Internal Memos Detail Creation of Government “Interest Group Database” to Collect Personal Data on Health Care Debate Activists
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released records obtained from the Clinton Presidential Library related to the National Taskforce on Health Care Reform, a “cabinet-level” task force chaired by former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton during the Clinton administration. Specifically, these documents come from the White House Health Care Interdepartmental Working Group.
Among the highlights of the documents released by Judicial Watch:
• 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 detailing the Office of Public Liaison’s plan for the health care reform campaign. The memorandum notes the development of an “interest group data base” detailing whether or not 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.”
These records released by Judicial Watch were obtained from the approximately 13,000 records made publicly available by the Clinton Library. The National Archives admits there may be an additional 3,022,030 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. On November 2, 2007 Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit 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.
“These documents paint a disturbing picture of how Hillary Clinton and the Clinton administration approached health care reform – secrecy, smears, and the misuse of government computers to track private and political information on citizens,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “There are millions more documents that the Library has yet to release. The Clintons continue to play games and pretend they have nothing to do with this delay. The Clintons should get out of the way and authorize the release of these records now.”
To read about Judicial Watch's pursuit of other Clinton era documents click here.