Clark Calls For Open Government

January 16, 2004

Press Release, January 16, 2004

Manchester – Today, Wes Clark opened the doors to his Manchester Reading Room and Clark slammed the Bush Administration for governing behind closed doors. The public can come to the Manchester Reading Room to find out about Wes Clark’s personal and financial track record.

“It’s time President Bush played it straight with the American people,” Clark said. “President Bush has shut the people out of government and told them they have no right to know what he says to special interests in the Oval Office. As President, my administration will be an open book. We need a higher standard of leadership in Washington.”

Clark put forward a two-part plan to reverse the Bush Administration’s secrecy policies and to make his administration the most open presidency in history:

Reverse Bush Secrecy Policies:

1. End hiding of documents through classification extension and FOIA rollbacks.
2. End the stonewall of the investigation of September 11th and Bush’s Energy Task Force.

Establish an Openness Doctrine:

1. Restrict the assertion of executive privilege.
2. Eliminate secret task forces.
3. Disclose all meetings with special interests.
4. Require lobbyists to reveal more.
5. Use the Internet to make government transparent.

Clark isn’t just talking the talk – he’s walking the walk. Today, he opened his records — military records, tax returns that cover the period since he left the military, financial records and voting registration documents to the public.

The documents will be available at the Sheraton Four Points hotel in Manchester. They will be posted at as soon as they are scanned.

“This is just another way for the people of New Hampshire to get to know me and to know that I mean what I say when I call for openness,” Clark said.

During the past three years, President Bush has refused to turn over documents on issues ranging from September 11th to the formulation of energy policy. In October 2001, he signed a new Executive Order, to restrict the Freedom of Information Act. In March 2003, he extended the length of time that classified documents are withheld from the public.

“Voters should be able to scrutinize the track record of those who seek to sit in the Oval Office,” Communications Director Matt Bennett said. “To beat Bush in November, we need a nominee who is willing to open himself up. We call on the other contenders to make their records as available as Wes Clark’s.”


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