Responding to an Associated Press (AP) lawsuit, a federal judge has ordered the Department of State to accelerate the delivery of documents and emails in connection with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s decision to allow the Pentagon to continue business dealing with a British defense firm which admitted breaking federal law.
The AP filed suit after State did not fulfill a 2013 Freedom of Information (FOIA) request for documentation related to the role Clinton played in the decision to resume business with a British defense contractor.
British contractor, BAE Systems, admitted in March 2010 it had engaged in a two-decade-long business exercise of paying representatives of the Saudi Arabian government tribute payments, a violation of the 1977 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
BAE paid a $400 million fine in 2010 after pleading guilty to one charge of filing a false statement over its relationship with Saudi officials.
Convictions for violations of the statute often lead to restrictions on business dealings with firms admitting corruption; there are cases in which the violations caused the U.S. to permanently suspend business dealing with the violating firm and all subsidiaries.
According to documents obtained, the State Department agreed to continue business with BAE, awarding further defense contracts after Mrs. Clinton had been made aware of the case and the specifics of BAE’s offenses.
In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon warned State attorneys on any further delays:
“As many claims as you are asserting, you are probably going to be in this courtroom every day for a month. It’ll be painful for all involved — including me. Tell your colleagues at the State Department … weekend trips to Nantucket should be off the table. They should be rolling up their sleeves to get this done.”
[AP] [Photo courtesy Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images via instinctmagazine.com]