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Wednesday, December 03, 2003


well, that depends on what the meaning of the word "available" is...

posted by Trammell at Wednesday, December 03, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
And the plot thickens....BriVT over at Kos came across this remarkable follow-up to the Dean "records flap" -- it's a doozy:
VT political columnist Peter Freyne wrote a column this week about the Dean papers "issue" with some pretty good stuff. But, lacking the resources of the NYTimes he was forced to do some reporting and--gasp--actually called the TX Archivist to follow up on the availability of Bush's gubernatorial records.

Here's the relevant passage:
How did George W. Bush deal with his gubernatorial records in Texas?

Our research indicates Dubya's done a better job than Dean of keeping his from public view.

When Dubya left office in Texas in 2000, he shipped his gubernatorial records to his daddy's presidential library on the campus of Texas A&M. According to Texas State Archivist Chris LaPlante, they were totally inaccessible to the public. There was no staff to catalogue them, said Laplante. And since "They were physically in a federal facility, they were subject to federal, rather than Texas, public-records law."

After complaints were made, said LaPlante, the attorney general ruled they should be shipped to the state archive for cataloguing. The Bush records arrived in Austin in August 2002. According to LaPlante, it's going to take another three years to complete the cataloguing. Then they'll be shipped back to daddy's library.

By Tuesday everybody, including two of Dean's Democratic rivals, was piling on. The New York Times' Jodi Wilgoren reported that "Mr. Bush's Texas records were moved back to state custody after a ruling from the attorney general, and an archivist for the state said the Bush records were available for viewing."

Archivist LaPlante called the above statement in the Times story "deceiving." While the Bush records are officially "viewable," said LaPlante, actually viewing them is another matter."
There's more on how difficult and/or impossible it actually is to view any of the Bush records, and how easy it is to view the majority of the Dean records.

Freyne can be an opinionated jerk sometimes (love ya, though Peter! . . . I know he reads blogs), but I've never heard of him screwing up quotes. This is legit, and sheds a bit of a different light on it than does the NYT lazy reporting.

Oh, and btw, the reason Kunin's records were sealed for six years (the "precedent" everyone talks about) was because that's how long she was Governor. No legal precedent, just a number picked out of the air.
More dirty GOP tricks and some other Dems piled on without checking their facts and actually backed up Bush's story on the Texas records -- and frankly, they didn't do their homework on Dean's. Issues is one thing, but this stinks and Joe, Dick and Kerry should be ashamed of themselves. There are many tantalizing tidbits in the rest of the column, such as Newsweek's main source regarding "secrets" in the records -- Dean's opponent in the 1998 and 2000 gubernatorial elections, Ruth Dwyer, who Freyne's named "Truthless Ruth." So, go read the rest here.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE: From johhny rotten's comments at Kos come these to links from The Austin Chronicle -- here and here. One excerpt:
Publication of Berlow's article prompted the Chronicle to file a similar open records request, asking for all of Bush's death-penalty clemency memos, as well as all death-penalty memos prepared for Gov. Rick Perry by General Counsel Bill Jones.

Instead of releasing the documents, J. Kevin Patterson, Perry's assistant general counsel, appealed our request to the AG's office, asserting that both Bush's and Perry's memos (including those already disclosed) are "privileged" attorney-client communications and therefore legally exempt from public disclosure. The memos contain "advice and opinions" from counsel to governor, he argued, "made in confidence in furtherance of the attorney's rendition of professional legal services" to the governor, who uses the memos to decide whether a death row inmate will receive clemency or die by lethal injection. "Disclosure of information relating to such matters would inhibit free discussion among staff personnel as to this type of policy issue," wrote Patterson. On Sept. 10, the AG's office agreed, issuing an opinion, written by Assistant AG June B. Harden, that Perry's memos "may be withheld in their entirety."


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.