schedule for the department to provide the Associated Press with the documents they requested in a lawsuit over the next eight months. The order issued by Leon does not include the over 30,000 Clinton emails the State Department has already scheduled to be released in the Leopold case, nor does it include the 20 boxes given to the State Department by Philippe Reines, a former Clinton senior adviser. The documents include thousands of pages of Clinton’s calendars and schedules. (The Associated Press, 8/7/2015)

June 28, 2016: A federal judge accuses the State Department of running out the clock on a FOIA lawsuit to politically protect Clinton.

US District Judge Richard Leon (Credit: public domain)

US District Judge Richard Leon (Credit: public domain)

In 2010, military contractor BAE Systems pled guilty to violating US arms export control laws and regulations, and paid a $400 million fine to the US government. Then in 2011, it settled a civil suit on the same issue, paying an additional $69 million fine, but maintaining the right to receive US government contracts and export licenses. In August 2013, the Associated Press filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to learn more about what many call a “sweetheart deal,” and Clinton’s possible role in it as secretary of state. In March 2015, that turned into a FOIA lawsuit after the State Department only turned over three documents out of 13,000 pages responsive to the request.

On June 28, 2016, US District Court Judge Richard Leon says that the department’s recent assertion that it will take until mid-October 2016 to hand over the document is a non-starter due to the proximity to the November 8, 2016 general election. He says: “This case has been dragging on for a long time […] We’re now reaching a point of mounting frustration that this is a project where State is running out the clock. There’s no way I’m ever going to grant you an extension to mid-October because that would effectively run out the clock.” Leon wants to not only get the documents released before the election, but also to have them released by early September 2016 so there is time to litigate whether the department’s redactions are legally justified. He openly threatens penalties on the State Department and other departments if they don’t speed up working together to release the documents. (Politico, 6/28/2016)