DNC FOIAs State Department on McCain Contacts
By Michael D. Shear
The Democratic National Committee has submitted a request under the Freedom of Information act to the State Department, asking for records relating to actions by Canadian Ambassador David Wilkins in helping to set up a visit to Ottawa by Sen. John McCain.
In the request, DNC Research Director Mike Gehrke asks for "any and all records (including but not limited to letters, written requests, memorandum, reports, telephone records, electronic communication) created on or after January 1, 2008 and relating to travel by U.S. Senator John McCain to Canada during the period April 1, 2008 to the present. "
The Edmonton Sun reported Thursday that Wilkins contacted Thomas d'Aquino, the president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, to help set up what they described as a fundraiser before McCain's visit. McCain is scheduled to give a speech at the the Chateau Laurier Hotel and to meet with several Canadian officials.
Democrats contend that by doing so, Wilkins violated the Hatch Act, which proscribes the kind of political activity a government employee may engage in.
McCain aides have said the event in Ottowa -- a speech hosted by the Economic Club of Canada -- is not a fundraiser or a political event that would fall under the Hatch Act. Brian Rogers, a spokesperson for the campaign, said that "Publicity stunts and meaningless FOIA requests are politics as usual, not change we can believe in."
The full text of the letter follows the jump.
June 20, 2008
Office of Information Programs and Services
U. S. Department of State
Washington, D. C. 20522-8100
Via US Mail And Facsimile
Dear Sir or Madame:
I am writing to make a request under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. Â§ 552, and its related statutes and regulations, as detailed below:
NATURE OF RECORDS: Any and all records (including but not limited to letters, written
requests, memorandum, reports, telephone records, electronic communication) created on or after January 1, 2008 and relating to travel by U.S. Senator John McCain to Canada during the period April 1, 2008 to the present.
POSTS/OFFICES IN QUESTION: Documents maintained or held by the US Embassy in
Canada, including its various consulates; the Office of the Legal Advisor; the Executive
Secretariat; the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs; the office of the "desk officer" for Canada; and the Office of Legislative Affairs.
TIME FRAME: January 1, 2008 - present
Redactions: I am requesting to receive as much information as possible, including documents and pages that can be partially provided with redactions, as provided
under the relevant statutes and regulations with the reason for each redaction noted.
Format: I would prefer if possible to receive as much of this information as possible in an electronic form, be it on diskette, CD, via e-mail, FTP or other format. This is particularly the case if it reduces the time or cost involved in processing requests.
Request For Expedited Processing: I requested expedited processing under 22 CFR
171.12 (b)(2). This material relates to questions about potential Hatch Act violations by
prominent officials of the Department in connection with the current US presidential election season, clearly a matter of major national importance with a sensitivity to time. (See http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/06/19/democrats_question_ambassadors.html.)
Given the current backlog and average processing time for State Department FOIA requests, this request most likely would not be processed before this November's general election or even before the end of the year.
Please contact me before incurring costs in excess of $150.
Willingness To Modify Request: Please feel free to contact me to discuss ways to change the scope or amend this request in order to speed its processing. I am certainly willing to make modifications to better suit the format and availability of information you maintain.
I look forward to receiving an initial response within the time period required by FOIA - twenty business days....
Democratic National Committee
June 20, 2008; 1:55 PM ET
Categories: A_Blog , B_Blog , John McCain
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