The American Oversight liberal interest group has called for an investigation in response to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stating this month that the State Department will release former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails, which were stored on her unsecured private server despite containing classified information.
On October 9, in an interview with Dana Perino of The Daily Briefing on Fox News, Pompeo stated that the emails will be released “as fast as we can” to the public so that “the American people can see it.”
“We’ve got the emails. We’re getting them out,” Pompeo said, adding that there is more to come before November’s election.
“I certainly think there’ll be more to see before the election,” he said.
Blasting Clinton for putting classified information at risk, Pompeo stated that “it’s not the kind of thing that leaders do; they don’t put that kind of information out.”
On Friday, in response to Pompeo’s calls, American Oversight called on the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and the State Department’s acting inspector general to immediately investigate Pompeo’s calls to continue to release former Secretary Clinton’s emails.
The investigation called for is centered around whether releasing the emails violates the Hatch Act, a federal law that prohibits political activities of federal employees while on official duty.
In response, Pompeo ridiculed the idea that revealing the Clinton emails would breach the law.
“Releasing emails for the sake of transparency can’t possibly be a violation of the Hatch Act,” he told a reporter.
The group also urged the OSC and the inspector general to prevent Pompeo from ordering any State Department employees to release information “in an unlawful attempt to influence the outcome of the election.”
American Oversight is a left-wing ethics watchdog, activist, and litigation organization that focuses on filing open records requests targeting Republican interests, especially those of the Trump administration.
Founded in March 2017 in response to President Donald Trump’s election, the group immediately called for an investigation into the reported use by members of the Trump administration of non-governmental email and messaging apps to conduct government business.
“No one is above the law. If members of the new administration are breaking the law by using personal email accounts or encrypted applications, they must be held accountable,” said Austin Evers, the group’s founder. “The Justice Department and National Archives should immediately investigate these potentially illegal communications.”
Despite past calls to investigate the Trump administration for possible breaches of government communications protocol, the group is actively seeking to prevent the release of more potentially damaging Clinton emails.
American Oversight is run by Austin Evers, a past donor to Barack Obama as well as a former Clinton attorney and State Department lawyer who oversaw the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process surrounding the public release of Secretary Clinton’s emails.
Evers also worked for Williams & Connolly, the law firm where Clinton’s lawyer David Kendall previously worked. Evers joined Kendall at the State Department to assist in the release of Clinton’s emails, determining which emails were purportedly personal and which required classification.
Evers claimed he joined the State Department to work on the Benghazi investigations and provide “legal advice on how best to navigate those situations.”
“When I went to the State Department, it was because the department was facing an onslaught of investigations, including public records requests about Benghazi, and I worked on that and all the issues that flowed out of it,” he said.
At the time, Evers’ hiring drew scrutiny from several members of Congress.
Former House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) called on the State OIG to investigate the hiring of Evers from Clinton’s prior law firm to handle FOIA requests for her emails despite having no prior experience handling FOIA requests or classified document productions.
“At the very least, this suspect arrangement raises questions about the State Department hiring process,” Goodlatte wrote to the agency’s inspector general, Steven Linick. “At worst, it suggests willful obstruction by handpicked Clinton associates at the State Department on behalf of former Secretary Clinton, to ensure damaging or incriminating documents never saw the light of day.”
In addition, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter to former Secretary of State John Kerry questioning the hiring of Evers.
While serving as Secretary of State, Clinton was found to have solely used her unsecure, non-government private email server for official public communications rather than the official State Department email accounts maintained on secure federal servers. As a result, classified and other sensitive government information was transmitted in a highly unsecure fashion.
An FBI examination of Clinton’s server found over 100 emails containing classified information, including dozens deemed “Secret” or “Top Secret.” Over 2,000 more emails were retroactively classified by the State Department.
According to the FBI’s notes, an ‘intense round of deleting’ began weeks after lawmakers subpoenaed Clinton’s emails following a New York Times report exposing her secret server.
Despite claiming to value transparency, the Democrats — along with assistance from the media — have taken unprecedented steps to conceal any damaging stories that reveal the extent of corruption of which the previous administration was involved.
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.