Judicial Watch Obtains 57,000 Pages of Records on Hillary's Health Care Task Force
Judicial Watch has long been on the trail of the corruption and deceit that were part and parcel of former First Lady Hillary Clinton’s National Taskforce on Health Care Reform. I’m pleased to report that we have scored another breakthrough, pulling back more the veil of secrecy in which the Clintons have long shrouded their most famous policy failure.
On October 17, 2013, thanks to Judicial Watch litigation, the public gained access to more than 57,000 pages of previously withheld documents from the Clinton Presidential Library related to the “cabinet-level” taskforce chaired by former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton during the first term of the Bill Clinton presidency.
The release of records came more than seven years after Judicial Watch filed an April 4, 2006, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request asking for “any and all” records pertaining to the Taskforce on Health Care Reform. On November 2, 2007, Judicial Watch was forced to file a FOIA lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration to obtain the records (Judicial Watch, Inc. v U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (No: 1:07-cv-07-1987)).
And finally, on October 17, after nearly a decade, the Supervisor Architect of the Clinton Presidential Library sent a letter to Judicial Watch conceding, “We have completed processing, according to the provisions of FOIA, the approximately 57,234 pages of Clinton Presidential records responsive to … your FOIA request ….”
One thing we already know for certain is that Hillary Clinton was the power behind the throne, given unbridled authority to direct and dictate the entire effort. According to Clinton Presidential Library records, “The cabinet-level Task Force, chaired by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, was given primary responsibility for providing advice and making recommendations to the President regarding the national health care reform package,” which everyone knew as Hillarycare.
The release of the Task Force records marks another milestone in our long and relentless effort to obtain the information, dating back to the original 2006 FOIA request. Following the 2007 FOIA lawsuit, in February 2008 we asked the federal court to deny a National Archives motion to delay the release of any records indefinitely. In May 2008, the court granted the Archives motion, prompting us to note at the time, “The Archives processed requests for information about UFOs, while refusing to process requests for important information about a presidential candidate and U.S. Senator. This delay benefits no one but bureaucrats who refuse to do their jobs and politicians running for office.”
In September 2008, U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman ruled against the National Archives and refused their motion to dismiss our lawsuit. In his ruling, the judged declared, "[The National Archives] argues that [Judicial Watch's] request is inadequate because it is overbroad…otherwise valid FOIA requests are not overbroad or unreasonable simply because they seek a very large number of documents," while noting that the Archives "should have been better prepared" to process open records requests related to the Clinton Presidential Library. And now, five years later, the National Archives has finally acceded to the law of the land.
What will Judicial Watch attorneys find as they dig into the stacks of previously withheld documents? Well, if the past is prologue, the revelations could be interesting. In January 2008, as our lawsuit against the National Archives was proceeding, we obtained an earlier batch of records from the Clinton Presidential Library that were stunning in their revelations. Among the highlights of those documents were the following:
- A June 18, 1993, internal Memorandum entitled, "A Critique of Our Plan," authored by someone with the initials "P.S.," makes the startling admission that critics of Hillary's health care reform plan were correct: "I can think of parallels in wartime, but I have trouble coming up with a precedent in our peacetime history for such broad and centralized control over a sector of the economy...Is the public really ready for this?... none of us knows whether we can make it work well or at all..."
- A "Confidential" May 26, 1993, memorandum from Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) to Hillary Clinton entitled, "Health Care Reform Communications," which criticizes the Task Force as a "secret cabal of Washington policy 'wonks'" that has engaged in "choking off information" from the public regarding health care reform. The memorandum suggests that Hillary Clinton "use classic opposition research" to attack those who were excluded by the Clinton Administration from Task Force deliberations and to "expose lifestyles, tactics and motives of lobbyists" in order to deflect criticism. Senator Rockefeller also suggested news organizations "are anxious and willing to receive guidance [from the Clinton Administration] on how to time and shape their [news] coverage."
- A February 5, 1993, draft memorandum from Alexis Herman and Mike Lux details the Office of Public Liaison's plan for the health care reform campaign. The memorandum notes the development of an "interest group database" detailing whether organizations "support(ed) us in the election." The database would also track personal information about interest group leaders, such as their home phone numbers, addresses, "biographies, analysis of credibility in the media, and known relationships with Congresspeople."
You can see how things haven’t changed much in DC! The concerns and machinations over Hillarycare are virtually no different for the ongoing Obamacare disaster. Our investigators are preparing to fly down to Little Rock to review the new Hillarycare documents.