Dean’s gubernatorial records become public tomorrow

They won’t be in as high demand as they were when he launched his bid for president, but about 90 boxes containing records related to Howard Dean’s governorship will become fodder for public inspection tomorrow.

Tomorrow marks the 10-year anniversary of Dean’s exit from the state’s top elected office. Before departing the post, he invoked the Archives Act to seal for one decade gubernatorial records that he had judged to be “privileged” and “sensitive.”

The conservative watchdog Judicial Watch sued to gain access to the Dean records in 2005, but the Vermont Supreme Court upheld Dean’s decision, saying Vermont’s public records law was superseded by the Archive Act.

Lawyers have pulled from the trove anything exempt from Vermont’s public records statute or protected by attorney-client privilege. But the remainder should offer some new insights into Dean’s 12-year tenure, the second-longest of any governor in Vermont history.

The records are spending their final 24 hours of privacy at the state archives in Middlesex. It’ll be interesting to see whether the unsealing prompts a media feeding frenzy.

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