SOURCE: Judicial Watch

March 27, 2008 14:55 ET

Illinois State Archives Letter Raises Questions About Obama's Records Claim

Archives Claims It Never Has Been Asked to Maintain Records From Obama's Days as Legislator

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - March 27, 2008) - Judicial Watch, the public interest group that forced the release of Hillary Clinton's daily White House schedule on March 20, announced today that the preliminary results of an investigation into Senator Barack Obama's record as an Illinois State Senator show that his statements about the maintenance of his files are suspect. Judicial Watch's investigation included the filing of a Freedom of Information Act request with the Illinois State Archives to obtain his records and papers. Judicial Watch is seeking: "Any and all public documents... resulting from Illinois State Senator Barack Obama's years in the office (1997-2004) that the ISA [has] in its possession." Judicial Watch filed its open records request on February 7, 2008, after public statements made by Obama regarding his Illinois State Senate records.

During a campaign stop last fall, Obama at first claimed he did not have any records of his eight years in the Illinois state legislature. "I don't have -- I don't maintain -- a file of eight years of work in the state Senate because I didn't have the resources available to maintain those kinds of records."

When questioned about the records by "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert on November 11, 2007, Obama said: "Well, let's be clear. In the state Senate, every single piece of information, every document related to state government was kept by the state of Illinois and has been disclosed and is available and has been gone through with a fine-toothed comb by news outlets in Illinois... every document related to my interactions with government is available right now."

However, according to a February 25th letter from the Illinois Office of the Secretary of State in response to Judicial Watch's open records request, "The ISA does not maintain Senator Obama's personal records or papers. [Nor] does the ISA maintain records generated by his office. In addition, the ISA has received no requests from Senator Obama to archive any records formerly in his possession."

Judicial Watch also contacted Obama's successor, Kwame Raoul, who stated in a March 5 letter to Judicial Watch: "Any documents I would have inherited from Senator Obama would have been constituent work files, and those were reviewed and discarded upon me taking office." State Senator Raoul also argued that even if he had any Obama records, he would not be required to disclose them.

"Barack Obama, just like Hillary Clinton, has a records problem," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "Our investigation suggests Senator Obama could have had his records archived so that they are available to the public, but, to this day, has chosen not to do so. Apparently, he does not want a complete paper trail of his time in the Illinois State Senate. Where are his office records?"

Judicial Watch recently forced the release of Hillary Clinton's White House daily schedule through a lawsuit, and is pursuing her phone logs. To read the correspondence between Judicial Watch and the Illinois Secretary of State and Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul, please see highlighted links.

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