Sunday, August 28, 2005

You've probably heard this by now, but just to be sure:

WASHINGTON - A file folder containing papers from Supreme Court nominee John Roberts Jr.'s work on affirmative action more than 20 years ago disappeared from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library after its review by two lawyers from the White House and the Justice Department in July, according to officials at the library and the National Archives and Records Administration.

Archivists said the lawyers returned the file but it now cannot be located. No duplicate of the folder's contents was made before the lawyers' review. Although one of the lawyers has assisted in the Archives' attempt to reconstruct its contents from other files, officials have no way of independently verifying their effort was successful.

It is rare for the Archives to lose documents in its care and the agency has requested an investigation by its inspector general, said Sharon Fawcett, the assistant archivist for presidential libraries.

The lost file has also aroused some concern on Capitol Hill. Sen. Patrick Leahy, Vt., the senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, wrote Tuesday to R. Duke Blackwood, executive director of the Reagan Library, asking that he "continue to investigate thoroughly" the missing affirmative-action file and "clarify the basis upon which you believe you have reconstructed that file." And Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., requested a Justice Department investigation because one of the agency's lawyers had seen the documents involved.
At issue is one of hundreds of files maintained by the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif., which contains an estimated 55,000 pages of material from Roberts' tenure as White House associate counsel from 1982 to 1986.

As part of a vetting process before Roberts' formal nomination by the White House in late July, the two lawyers requested and were granted special access to the Roberts files. Neither the White House nor the Justice Department would name the lawyers Tuesday, but sources said one works for White House counsel Harriet Miers and the other is an aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

(as Susie reminds us, when you've got nothing to hide, you hide nothing)


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