by Tom Fitton –
Inspectors general offices (OIG) are established under federal law at federal agencies as “independent and objective units within most agencies. Their duties are to combat waste, fraud, and abuse in the programs and operations of their respective agencies.” Under the Obama administration, OIG independence has been attacked, and many IG vacancies have gone unfilled, as we’ve detailed in our New York Times best seller, The Corruption Chronicles. Obama subversion aside, OIG reports can serve the public interest.
Along those lines, the State Department’s OIG yesterday released a report regarding the Hillary Clinton email scandal and the mishandling of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the State Department. Our statement, below, gives you an idea of how devastating it is for Hillary Clinton and her co-conspirators in the Obama administration:
The Clinton email scandal is worsening. Today’s State OIG report confirms what we’ve been saying all along – that Hillary Clinton and the Obama State Department thwarted specific Judicial Watch FOIA requests by lying about her email system with “inaccurate” and “incomplete” responses. The State Department OIG report is half-baked but nonetheless devastating in laying out the violations of law and regulations by Hillary Clinton and her then-Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills. Judicial Watch plans to share this report with several federal courts considering our requests for discovery about the Clinton email issue. The OIG admits it still doesn’t know the extent of the inaccuracies and other violations of FOIA and correctly suggests that officials could be held in contempt of court for FOIA fraud. This is exactly why Judicial Watch is asking the courts for discovery, which could include putting current and former Obama administration officials under oath. Judicial Watch wants to know the facts behind Hillary Clinton’s and the Obama State Department’s purposeful thwarting of FOIA so we can be sure that all of the emails from her illicit email system are reviewed and released to the public as the law requires.
Judicial Watch is asking for discovery concerning Hillary Clinton’s emails in three separate FOIA lawsuits against the State Department:
Lawsuit against Secretary of State John Kerry to force action on Clinton emails
Lawsuit for records of talking points given to Ambassador Rice regarding the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya
Lawsuit for records on State Department’s “Special Government Employment” status for Clinton aide Huma Abedin
Notably, the OIG specifically cites our Benghazi and Abedin FOIA requests listed above as being thwarted by the Clinton State Department’s FOIA fraud. The OIG report also points the finger at Hillary Clinton’s then-Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills for supervising an “incorrect” no-records response to the left-wing watchdog CREW’s request asking about Hillary Clinton email accounts! (Ironically, CREW was founded by the Clinton-gang as an alternative to JW!) We’ve seen this game before from Mills. Recall that Cheryl Mills was excoriated by a federal judge for another email scandal in our lawsuit against Hillary Clinton over the Clinton FBI (Filegate) scandal. We warned about Cheryl Mills back in 2009:
During the course of its “Filegate” litigation against the Clinton White House, which pilfered the private FBI files of former Reagan and Bush staffers, Judicial Watch uncovered more than 1.8 million email communications the Clinton White House withheld from Judicial Watch, federal investigators and members of Congress.
In this case, as is typical for Washington, there was a cover-up to match the crime. When White House computer contractor (and JW client) Betty Lambuth discovered the email communications, high-level White House officials instructed her to keep her mouth shut about the hidden e-mail or face dismissal and jail time. They issued the same threat to other White House contractors aware of the hidden email. (This makes the Bush administration email scandal, however troubling, seem like tiddlywinks by comparison.)
Judicial Watch’s discovery resulted in a six-month federal court hearing into the email scandal, during which Clinton officials were deposed, including Cheryl Mills. Mills was, in fact, aware of the missing White House emails but “assumed” someone else was handling the matter.
In an April 28, 2008, ruling in the email scandal, Judge Royce C. Lamberth called Cheryl Mills’ participation in the matter “loathsome.” He further stated Mills was responsible for “the most critical error made in this entire fiasco… Mills’ actions were totally inadequate to address the problem.” (Unfortunately, Judge Lamberth ruled there was no evidence of a conspiracy or obstruction of justice.)
Loathsome and totally inadequate. Say hello to the new Chief of Staff for the Secretary of State, ladies and gentlemen.
Is it credible that Cheryl Mills and Hillary Clinton (who paid her lawyers every day to participate in that amazing email hearing before Judge Lamberth) were ignorant of email record-keeping issues?
Much of the media would have you think the Clinton email scandal is fading. Hardly. See the story below for more.
Retrieved Emails Show Top Clinton
Aide Prioritized Advertising Design over
the Deaths of U.S. Personnel in Benghazi
As noted above, this week the State Department Office of Inspector General report confirms that the State Department under Hillary Clinton knowingly violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by hiding Hillary Clinton’s emails and the emails of her top staff – including Cheryl Mills. What was the Clinton gang trying to hide?
