Today, when there are active threats to open government and OMB is preparing to shut down several important open government web sites, it is a good day to remember why we have several of our most important open government laws.
The Nixon Presidential Library and Museum has opened a new Watergate exhibit. Jon Wiener, who teaches history at UC Irvine and is a contributing editor to The Nation, tells the story:
- At the new Watergate Gallery, the truth finally wins out, By Jon Wiener, Los Angeles Times Op-Ed, (April 5, 2011).
The Nixon Presidential Library and Museum’s original exhibit about Watergate, designed in 1990 by Nixon loyalists before the National Archives took over operation of the library, explained Watergate as a third-rate burglary exploited by the president’s enemies to reverse the results of the 1972 election. Now, with the long-awaited opening of the library’s new Watergate exhibit, the public finally has a museum that tells the full story…
…Textbooks and journalists almost always conclude with Ford’s pardon of Nixon. But the Nixon Library goes one big step further, closing with the legislation that resulted from Watergate: the broadening of the Freedom of Information Act to give individuals and journalists more tools to uncover government abuse of power; the Presidential Records Act, which forbids presidents from destroying their records; the creation of the Federal Election Commission to monitor campaign finance; and the Ethics in Government Act, which established the office of the special prosecutor. [emphasis added]
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