Video: Thousands of Clinton presidential records still blocked from public view?
posted at 10:01 am on February 26, 2014 by Ed Morrissey
Hillary Clinton may face another blast from her past in her efforts to organize a second run for President — and this time the headache might extend to the current Obama administration. When Barack Obama ran for President in 2008, he promised to provide greater and quicker transparency on the papers of previous administrations. The Presidential Records Act allows 12 years for presidential libraries to restrict access to documents from previous administrations, which fall under the jurisdiction of the National Archives. After that, they are supposed to be made public — but more than a year later, at least 8,000 documents from the Clinton administration remain under seal.
Guess who’s involved in those documents?
A trove of Clinton White House records long processed for release remains hidden from public view at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock — even though the legal basis initially used to withhold them expired more than a year ago.
The papers contain confidential advice given to or sought by President Bill Clinton, including communications with then-first lady Hillary Clinton, and records about people considered for appointments to federal office. …
The long-sealed records pose a delicate series of choices for the Clintons, and even President Barack Obama. They could allow disclosure of the papers, fueling new stories about old controversies like Whitewater and pardons granted as the 42nd president left office in 2001. Or they could fight to keep some or all of the files secret, likely triggering a court battle and stoking concerns that the former president and his wife are unduly secretive.
Either way, it’s a potentially messy situation unfolding just as Hillary Clinton — widely considered a clear front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination — mulls over whether to make a second bid to return to the White House.
The Free Beacon follows up on its “Hillary Papers scoop” to note Mike Allen’s report on the papers on Morning Joe:
After the Washington Free Beacon’s Alana Goodman revealed the existence of the “Hillary Papers”, a trove of documents written by Hillary Clinton’s friend Dianne Blair, attention has been drawn to the thousands of files related to former President Bill Clinton’s tenure as governor and president, many of which remain closed to public access.
Politico’s Mike Allen spoke to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on the documents, highlighting that over a fourth have yet to be released. “33,000 should have been released twelve years after Clinton left office, so in January 2013,” Allen said. “25,000 have been released but there’s another 8,000 of some of the President’s most sensitive communications that are still being blocked.”
Why did the White House only clear two-thirds of these documents, more than a year after all should have been released? Unlike the Dianne Blair notes, which were private records, these are official records of the Clinton administration — and of the American people. They relate directly to Hillary’s impact on the executive branch, at least as an unofficial counselor to the President, and perhaps to her input on appointments (and are related to appointments whether she influenced them or not). The only reason for keeping them secret would be to keep people from discovering something uncomplimentary about Hillary and/or Bill; after all, if they demonstrated that she was highly insightful and competent, the Clintons would have released the papers themselves.
This has more relevance to both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama than the still-legitimate Blair papers. It certainly has a lot more relevance than Scott Walker’s early start on his college-president campaign from 1988. The longer these papers stay sealed, the more likely they are to contain some embarrassing revelations, and we’ll see just how transparent Obama is when it comes to his politics.