The State Department requested a prolonged delay in producing email records of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's aides, asking a federal judge to push back a deadline by more than two years, according to Politico
U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras received the request on Wednesday from Justice Department lawyers, who said that the State Department wouldn't be able to meet a July 21 deadline to comply with the court's orders.
Citizens United, the conservative group who brought the lawsuit earlier this year, called the extension "totally unacceptable."
"The State Department is using taxpayer dollars to protect their candidate Hillary Clinton. The American people have a right to see these emails before the election," said David Bossie, Citizens United's president.
"If transparency is truly important to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, they will order the production of all of these records as ordered by the court by July 21," Bossie said. "The conflicts of interest that were made possible by the activities of Hillary Clinton's State Department in tandem with the Clinton Foundation are of significant importance to the public and the law enforcement community."
Earlier this month, the State Department asserted in court papers that complying requires assembling 450,000 pages of documents and would take 75 years at the going rate of 500 pages a month, CNN reported
. The department also cited a dramatic increase in the number of requests it has received under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, in recent years.
"The volume of FOIA requests received by the Department has tripled since 2008," spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told CNN.
"In fiscal year 2015 alone we received approximately 22,000 FOIA requests," she said. "The requests are also frequently more complex and seek larger volumes of documents, requiring significantly more time, resources, and interagency coordination. While we have increased staffing for our FOIA office, our available resources are still nonetheless constrained."
The Republican National Committee sued
in March, seeking "a declaratory judgment that the State Department has improperly withheld the requested records." The RNC cited the department's failure "to make a determination as to the requests within twenty working days, as required by FOIA."
The State Department claims that a backlog has developed because of 106 pending FOIA lawsuits, considerably slowing its ability to respond.
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