Team Obama discovers a loophole

The Audacity of Opacity:

Barack Obama is promising . . . he’ll disclose contacts between his staff and disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s office, but he’s stopped short of pledging to release e-mails or other records that could be key to understanding those contacts.
Whatever such records exist may never see the light of day, thanks to a gap in government records disclosure laws that allows presidential transition teams to keep their documents — even those prepared using taxpayer dollars — out of the public record.
The exemption from disclosure rules surprised some records law experts, and may prompt legislation from a leading Republican transparency advocate to apply the laws to presidential transition teams, which could compel Team Obama to preserve Blagojevich-related records for inspection, if only in the distant future.
But for now, a spokeswoman for President-elect Barack Obama said the transition team was not covered by a public information law that Politico cited in requesting copies of Obama staffers’ emails and notes about Blagojevich’s efforts to fill the Senate seat Obama vacated after winning the presidency.

Of course, attempting to hide information about the Blago case from a federal prosecutor would still be obstruction of justice. But unless Fitzpatrick brings such charges, those records will never see the light of day.

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