Documents a federal judge ordered released on Friday will help clear up whether Hillary Clinton hosted any political contributors or donors to her family charity on the 47 overseas trips she made as secretary of state.
Judge Gladys Kessler of the U.S. District court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of Citizens United, a conservative advocacy group, The New York Times reported.
Citizens United filed a Freedom of Information Act request in July for flight logs and expense records of all of Clinton’s official trips. When State failed to turn over the documents in time, the group filed suit in December.
“The American people have a right to know who accompanied Secretary Clinton on these trips,” Citizens United president David Bossie said at the time. “Were there any big political contributors to previous or future Clinton campaigns on board? Were there any Clinton Foundation financial supporters on board?”
Kessler’s ruling requires the State Department to turn over the first batch of records by April 3. The rest must be turned over every two weeks and the request must be fulfilled in full no later than Aug. 1.
Friday’s ruling touches on two Clinton weaknesses, which have only been revealed recently. Clinton has come under fire for her exclusive use of a private email account during her time in office. As that story has unraveled it has become clear that both Clinton and the State Department disregarded rules governing records archiving and FOIA requests. The agency has denied a number of FOIA requests for Clinton emails, claiming that the records did not exist.
But Clinton’s official government emails should have been turned over in response to those requests.
This week The Associated Press, the website Gawker and the conservative watchdog Judicial Watch have all filed suit over those denials and over other pending FOIA requests.
It was also revealed that the Clinton Foundation, the former first family’s charity, received foreign donations while Hillary served as secretary of state, raising questions about possible conflicts of interest.
“Clearly, the State Department is not getting the benefit of the doubt from judges anymore,” Bossie told The New York Times after Friday’s ruling.