Well, this week we alerted the world to new State Department emails in which then-Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills quickly moves past condolences over the slaying of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens to focus her attention on the design of her private company’s logo by a prominent international advertising firm – GSD&M. Incredibly, these emails were written 24 hours after the Benghazi terrorist attacks!
Once again, it was Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information (FOIA) litigation against the State Department that forced Mills and other Clinton aides to turn over emails from the non-State.gov accounts they improperly used to conduct government business.
The emails, obtained under a court order in a JW lawsuit, reference the logo design for the “cdmillsGroup,” a private company set up by Mills on January 3, 2013, a month before she left her job at the State Department. The Mills “cdmillsGroup” logo discussion includes another government employee, Jean-Louis Warnholz, then-State Department senior advisor to Hillary Clinton. (Warnholz would go on to be a business partner with Mills in another company.)
The Judicial Watch lawsuit was filed on September 4, 2014, seeking:
• All records related to notes, updates, or reports created in response to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. This request includes, but is not limited to, notes taken by then Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton or employees of the Office of the Secretary of State during the attack and its immediate aftermath.
On September 13, 2012, at 4:31 p.m., Judy Trabulsi, a co-founder of the GSD&M advertising firm, sent Mills the following email:
Cheryl — I haven’t stopped watching the news and my heart breaks for Ambassador Stevens’ family, for Hillary (and you) and all those who worked with him. What an amazing life he lived and he had to be among the best Ambassadors in the Foreign Service.
I was going to give you the printouts of the new logos tomorrow (I think they are great) but thought you’d like to look at them over the weekend.
Sending a “heart hug” to you.
Much love – Judy
Trabulsi also attached for Mills another email describing proposed logos:
The first has the cdmillsGroup logo in the sans-serif and the second has it in the serif font. Adjusted the burnt orange color to be more accurate. Both pdfs show the logo, letterhead, business card and envelope. The tag line is printed like a watermark on the letterhead. In addition, as we discussed, you’ll find the “double-globe endeavor branding element” used on a brochure cover and two powerpoint slides. Don’t hesitate to email me back with any questions.
Mills responded to Trabulsi on September 13, 2012, at 11:32 p.m.:
The bough bent and nearly broke this week – Chris was truly one of our best – HRC had picked him especially to go b/c of who he was and what he represented. And Sean was a rising star. Tomorrow we will welcome their remains home wondering how this would be possible. Thank you for your kind words. And thanks for these – I really like them.
I think my preference is the one that is sans serif font. I will scan some comments on them this weekend – I think it’s exactly what I would want so would have only a few tweaks. Thank you so very much.
Mills also forwarded the logo discussion to Jean-Louis Warnholz that night without comment. Warnholz, a senior advisor to Mrs. Clinton at the State Department, responded the next day, September 14, 2012, at 1:06 p.m.:
I really like the cdmillsGroup in sans serif font (first attachment) with the slogan. It’s clean and compelling. I still have reservations about the two globes. It just feels a bit too generic to me.
Separate Judicial Watch FOIA litigation uncovered documents that show that Cheryl Mills used the cdmillsGroup to represent Hillary Clinton in communications with the State Department about Mrs. Clinton’s separate email system.
The cdmillsGroup is apparently still in business. The Hillary For America campaign’s September 3 FEC disbursement report lists a $28,500 payment to the “CdmillsGroup LLC.”
I’ve previously reported to you about documents we released revealing that between 2009 and 2011 former President Clinton spoke to more than two dozen leading international investment firms and banking institutions, many of them on more than one occasion. At least one of the documents shows that Mills used a non-governmental email account for the Clinton ethics reviews. Mills reportedly negotiated the “ethics agreement” on behalf of the Clintons and the Foundation that required the Clintons to submit to rigorous conflict-of-interest checks. Despite this, and in apparent violation of Obama administration ethics rules, the documents reveal that Bill Clinton’s requests for speaking engagement approval were invariably copied to Mills, who was involved in ethics reviews as chief of staff for Mrs. Clinton at the State Department.
The Washington Post reported that Mills was unpaid for her first few months at the State Department and “officially designated as a temporary expert-consultant – a status that allowed her to continue to collect outside income while serving as chief of staff.” (In fact, we just filed a FOIA lawsuit for the ethics and employment records of Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, another longtime and ethically challenged Clinton aide.)
These new Benghazi emails are almost obscene. That Hillary Clinton aide and confidante Cheryl Mills was focused on the font for the logo of her new company – as our Benghazi facility was still smoldering – is unconscionable. And it is no coincidence that Mills used her new business to help Hillary Clinton cover up her email scandal.
Thankfully, Fox News and other media outlets covered our latest find. We expect more emails on Benghazi next week, so stay tuned.
