WASHINGTON -- After White House hopeful Barack Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004, he turned over "pertinent" files from his state Senate office to his successor and did not keep other office records.
Senior strategist David Axelrod said Sunday night, "Files pertinent to ongoing casework were passed to Kwame Raoul, his successor."
Regarding papers from his eight years as a state senator, Obama said in an interview Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," "We did not keep those records."
UPDATE: REPLY FROM THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN. LINK
The question about Obama's state Senate records was raised in the last week because Obama has been pressing chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) to speed up the release of her records from her days as first lady and making government transparency a major campaign theme.
Last Friday, during a press availability in Des Moines, I asked Obama if his records existed, and Obama said he did not know. "You know, I'm not certain, Lynn," Obama said. "As I said, I didn't have the resources to ensure that all this stuff was archived in some way . . . it could have been thrown out."
The day before, Obama told the Chicago Tribune, "Whatever remaining documents that I have are inevitably incomplete, and then the question is going to be where's this, where's that. Once I start heading down that road, then it puts me in a position that could end up being misleading."
"Meet the Press" moderator Tim Russert, following up, asked Obama, "Where are your records?
"Tim, we did not keep those records," Obama replied.
Obama said that every "single piece of information, every document related to state government was kept by the state of Illinois and has been disclosed and is available and has been gone through with a fine-toothed comb by news outlets in Illinois."
There is no central repository of records between state lawmakers and state agencies, and Freedom of Information Act requests must be filed to obtain documents, a process that has been taking months.