Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
Sen. Barack Obama
Barack Obama may have 15 months left in his first term, but his supporters in Congress are already preparing for the day he’ll be an ex-president by introducing legislation that will allow him to keep his personal and presidential documents secret.
According to Judicial Watch, the Washington-based government corruption fighting organization, the proposal by Rep. Edolphus Towns of New York’s 10th District is “an obvious effort to protect President Barack Obama.”
“Ironically, Obama revoked a similar George W. Bush order in one of his first official acts as president. In 2001, Bush penned an executive order severely limiting public access to his presidential records. Shortly after swearing in, Obama killed it as part of his much-ballyhooed commitment to government transparency. At the time, the new president claimed that he was giving the American people greater access to ‘historic documents,’” Judicial Watch said.
“If the Democrats’ proposed measure (Presidential Records Act Amendments) becomes law, former presidents will be allowed to assert a new ‘constitutionally based privilege’ against disclosing records of their liking. Here is how it would work; the archivist of the United States would be required to notify the former president, as well as the incumbent, of intentions to make records public. Anything that either the former or current president claims should be kept private won’t be released,” the organization explained.
It states it is “To amend chapter 22 of title 44, United States Code, popularly known as the Presidential Records Act, to establish procedures for the consideration of claims of constitutionally based privilege against disclosure of presidential records.”
It provides for the release of records “except any record (or reasonably segregable part of a record) with respect to which the archivist receives from a former president or the incumbent president notification of a claim of constitutionally based privilege against disclosure.”
Only “the incumbent president” or a “final court order that is not subject to appeal” would be able to overturn the decision.
Obama is no stranger to secrecy. In fact, the entire issue over his eligibility to occupy the Oval Office that has raged over the last several years, including dozens of lawsuits, petitions and campaigns, all could have been moot had he been open with his historical documents during his campaign.
But his documents that even today remain concealed include his passport records, kindergarten records, Punahou school records, Occidental College records, Columbia University records, Columbia thesis, Harvard law School records, Harvard Law Review articles, University of Chicago articles, Illinois State Bar Association records, Illinois State Senate records and schedules, medical records, Obama/Dunham marriage license, Obama/Dunham divorce documents. Soetoro/Dunham marriage license and adoption records.
And, of course, his original birth documentation, which purportedly was released in April.
His campaign released a computer image of a “Certification of Live Birth” during his 2008 and claimed it was the only document available. At the time, polls revealed that roughly half of Americans even had heard of the dispute over his eligibility.
The result was the release of another image, this time of a “Certificate of Live Birth,” a document that for nearly three years Obama had maintained was impossible to obtain from the state of Hawaii.
However, since then, dozens of experts have concluded the image is a forgery, and the printed copy may even have resulted from a computer imaging process.
At its release, WND contacted the Hawaii Health Department and the office of Gov. Neil Abercrombie, an ardent Obama supporter, to request confirmation that the image released was an accurate representation of the state’s file information. Officials refused to respond. The original to date remains concealed.
A poll taken two months after the release of Obama’s “document” showed half of Americans would like to see Congress investigate Obama’s eligibility for the presidency and nearly that many believe the definition of the constitutional term “natural born citizen” means both parents must be U.S. citizens, according to a new scientific poll.
The document released by Obama displayed Barack Obama Sr. as the father, which under some interpretations of the Constitution would disqualify Obama out of hand, since his father was not a citizen of the United States when he was born.
The Constitution requires presidents to be a “natural born Citizen,” which is undefined in the Constitution but is considered by many to be the offspring of two citizen parents on the soil of the country.
“There’s no marginalizing those who want this matter investigated by Congress,” said Fritz Wenzel of Wenzel Strategies, who conducted the WND/Wenzel Poll telephone survey June 16-19. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.85 points.
“Even among Democrats, more than one in four – 28 percent – said they now want an inquiry, as do 43 percent of independents and 77 percent of Republicans. Interestingly, men are much more skeptical than are women about the question of eligibility – only 42 percent of men said they think Obama proved his eligibility by releasing the electronic birth certificate, compared to 59 percent of women.”
The poll indicated 43.5 percent of Americans believe that a Hawaii birth would make no difference in Obama’s eligibility, as the Constitution requires both parents of a U.S. president to have been U.S. citizens – and Obama’s father was not a citizen.
The figure included 56.9 percent of the GOP, 40.2 percent of independents and 32.9 percent of Democrats.
Judicial Watch noted that the newest plan to keep Obama records secret noted that Towns “has yet to explain why it’s necessary. What’s certain is that Obama has failed miserably to keep his promise of running the most transparent administration in history.”
Interestingly, a search of Towns’ congressional website today revealed no reference to his proposal. The only record that was uncovered searching for references to presidential records was a January 2009 announcement that he was trying to overturn Bush’s executive order “and restore procedures to ensure the timely release of presidential records.”
“President-elect Obama and House Democrats agree on the need to increase transparency in the federal government, and these reforms will provide a new level of openness for the incoming Administration,” Towns said at the time.
“President Bush’s executive order created an imbalanced and restrictive process. The Presidential Records Act preserves the important intent of the original post-Watergate law, which was to assure timely accessibility and preservation of official White House records for historical and, if necessary, legal purposes,” he said then. “And, with the Presidential Library Donation Act, we will do away with anonymous donations by foreign countries and nationals, and make certain that the process is transparent to the public.”