Citizens United filed a lawsuit Thursday demanding that the State Department turn over correspondence it hopes will help determine whether Hillary Rodham Clinton’s decisions as the nation’s top diplomat were swayed by a pair of wealthy donors to her family’s foundation.
WASHINGTON — The conservative group Citizens United filed a lawsuit Thursday demanding that the State Department turn over correspondence it hopes will help determine whether Hillary Rodham Clinton’s decisions as the nation’s top diplomat were swayed by a pair of wealthy donors to her family’s foundation.
Citizens United said in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that its public-records requests for documents from the State Department under the Freedom of Information Act have gone unanswered for seven to 10 months.
“The only way to get results is to force bureaucrats into court,” said David Bossie, Citizens United’s president and chairman.
The group had requested various electronic and written communications about two longtime political supporters of Clinton and her husband, former President Clinton: Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire businessman Gilbert Chagoury and Chicago securities trader Raj Fernando.
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Chagoury has donated between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, now called the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Fernando has contributed between $500,000 and $1 million.
Clinton’s office and the State Department did not respond to requests for comment on the suit. Clinton, 67, is expected to announce her second run for the White House within weeks.
Bossie said he wants to know whether Chagoury’s donations played any role in Clinton’s initial decision not to designate the Nigerian-based Boko Haram a terrorist group.
Some experts have said that the foreign-policy and intelligence community was split about Boko Haram at the time. Only later was the group tied to al-Qaida-affiliated groups and blamed for various attacks, rapes and kidnappings in Nigeria, including those of more than 200 schoolgirls in April 2014.
Clinton’s successor, John Kerry, designated Boko Haram as a foreign-terrorist organization when he became secretary in 2013.
Last month, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., raised the same questions about Chagoury’s donations and Boko Haram.
Fernando, chief executive of Chopper Trading, a Chicago-based trading firm he founded in 2002, has raised money for President Obama and Hillary Clinton. He was appointed in 2011 to advise Hillary Clinton on security issues along with nuclear scientists, former Cabinet secretaries and lawmakers. His appointment raised questions because he had no international-security background. After ABC News contacted the State Department to ask about his qualifications, Fernando said he had stepped down.
Bossie said he is seeking public records to determine whether donations had anything to do with Fernando’s appointment.
Thursday’s lawsuit marks the fifth the group has filed in recent months after its Freedom of Information requests went unanswered at the State Department.
The Clintons’ foundation has received millions of dollars in donations from foreign governments, businesses, individuals and nongovernmental organizations around the globe. Indeed, a phosphate export firm owned by the Moroccan government will give the foundation at least $1 million before a May meeting the charity is to host in Morocco, Politico reported Thursday.