Appeal filed over Keystone XL pipeline FOIA refusal

Posted on: February 1st, 2011 by Patrick Brendel No Comments

Opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline have filed an appeal of the State Department’s rejection of a Freedom of Information Act request to release all communications between Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and Paul Elliott, her former campaign official who is lobbying for the project.

The original FOIA request was filed by Friends of the Earth, Corporate Ethics International, and the Center for International Environmental Law, who sought to find out if Elliott, who was the deputy national director of Clinton’s campaign for president in 2008, had lobbied his former boss and what the two may have communicated about in regard to the project.

Last month the State Department rejected that FOIA request. You can see the full text of their appeal letter here. Under FOIA, the State Department has 10 days to respond to the appeal. If they do not respond, that is considered a rejection of the appeal and the next stop is federal court.

A press release from the groups filing the appeal said:

“The State Department is making a mockery of President Obama’s pledges to end the influence of lobbyists and improve transparency in Washington,” said Damon Moglen, climate and energy project director for Friends of the Earth.

“In this year’s State of the Union address, the president said that, ‘Because you deserve to know when your elected officials are meeting with lobbyists, I ask Congress to do what the White House has already done: put that information online.’ It would seem that Secretary Clinton and the State Department did not get the memo,” Moglen added.

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