Dean Ordered to Open Records


A judge ruled Tuesday that neither former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean nor the secretary of state had authority to agree to a blanket seal covering 145 boxes of records from his 11 years as governor.

Superior Court Judge Alan W. Cook said Dean and the state must identify the roughly 600,000 sealed documents and describe why each of them is protected by executive privilege. An appeal of the ruling to the state Supreme Court is likely.

“Howard Dean is now getting a lesson in government openness,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, which last fall filed the suit seeking to open the papers.

At issue are 145 boxes of papers that Dean and the secretary of state agreed to seal for 10 years when he left office a year ago. Dean claimed executive privilege in sealing the documents, but Cook said executive privilege could not be asserted in such a broad claim.

Ironically, no one will much care what’s in the records now!

I should note that my guess is that there’s nothing of much consequence in those boxes, anyway.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Ferboo says:

    “I should note that my guess is that there’s nothing of much consequence in those boxes, anyway.”

    Is that because we got to see everything in all its glory over the last few months?

  2. McGehee says:

    I think what’s in those boxes will raise more questions than they answer.


  3. phil massey says:

    I, almost, feel sorry for Dean now. He peaked too soon.