ABC News reports that nine potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, are the subjects of a Freedom of Information Act request from the Democrat National Committee to the Pentagon, seeking correspondence and other documents as part of DNC opposition research.
According to the report, the DNC has asked the Pentagon to produce documents on Jindal going all the way back to 1996, when he was running the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.
According to the memo, the DNC’s request asks for “Any and all records of communication (including but not limited to letters, written requests, reports, telephone records, electronic communication, complaints, investigations, violation and memos) between your department (and all divisions and agencies under your jurisdiction).”
The other eight potential Republican hopefuls included in the DNC request are Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, Newt Gingrich, John Thune and Mike Huckabee.
The request isn’t unprecedented, though it does seem strange to have surfaced this early in advance of the 2012 election. There has been speculation throughout the blogosphere and elsewhere that the Obama administration and the DNC will attempt to shape the GOP field by launching pre-emptive attacks on Republican hopefuls as they present themselves, and since 2011 will be a “money year” in which the ground for the 2012 primary campaign will be paved the Obama campaign will need whatever dirt they can get in advance.
It’s not the worst invasion of privacy we’ve ever seen, but it does bring to mind the conservative outrage over the Clinton administration’s rifling through over 900 prominent Republicans’ FBI files in the 1990’s. That practice was, of course, illegal; the DNC’s FOIA request is not.