Republican Party Head Calls on Dean to Open Records

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The head of the Republican Party in Vermont called on Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean (search) to open all his gubernatorial records, including those he had sealed for a decade.

A little more than half of the thousands of records Dean accumulated during his nearly 12 years as Vermont governor are available to the public; the rest are sealed and will not be opened until 2013, 10 years after Dean's tenure ended.

"If Howard Dean plans to run on his record in Vermont, he needs to share that record with the public," Vermont Republican Chairman Jim Barnett (search) said. "The American people should not just have to take his word for it."

Dean spokeswoman Tricia Enright said Barnett's call was politically motivated and Dean had followed the practice of previous governors, including Republicans.

"The vast majority of his records have been made public, including all official correspondence, proclamations, declarations, pardons, extraditions and appointments," Enright said.

Vermont governors typically ask that a portion of their records remain private for several years after they leave office. In Dean's case, the time — a decade — is longer than other former governors. Former Govs. Richard Snelling, a Republican, and Madeleine Kunin, a Democrat, set six years before all their papers were opened to public scrutiny.

Shortly before he left office in January, Dean said he wanted a longer period because of his White House bid.

"Well, there are future political considerations," he said at a news conference. "We didn't want anything embarrassing appearing in the papers at a critical time in any future endeavor."