Monday, September 08, 2008

Need More Cheney?

The answer, in one case at least, is yes. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government (aka CREW), the American Historical Association, Society of American Archivists and a few historians, including Martin Sherwin and Anna Nelson, are trying to stop Cheney from destroying or hiding away documents from his tenure as ruler in chief (sorry, i mean vice president) of the US. They are arguing that Cheney's papers can not be destroyed, removed or withheld without "proper review" because they are covered by the Presidential Records Act of 1978. The suit names Cheney and the National Archivist's chief archivist, Allen Weinstein.

Constitutional scholar Stanley Kutler notes that he's "concerned that [the records] not be preserved. Whether they've been zapped already, we don't know." (and let's face it - odds of anything being "zapped" in Cheney's office are pretty high on a good day!).

According to CREW's website such action is critical to save these records:
Although the Presidential Records Act (PRA) requires the vice president to preserve all the records he creates and receives while fulfilling his statutory, constitutional, ceremonial and other duties, the White House and NARA take the view that the vice president need not preserve congressional records. According to Vice President Dick Cheney, his office is not part of the executive branch, but rather is attached to the legislative branch. As a result, his official papers will not fall under the PRA and will not be preserved as part of our nation’s historical records. This loss is especially acute given the prominent role Vice President Cheney has played in the Bush administration.
I am especially fond of the last line - a nice and polite way of saying "given that Cheney seems to run presidential policy at least as often as Bush." Best of luck to CREW and the others. This is a truly worthy cause!


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