State Department officials are attempting to block multiple lawsuits seeking Bill Clinton's speech schedules by redacting the documents heavily or withholding them until after the election.
A Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Republican National Committee has yielded just 14 pages of schedules so far, most of which were redacted beyond coherence, said Raj Shah, an RNC spokesman. And on Monday, the State Department provided Politico with 1,000 pages of documents — most of which were redacted entirely and contained only text that read "Page Denied" — in response to a request filed more than six years ago.
Shah said the State Department had scrubbed most of the former president's speech schedules on the grounds that Bill Clinton is a private citizen and therefore not subject to the same disclosure requirements as public officials.
"Claiming that he's a private citizen is laughable in that context," Shah said, noting that the schedules were circulated throughout the State Department during Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state.
"It was germane to somebody in the government," Shah said of Bill Clinton's daily schedules.
The former president delivered dozens of speeches while his wife served as the nation's chief diplomat, collecting six-figure checks for appearances around the world. He has attracted allegations of conflicts of interest given the frequent intersection of his speech engagements, the work of the Clinton Foundation and State Department activities.
Shah said the State Department plans to release the thousands of pages of relevant documents at a pace that will push the full production of records into 2018, long after the presidential election. The RNC is fighting State to speed up the process and to free some of the information from the privacy restrictions that are presently shielding so much of Bill Clinton's information.
An agreement between the administration and the Clintons, struck before Hillary Clinton was confirmed, had stipulated limits for foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation and a screening process for those that would continue. Bill Clinton was also supposed to seek clearance for the speeches he gave to foreign entities to prevent conflicts of interest with his wife.
The former president had approached the State Department with invitations to speak in North Korea and the Congo, two requests that aides to Hillary Clinton quickly denied, according to the handful of records released in other FOIA cases.