The Washington Free Beacon, which received a lot of attention recently for mining the Diane Blair papers at the University of Arkansas for documents related to potential presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, hasn’t had similar success with gubernatorial papers of Bill Clinton housed at an archive in downtown Little Rock connected to the Central Arkansas Library System.
The library is archiving the documents at its Butler Center, but they remain the property of the Clinton Foundation and access is limited to approved requests. To date, the Free Beacon hasn’t been given permission by Bruce Lindsey, the Clinton Foundation board chairman.
David Stricklin, manager of the archive, told the conservative publication that the archives lacked information on Hillary Clinton because she was not a gubernatorial staff member. He said there are no personal family papers. Library Director Bobby Roberts had been quoted seven years ago, however, as saying a small number of files related to Hillary Clinton.
Others have also reported difficulty gaining access. Quote-a-matic politico Larry Sabato offered one in this account, based on supposition, that difficult access suggests the files contain “problems” for the Clintons. It could also suggest, based on how the Free Beacon massaged the Blair papers, a sensitivity to the fact that researchers might place items in a context most suitable to their agenda. (Sort of like a newspaper columnist.)
Secrecy is not particularly surprising on the part of people still contemplating political futures. I wonder what the Free Beacon would get if it asked for the computer hard drives of the Mike Huckabee administration, for example?