Golden oldies: Hillary to hear about Whitewater... again

You would think that with all of the scandals surrounding Hillary Clinton in the present day there would be no time or room on the schedule to dredge up older ones. But you’d be wrong. A blast from the past is going to be rearing its ugly head again this fall and it’s from a time before some of our younger readers were able to vote. (Assuming they were even born.) Brendan Bordelon reports at National Review that Judicial Watch is filing suit to force the release of documents from the National Archive relating to the Whitewater scandal.

Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch is suing the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to obtain copies of a 20-year-old draft indictment against Hillary Clinton for her role in the Whitewater scandal.

In a press release sent to reporters late on Tuesday, Judicial Watch announced its intent to file a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against NARA for withholding an indictment written by Hickman Ewing, Jr., the deputy independent counsel and prosecutor investigating Whitewater, in 1996. The agency admitted it had found the records in March 2015 but is withholding the documents, claiming their release would constitute an unwarranted invasion of Clinton’s privacy.

“Judicial Watch has confirmed the existence of draft indictments of Hillary Clinton for her lies and obstruction in the Whitewater bank-fraud investigation,” the group’s president Tom Fitton wrote in the statement. “The Obama administration is refusing to release these records out of concern for Hillary Clinton’s privacy. Hillary Clinton’s privacy cannot be allowed to trump the public’s interest in knowing more about whether she obstructed justice and lied to a federal grand jury.”

The quick layman’s translation of, “we have to protect her privacy” works out roughly to, “Oh my God don’t bring this up again or somebody’s head is going to explode.” (For those who weren’t around back then or perhaps haven’t heard of it, you can read a lengthy, if somewhat pro-Clinton biased history of the affair here.)

The privacy answer given as justification for the negative response to this request is a strange one to say the least. If the documents are in the National Archives and are not either classified as a national security concern or sealed under some previous agreement for a certain period of time, how is it not part of the public record? Privacy is an obvious concern for anyone, but when you make the decision to enter public service a large portion of your life becomes the business of the voters.

There might be a case to be made that since the investigation never wound up landing with a thud inside the Clintons’ home and the indictment was never formally pursued then the documents prepared for it aren’t technically part of a prosecution effort. But does that really matter? More obscure records than that wind up in the National Archives and unless they meet the secrecy criteria mentioned above they all tend to be subject to public scrutiny, no matter how mundane they may be.

Most likely this is just an “understanding” between the administration and Hillary Clinton where they would act as a blocker against any further embarrassing material showing up during this election cycle. Judges don’t tend to see things in that sort of light, though, so there’s a fair chance that the indictment will be released. What might we learn from it? Are we seriously going to litigate that case yet again, or is it just background material to highlight Clinton’s record of unsavory dealings? For the time being we’re left with the usual answer… stay tuned.