Tuesday :: Aug 14, 2007

The Fight For Hillary's White House Records

by Jeff Dinelli

The LA Times is running a story today detailing around 2 million pages of documents from First Lady Hillary Clinton's days in the White House being "locked up" in Little Rock, Arkansas, implying that they're being hidden in a shroud of mystery. These papers are being held at the Bill Clinton Presidential Library under the Presidential Records Act due to their confidential nature. As Ray McNally, Republican political consultant says, "Those files -- that's the mother lode of opposition research."

A federal archivist staff of eleven people spends all day responding to requests for documents made under the Freedom of Information Act; everything ranging from UFO files to the name of White House pastry chefs. The staff then sorts through the files and releases only material that does not contain confidential information, trade secrets, personal advice, or anything else that would raise a concern under the records law. This is a time-consuming process. This is a process that is taking too long, according to a conservative watchdog organization called Judicial Watch, who has filed suit against the archive. It wants to see Hillary's diaries, phone logs, daily planners and White House schedules. The group says it requested such material over a year ago, and has received nothing as of yet. Judicial Watch seems to be aiming at the health care initiative and all memos related to that exercise, even though much of the communication was made with presidential aides and senators such as Joe Biden and Chris Dodd.

There is some confusion over these attempts to access Hillary's records, however. The Presidential Records Act of 1978 secures an administration's materials for 12 years after it leaves office. At least it used to. The day George W took office, his father's and President Reagan's records were due to be released, so Bush issued an executive order effectively sealing the information. So the confusion is, if the presidential and vice presidential records from 12 years ago are not made available, why is there such a row over the records of a former first lady who has been out of the White House for 7 years?

Jeff Dinelli :: 11:03 AM :: Comments (16) :: Digg It!