By all accounts, there were no secrets between Harold M. Ickes and President Clinton when Ickes was deputy chief of staff. But the New York lawyer had a surprise for Clinton and his former White House colleagues: Without telling any of them, he took a trove of sensitive political documents when he left his job last month.
When Ickes turned over about half of these documents at the request of congressional investigators--he has more than a thousand pages still in hand--he sought no permission, according to the White House.
Instead, the de facto manager of Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign simply informed the White House what papers he was turning over and gave Clinton aides the chance to briefly review copies.
The documents, made public Tuesday, depict Clinton as intimately familiar with a plan crafted by his political aides to shower personal attention on large financial contributors.
In an interview Wednesday, Ickes described himself as a “pack rat” and said that he saw nothing remarkable about the fact he chose to keep some of his political records. He said because the documents were campaign-related, not governmental, he was entitled under the Presidential Records Act to treat them as his property.