May 6, 1995 in Nation/World

Historians Critical Of Archivist Pick

Washington Post

President Clinton nominated former Kansas governor John Carlin on Friday to be the country’s top records keeper, despite the strong opposition from three major historical groups who charged that the former dairy farmer does not have a clue about how to preserve the nation’s documents.

White House officials said the president, who has left the position of national archivist vacant for more than two years, decided to act after Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Dole, R-Kan., assured Clinton that Carlin would be quickly confirmed.

Leaders of the American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians and Society of American Archivists oppose Carlin, and told the White House on Thursday he was totally unqualified. They charged his nomination violates a 1984 law that requires the archivist be selected “solely on the basis of professional qualifications required to perform the duties of the office.”

The $123,100-a-year archivist position has been vacant since early 1993 when Don W. Wilson, a Bush appointee quit. He had been criticized after letting Bush keep computerized messages that historians said should have been preserved in the National Archives.

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