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Judicial Watch • Like Clinton, Obama Withholds Records

Like Clinton, Obama Withholds Records

Like Clinton, Obama Withholds Records

FEBRUARY 28, 2008

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has blasted Hillary Clinton for withholding her First Lady records while he repeatedly ignores requests to release his own lengthy state legislative records.

Obama served eight years in the Illinois State Senate and several media outlets, as well as Judicial Watch, have tried through public requests to obtain his records to no avail.

This week the Illinois Office of the Secretary of State responded to Judicial Watch’s request for Obama’s documents with a letter that states it doesn’t have the senator’s records and that it has “received no requests from Senator Obama to archive any records formerly in his possession.”

In other words, Obama could easily make his state legislator records available to the public by having them archived but has chosen not to. Instead, he has offered several stories relating to the documents since announcing his presidential candidacy.

Initially he dodged questions all together about releasing the papers while his campaign ignored numerous records requests, two of them from large and reputable Illinois newspapers.

More recently, Obama changed his tune saying that he did not keep records from his state legislative years which spanned from 1997 to 2004. Evidently realizing how absurd that sounded, he amended the story to clarify that he didn’t keep records on things like his schedule but that the state of Illinois kept every single piece of information and document related to state government.

Obama insisted that the information has already been disclosed, is readily available and has been “gone through with a fine-toothed comb” by the state’s news outlets. Not true, according to the media which has yet see the information.

Obama hasn’t always claimed that his State Senate papers didn’t exist. Earlier this year, his campaign asked a national media outlet to narrow a request for records on whether Obama had ever urged clemency for a convicted felon. A campaign spokesman acknowledged that otherwise it would be an extremely exhaustive search into every record “we have from the U.S. Senate and State Senate offices.”

Obama should make them all available during the primaries or, at the very least, stop attacking his rival for withholding her records.

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