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Archivists keep Clinton pardon papers under wraps

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  1. Freedom of Information
Federal archivists at the Clinton Presidential Library in Arkansas are reportedly blocking the release of more than 1,000 White House…

Federal archivists at the Clinton Presidential Library in Arkansas are reportedly blocking the release of more than 1,000 White House documents containing pardons former President Clinton approved during his time in office.

The papers would provide insight on how Clinton decided which pardons to approve from the estimated hundreds of requests he had, including some controversial ones, such as that of tax-evasion fugitive Marc Rich. The withheld documents also contain pardon requests the Department of Justice opposed.

The records were blocked citing personal privacy exemptions under the federal Freedom of Information Act as well as the Presidential Records Act of 1978. This act gives up to 12 years after presidents leave office for them to keep confidential communications with their advisers.

This decision stems from a FOIA request USA Today submitted in January 2006 that sought documents related to the pardons. The library released 4,000 pages this week, but nearly 1,500 pages were either partially redacted or withheld completely.