DOJ Sued Over Bill Clinton, Loretta Lynch Tarmac Meeting

November 3, 2016 Updated: November 3, 2016

A conservative law group sued the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Nov. 2 over Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s reported tarmac meeting with former President Bill Clinton in Phoenix over the summer.

“Today, we’re forcing their hand,” wrote a blog post from the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ), a conservative Christian-based social activism organization. “We’re taking the Obama Administration to federal court. Again. We’re filing a lawsuit against the Department of Justice, to ensure true justice. If the corruption and flippant disregard for the law won’t stop, neither will our Government Accountability Project, and neither will our lawsuits.”

The ACLJ sent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the Justice Department requesting information on Lynch’s meeting with the former president.

In June, Clinton held an unplanned meeting with Lynch after the two realized they were on the same tarmac, said an aide to the former president. The meeting took place before a public release of the House Benghazi Committee’s report on a 2012 attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya that left an ambassador dead. The meeting prompted scrutiny about whether Clinton compromised the Justice Department’s investigation, as it took place amid the then-ongoing investigation of Clinton’s email server.

The ACLJ’s requested documents “containing any discussion of or in any way regarding the meeting between” the two at the Phoenix airport as well as electronic communications “containing any discussion of or in any way naming, regarding, involving or referencing Bill Clinton.”

Meanwhile, the organization claimed the DOJ failed to respond to FOIA requests. “The bottom line of our lawsuit is this: the ‘Defendant is unlawfully withholding records requested by Plaintiff pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552,'” the organization wrote. “The Justice Department’s answer to our suit will be due in about 30 days.”

On Oct. 28, Judicial Watch, another conservative watchdog group, filed a lawsuit for the FBI’s records on the Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting.

At the time, Democrats defended Lynch.

“All I can say is Loretta Lynch is one of the most outstanding human beings I’ve ever known,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, told CNN in June. “Her ethics is above reproach.” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, described Lynch as an “honorable person.”