As the Huffington Post reported on Thursday, Republican complaints over the news that the Democratic National Committee filed Freedom of Information Act requests with the Pentagon on nine potential GOP presidential candidates are undercut by the fact that filing such requests is a fairly routine political maneuver.
And while the optics of a party committee digging for dirt on its political opponents makes for a racy story, it's a bit hypocritical for the GOP to complain.
How hypocritical? Turns out, during the last election the Republican National Committee did the exact same thing.
On February 5, 2008, a senior researcher for the RNC filed FOIA requests with the Defense Department looking for "all correspondence to and from Senator Barack Obama from January 1, 2005 to the present." On February 20, 2008, that same researcher, Bryant Adams, filed another FOIA requesting "all correspondence to and from Senator Hillary Clinton from January 1, 2005 to the present..."
The information is right there on the FOIA logs from FY08 and was confirmed by an official at the RNC at the time -- though that official suggested that the FOIAs were "likely filed with Obama's congressional office." There were, the official explained, "a number of FOIA requests."
So what's the big deal? There really isn't any. But when news broke about the DNC's FOIAs (which were filed, it should be noted, much earlier in the presidential cycle then the RNC's), Republicans were quick to pounce. The Republican National Committee's press shop sent the story out without comment. Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty went even further, filing a FOIA request of his own requesting documents related to DNC communications with the Department of Health and Human Services on the topic of health care reform.
And if the loop needed to be closed a bit further, there's this tidbit: one of Pawlenty's top political advisers, Alex Conant, headed the RNC's communications shop around the same time that Adams filed his FOIA request in 2008.