Archives to release Clinton's daily schedules

March 3, 2008 6:06:54 PM PST
The National Archives said Monday it expects to release Hillary Rodham Clinton's schedules as first lady later this month, but has asked a judge to delay the release of thousands of her telephone logs for one to two years.

Susan Cooper, a spokeswoman for the National Archives, said a representative for former President Clinton has reviewed about 10,000 pages of Hillary Clinton's schedules and last week approved them for release. The archives will soon notify the White House, which must also sign off on the papers' release.

"We are preparing the materials and we still have to give the White House notification. We'll finish processing the materials for opening and we estimate the opening will be before the end of March," Cooper said.

She said longtime Clinton aide Bruce Lindsey told the Archives he believes it withheld and redacted materials too stringently, and the Archives is now going back through materials and removing some redactions and re-reviewing documents that might be released after all.

The archives said in court papers filed Saturday that it needs more time to process 20,000 pages of Clinton's phone logs that also have been sought by Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest group that has accused the library of delaying the documents' release. The Archives has said limited staff has hampered the release of records and has accused Judicial Watch of trying to jump ahead of other pending Freedom of Information Act requests.

"The library would require a stay of at least one to two years before which it will begin processing the remaining records as the request arises in the queue structure," the Archives said in a motion filed in federal court in Washington.

Clinton has faced criticism from fellow Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and Republicans over the number of White House documents from her husband's administration that have not been made public. A year's delay would keep them from public view until after the Nov. 4 presidential election.

Clinton strategist Howard Wolfson said during the weekend that Lindsey had completed his review of the schedules and expected they would be released soon.

"We've given the records back over to the Archives. They are now back in the Archives' hands. Our say in the process is over, and I assume that they will be releasing them very expeditiously," Wolfson said on ABC's "This Week."

The schedules were forwarded to Lindsey, who is also chief executive officer of the Clinton Foundation, for review on Jan. 31.

There is no fixed timeline for the White House review.

Messages left for Lindsey with the Clinton Foundation's offices in New York and Little Rock were not immediately returned Monday.

Cooper said Lindsey approved releasing some documents from the schedules that the Archives had recommended withholding, but did not know how many pages he approved.

Archivists have been sorting through 80 million pages of documents and 20 million e-mails from Bill Clinton's two terms, but few records have come out of the library in response to Freedom of Information requests since the archives began accepting them in January 2006. The library processes requests based on when they were received.

Judicial Watch also has sued the Archives to force the release of documents from a health care task force Hillary Clinton chaired as first lady. The Archives has asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit or delay the documents' release for at least a year.

Judicial Watch last week asked the court to deny the Archives' request.