A federal judge ordered the Department of State to speed up delivery of documents related to then-Secretary Hillary Clinton’s decision to continue awarding contracts to a defense manufacturer guilty of lying to government officials.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon told officials that even if it meant giving up weekends, State had to speed up delivery of all memos and communications with British defense contractor BAE Systems.
“Tell your colleagues at the State Department … weekend trips to Nantucket should be off the table,” Leon said to one of the federal lawyers in court Wednesday, according to the Associate Press. “They should be rolling up their sleeves to get this done.”
The documents are related to State’s decision to continue contracting with the U.S. subsidiary of BAE Systems after the company pleaded guilty to misleading investigators concerning compliance to regulations restricting foreign arms trafficking.
The Associated Press, which filed the Freedom of Information Act suit in 2013, says it is important to have the documents before the November election, as voters will decide whether to elect Hillary Clinton as president.
“Many of those elements relate directly to decisions that American voters are going to have to make in this election,” Jay Brown, a lawyer for the AP said in court week. “At least they potentially relate to that. We don’t have the documents.”
The State Department missed a key deadline last week, saying they needed until October 17 to gather the documents.
BAE, one of the largest defense contractors in the world, allegedly committed 2,591 violations of arms control regulations. They pleaded guilty in March 2010 to only one count of conspiring to mislead the government regarding their compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. According to the Justice Department, BAE lied about a series of payments made to Saudi Arabian officials between 2000 and 2002.
After a $400 million settlement with the Justice Department, BAE lobbied the State Department in 2011 and 2012 through the Podesta Group, a powerful D.C. firm with close ties to the Clinton family. The State Department debarred the company from receiving defense contracts, but at the same moment rescinded the debarment, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time.
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