Leaders ask Specter to release memos

Forty-five conservative leaders wrote to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) yesterday asking him to order the release of Democratic memos detailing contacts between liberal interest groups and committee Democrats.

The memos are being held by Senate Sergeant at Arms Bill Pickle, who confiscated them during his probe of the publication of more than a dozen internal Democratic memos in 2003.

The signatories include Mark Levin, president of the Landmark Legal Foundation; Paul Weyrich, chairman of the Free Congress Foundation; and David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union.

The conservatives are responding to Democratic allegations that the Bush administration is trying to protect Supreme Court nominee John Roberts by refusing to release memos from his service as deputy solicitor general.

Citing the Senate archivist, the conservative leaders wrote that documents stored electronically by the committee are supposed to be archived at the end of every Congress and thus are public property.

Alexander Bolton