Thursday, March 15, 2007

House overturns Bush order on papers secrecy

Editor & Publisher

The House Wednesday passed three bills to open government records to the public, brushing aside White House opposition, and in one case, a veto threat.

The measures, highlighting the media-led Sunshine Week, would force government to be more responsive to Freedom of Information Act requests, make contributions to presidential libraries public and overturn a 2001 presidential directive giving the president authority to keep his records from public view.

The White House issued a veto threat on the presidential records bill and voiced opposition to the FOIA legislation. It also said the president would veto a fourth bill the House is to debate later Wednesday on whistleblower protections. Democrats say the bills, several of which were also taken up in past Republican-led Congresses, were needed to shine light on what they say has been one of the most secretive administrations in decades.

Creepy-crawlies hate sunshine!

Related, from Reuters:

The presidential papers bill nullifies a November 2001 order, criticized by historians, in which Bush allowed the White House or a former president to block release of a former president's papers and put the onus on researchers to show a "specific need" for many types of records.

The "specific need" I see will be for "evidence". I understand why Bush is trying to hide this stuff, and also why he is threatening to veto it: something, somewhere, in his and his father's records is stuff that could send them both to jail. We'll see how it goes.

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