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SPJ supports AP in lawsuit seeking to force the State Department to release Clinton emails


March 13, 2015

Dana Neuts, SPJ President, 360-920-1737 (PDT),
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Communications Strategist, 317-361-4134,

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists strongly supports The Associated Press in its lawsuit against the State Department in an effort to force the release of email correspondence and government documents from Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. On Tuesday, Clinton revealed that she sent and received about 60,000 emails from her personal email address during her term, with about half being work-related. Clinton said she deleted tens of thousands of personal emails, but turned the remainder over to the State Department.

The lawsuit follows repeated requests filed by The Associated Press under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act that have not been honored to date, including a request made five years ago and others that have been pending since the summer of 2013. The FOIA requests and the lawsuit seek materials related to Clinton’s public and private calendars, correspondence involving aides likely to play roles in Clinton’s anticipated campaign for president, Clinton-related emails about the Osama bin Laden raid and NSA surveillance practices, and documents related to her role overseeing a major Defense Department contractor.

SPJ expects the State Department to adhere to Freedom of Information laws and honor The Associated Press’ FOI requests, and any other related requests in a timely fashion. We need to be able to trust our federal government to honor the law and to set an example for state and local governments to follow. It is time for our country’s leaders to set a good example, stop paying lip service to government transparency, and actually respect and adhere to the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

It is hypocritical for Clinton to speak, as she did as secretary of state, about the importance of government transparency, criticizing other governments for not embracing high standards of openness and transparency with their citizens, while keeping her own emails private while she served as secretary of state. While Clinton may have voluntarily turned over approximately half of those emails to the State Department, she deleted the other half.

In a speech in 2011, Clinton said, “When a government hides its work from public view, hands out jobs and money to political cronies, administers unequal justice, looks away as corrupt bureaucrats and businessmen enrich themselves at the people’s expense, that government is failing its citizens. And most importantly, that government is failing to earn and hold the trust of its people. And that lack of trust, in a world of instantaneous communication, means that the very fabric of society begins to fray and the foundation of governmental legitimacy begins to crumble.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information about SPJ, please visit


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