Former President Bill Clinton recently jumped into the political debate surrounding the disposition of presidential records. A story in the October 4, 2007, New York Sun reported that President Clinton recently asserted that the Bush administration was at fault for delaying the release of his records.
“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,” the former president was quoted as saying in the Sun article. “And I do think that I will have extra responsibilities for transparency should the American people elect Hillary president,” he went on to say. The White House had no reaction to President Clinton’s statement.
Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, has filed suit against the National Archives seeking release of Senator Hillary Clinton’s (D-NY) records from when she was First Lady. The group alleges that the Archives has not responded to its request for the Clinton documents in a timely manner. The National Archives has countered that there were 156 Freedom of Information Act requests pending before Judicial Watch filed its request and that they have shown “no irreparable harm” that would result if the records were not released on an expedited basis.
In a court filing in response to the lawsuit, Emily Robison, the Acting Director and the Deputy Director of the Clinton Presidential Library said there are currently 287 pending FOIA requests, which involve the processing of approximately 10,500,000 pages of Presidential records. She estimated that it would take through January 2008 to complete processing of the 10,000 pages of records representing the first portion of the First Lady’s records requested by Judicial Watch. The Clinton Presidential Library has only six archivists on staff for processing all of its pending FOIA requests for textual and electronic records.