Judge Orders Justice Dept. to Release Document about FBI Helping Ronald Reagan’s Political Career

Sunday, March 11, 2012
A California journalist has won his fight with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to get the Department of Justice to release documents that may show the FBI, although a government entity, was helping advance Ronald Reagan’s political career in the 1970s.
 
Seth Rosenfeld, who is writing a book about the FBI’s activities in connection with the University of California during the Cold War, filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain records pertaining to Reagan’s relationship with the FBI.
 
It has been previously acknowledged that Reagan did help the FBI as early as the 1940s by spying on suspected communists in the Screen Actors Guild.
 
Rosenfeld contends that the FBI has a three-page document from January 9, 1975, that may indicate that while Reagan was Governor of California the bureau was helping advance his political career by warning him of potentially embarrassing details about his associates. In one instance, this meant informing Reagan about the relationship between an acquaintance of Reagan’s and the son of an organized crime figure. According to material that has been released, Reagan acknowledged that the association “might well jeopardize any political aspirations [Reagan] might have.”
 
The document in question also deals with the traffic violations and arrest record of a public figure aligned with Reagan. Rosenfeld argues that the FBI should reveal the name of the public figure in question. U.S. District Judge Edward Chen agreed with Rosenfeld that “the investigation of the subject’s old traffic violations had no conceivable purpose other than to aid Ronald Reagan’s political career by providing advance notice of any issues of potential embarrassment that might affect any future political campaign. The disclosure of this document thus enhances the public’s understanding of whether then FBI used public resources to benefit a private citizen for non-law enforcement purposes.”
 
The judge granted summary judgment to the journalist and ordered the FBI to release an unredacted copy of the 37-year-old document.
-David Wallechinsky
 
To Learn More:
Reagan, Hoover and the UC Scare (San Francisco Chronicle)
Rosenfeld V. United States Department of Justice (U.S. District Court, Northern California) (pdf)

Rosenfeld V. United States Department of Justice (Leagle.com) 

Comments

molly cruz 8 years ago
doesn't this belong in that ever expanding pile labeled "sleeping dogs" ? it seems a red herring in light of more relevant subjects that might be explored by such adventurous dirt diggers.

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