Obama Power Grab Racially Divisive and Dangerous
The Obama administration’s latest abuse of power is incredibly dangerous and racist – and you won’t read much about it in the major media. And, as is typical, Congress is largely oblivious to the new threat to our nation’s constitutional order.
But your Judicial Watch is on the case. This week, we announced our opposition to an effort by the Obama gang here in Washington, DC, to recognize a new race-based “tribe” of Native Hawaiians. Our official letter, sent on behalf of our hundreds of thousands of supporters, details how the Obama Interior Department’s proposed regulation would be contrary to laws against racial discrimination and would be an unconstitutional end-run around Congress, which has repeatedly rejected legislation granting tribal status to Native Hawaiians.
Last month, Judicial Watch persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to issue an injunction to stop the counting of ballots in a race-based election that sought to seat delegates to a planned constitutional convention, which would then prepare the “governance documents” for a separate Native Hawaiian entity that the Obama administration could grant “government-to-government” recognition. Our attorneys argued that JW’s clients would be denied the right to vote either because of their race or their political views, in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Supreme Court issued its historic injunction despite the Obama administration’s legal support for the Hawaiian election, which would have been limited to those with at least “one drop of blood” of Native Hawaiian ancestry or a specific political perspective.
Federal agencies are required to publish proposed rules for public comment and review before finalizing them. JW’s comments, citing last month’s extraordinary Supreme Court intervention, warned that “the process described in the Department’s regulations is racially discriminatory and would violate the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendment rights of Hawaiian citizens.” The proposed regulation would provide for governing documents created and ratified by the Native Hawaiian community, and expressly forbids the inclusion of votes cast by “persons who were not Native Hawaiians.” Indeed, the ancestry requirement set forth in the proposed regulation is virtually identical to ancestry requirements that have twice been enjoined by the Supreme Court in the context of elections-most recently, just a few weeks ago. Judicial Watch urged the Obama Interior Department to stand down:
We urge you and the administration not to insert yourselves into a political movement that would deprive citizens of the right to vote-and ultimately divide them-on the basis of race. The Department’s recognition of the results of such an election would not only condone, but institutionalize, racial discrimination. It would not only be unlawful, it would be unconscionable for the Department of the Interior to use this election-or any process that similarly denies citizens the right to vote because of their lack of a particular bloodline-to advance an administrative agenda.
The Obama administration’s plan also subverts the will of Congress, as federal recognition of tribes is granted only through “a process set forth in congressional statute, not by unilateral executive action … Without proper statutory authorization by Congress, a regulatory scheme promulgated by an executive agency to grant tribal status to Native Hawaiians would violate fundamental separation-of-powers principles.” The Supreme Court described Congress’s power with respect to tribes as being “plenary” – that’s a ten-cent word for “complete.”
Sure enough, Congress has already considered the Hawaiian tribal gambit. In fact, Congress repeatedly rejected attempts by Hawaii’s former Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) to pass legislation (the Akaka Bill) to grant tribal status to Native Hawaiians:
Despite [the proposed regulations’] many references to a “special political and trust relationship” between the United States and Native Hawaiians, the fact remains that the federal government has never recognized Native Hawaiians as a sovereign entity like other Indian tribes. If it had, there would have been no need for the Akaka Bill. The Department’s claim that Congress has “already” recognized Native Hawaiians as a tribe defies both fact and reason.
If that is the case, one must wonder: what exactly was the point of the Akaka Bill? And why did members of Congress spend political energy for more than a decade trying to pass it? If Congress has “already exercised [its] plenary power to recognize Native Hawaiians,” as the Department contends, then why did Congress decline to pass the Akaka Bill, not once, but repeatedly? The Department’s proposal is based on a fiction and ignores the obvious: Native Hawaiians have not been granted federal tribal status because Congress does not support the effort to do so. The Department’s proposed rule is a transparent attempt to implement the failed Akaka Bill through executive action. Without statutory authorization, it would be unlawful to promulgate this regulation.
We warn that the Obama administration’s plan to recognize a tribe in Hawaii “would condone the division of Hawaiian citizens based on their race, and set a ‘dangerous precedent’ for further race-based divisions by other groups in other states.”
The Obama administration’s latest attempted bureaucratic action to create a new tribe of Native Hawaiians is racist, unconstitutionally steals power from Congress, and could tear the country apart. Of course, one of the insuperable obstacles to “recognizing” a Native Hawaiian entity is that Hawaii had a truly multicultural and modern society before it ever became a United States territory or state. The Obama administration’s latest executive action would illegally help a radical secessionist movement in Hawaii that is engaged in a dangerous game of racial division.
Our attorneys already beat this Hawaiian secessionist movement in the U.S. Supreme Court once. I can tell you, if the Obama administration ignores the rule of law and proceeds with its cynical and dangerous ploy, they can expect another challenge in court.
Tom Fitton – President