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Clinton: Archives Block Document Release

From USA Today:

Archivists Block Release of Clinton Papers

By Peter Eisler,
Posted: 2008-03-07

(March 7) — Federal archivists at the Clinton Presidential Library are blocking the release of hundreds of pages of White House papers on pardons that the former president approved, including clemency for fugitive commodities trader Marc Rich. 

Federal archivists recently refused to release hundreds of pages of White House papers on pardons approved by Bill Clinton when he was president. The decision is based on guidelines from Clinton aimed at restricting the disclosure of advice that aides gave him.

Clinton’s legal agent declined the option of reviewing and releasing the documents that were withheld, said the archivists, who work for the federal government, not the Clintons….

In January 2006, USA TODAY requested documents about the pardons under the Freedom of Information Act. The library made 4,000 pages available this week.

However, 1,500 pages were either partially redacted or withheld entirely, including 300 pages covering internal White House communications on pardon decisions, such as memos to and from the president, and reports on which pardon requests the Justice Department opposed.

In a statement, the Clinton campaign said that “all of the redactions made to the pardon-related documents were made by (the National Archives).”

Former president Clinton issued 140 pardons on his last day in office, including several to controversial figures, such as commodities trader Rich, then a fugitive on tax evasion charges. Rich’s ex-wife, Denise, contributed $2,000 in 1999 to Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign; $5,000 to a related political action committee; and $450,000 to a fund set up to build the Clinton library.

The president also pardoned two men who each paid Sen. Clinton’s brother, Hugh Rodham, about $200,000 to lobby the White House for pardons – one for a drug conviction and one for mail fraud and perjury convictions, according to a 2002 report by the House committee on government reform. After the payments came to light, Bill Clinton issued a statement: “Neither Hillary nor I had any knowledge of such payments,” the report said

The 300 pages of internal White House documents on pardon requests were blocked under the Presidential Records Act of 1978, which allows presidents to maintain the confidentiality of communications with their advisers for up to 12 years after they leave office…

In 2002, Clinton sent a guidance letter to his library that urged quick release of most White House records, but retained the confidentiality prerogative covering advice from his staff. Still, he said the restriction should be interpreted “narrowly” and allowed that certain records detailing internal communications could be made public if reviewed and approved for release by his designated legal agent.

Emily Robison, the library’s deputy director, said Clinton’s agent, former deputy White House counsel Bruce Lindsey, chose not to review the withheld documents.

Lindsey “was given the opportunity to look at what we withheld under the (president’s) guidelines, and he chose not to…. Only Mr. Lindsey and the president have the authority to open those,” she said.

The William J. Clinton Foundation, which Lindsey helps oversee, said in a written statement that the National Archives is responsible for deciding which records are withheld under the Presidential Records Act. Archivists were exclusively responsible for “determinations with respect to these materials,” the statement said

Their lying never stops.

In a statement, the Clinton campaign said that “all of the redactions made to the pardon-related documents were made by (the National Archives).”

And we believe that.

After all, the National Archives is famous for wanting to keep things secret.

For the record, here is a list of Mr. Clinton’s pardons, if you have a few hours to while away.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, March 7th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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