Sunday, December 07, 2003

Resolving the Dean record's issue

Statement by Governor Dean on Vermont Records

COLUMBIA, SC -- "Last week, Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit that presented this question to the court. A judge will now decide which documents should be released. This removes the issue from the context of a political campaign and puts it in the hands of an unimpeachable third party which is where it belongs."

Now there will be some who will say that Dean is just drawing this problem out by not simply opening the records and moving beyond it. Unfortunately, that is not an option for Dean because, as he has repeatedly pointed out, some of those records contain private correspondence that he really doesn't have the right to release to the public.

Here are the options that have been available:

  1. Do nothing and suffer the continued consequences of this story.
  2. Completely open the records and suffer the consequences if some private communications leaks out that damages someone personally and results in additional lawsuits.
  3. Go through the records personally and decide which records to release and suffer the accusation that they are being selective in those releases and are covering up something.
  4. Let some third party do it and accept ANY of the judgments that third party makes.

The last is the option the campaign has gone with. It isn't the full and open disclosure that some would like, but it is the right choice to make in light of very real privacy concerns and it would be hard to reasonably accuse the campaign of covering up embarrassing information it an independent third-party (the judge in the Judicial Watch case) is the one who makes the decisions about releasing the information.

They probably should have done this before, but the Judicial Watch case has given them the prime mechanism they need to make the only viable option work.


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