No New Light on Clinton Papers
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The Clinton presidential library here is designed to evoke openness: towering glass windows, high ceilings and sleek exhibit designs.
But donations to the Clinton library are not transparent, and neither are many of the contents of the presidential collection, which is facing -- but has not yet acted on -- 287 open requests under the Freedom of Information Act. Many papers related to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's time as First Lady -- which she cites constantly on the campaign trail as part of the experience that qualifies her to be president -- are believed to be under lock and key.
As reported by Newsweek, the former president had claimed that such requests were moving slowly because of an order signed by President Bush making it more difficult to release presidential papers. Describing himself as "pro-disclosure," Clinton said: "I want to open my presidential records more rapidly than the law requires and the current administration has slowed down the opening of my own records."
But according to White House spokesman Scott Stanzel, there are no release requests pending from Clinton -- even though outside researchers have asked the former president to release about 10 million pages from his two terms as president.
"When we do receive documents for review, we work to review those as expeditiously as possibly," Stanzel said. "And I would add that there have been no records that the Clinton administration has cleared for release that we have decided to invoke privelege on."
Clinton, appearing on Monday at a philanthropy conference at his library sponsored by Slate, which is owned by the Washington Post/Newsweek Interactive, mentioned his wife only once by name, and did not refer at all in his public comments to her campaign for president. Shouted a question about his library records as he slowed to talk to reporters afterward, he kept on walking.
Clinton advisers described the contents of his library as a non-issue, saying he had protested new Bush administration rules slowing the release of paperwork when they were first issued. His remarks about disclosure, they said, referred to his position on presidential paperwork in general, not any specific document request currently pending.
This is not the first time the question of disclosure has arisen in the current Clinton campaign: the former president has refused to disclose the donors to his library under rules similar to those governing campaign contributions. He has said that if his wife were elected president he would make public the names of donors going forward, but not retroactively.
--Anne E Kornblut
Washington Post Editor
October 22, 2007; 7:00 PM ET
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