WASHINGTON – Was Hillary Rodham Clinton’s health-care plan really a proposal for broad, unprecedented, sweeping, centralized control over a sector of the economy as critics called it back in the 1990s?
Yes, according to a June 18, 1993, internal memo from her own task force in which an anonymous staffer known only as P.S. writes: “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 know whether we can make it work well or at all. …”
That’s one of the shocking revelations in papers obtained by Judicial Watch from the Clinton Presidential Library on the first lady’s National Task Force on Health Care Reform – a Cabinet-level agency appointed by her husband.
Another confidential memo from Sen. Jay Rockefeller to Mrs. Clinton, dated May 26, characterized her task force as a “secret cabal of Washington policy ‘wonks’” that was responsible for “choking off information” from the public.
What was Rockefeller’s prescription for better communications?
The memorandum suggests that Mrs. 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” to deflect criticism. Rockefeller also suggested news organizations “are anxious and willing to receive guidance on how to time and shape their coverage.”
A Feb. 5, 1993, draft memorandum from Alexis Herman and Mike Lux detailing the Office of Public Liaison’s plan for the health-care reform campaign notes the development of an “interest group data base” detailing which organizations “support 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.”
The records released by Judicial Watch were obtained from the approximately 13,000 documents made publicly available by the Clinton Library. The National Archives admits there may be an additional 3 million textual records, 2,884 pages of electronic records, 1,021 photographs, 3 videotapes and 3 audiotapes related to the task force that are being withheld indefinitely from the public. Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit Nov. 2, 2007, with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the National Archives to force the release of all the task force records.