Gay Oregon Sen. Mark Hatfield
(Mark Hatfield. Credit: AP file photo.)
In response to my recent Freedom of Information Act request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a copy of any file on the recently-deceased and closeted former U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield (R-OR), the agency has replied that more than 6,400 "potentially responsive" records have been located.
The FBI estimates there may be a $185 fee for searching and copying costs, if I want the records on several CDs, which I do, and I have submitted a fee waiver because I believe the 6,400 pages on the influential Hatfield are of great public interest. I hope the feds will agree.
When he was alive and still serving in the U.S. Senate, Hatfield was the target of outing campaigns for his less-than-adequate voting record on gay and AIDS issues, while also remaining silent as the anti-gay Oregon Citizens' Alliance and other conservative outfits demonized the LGBT community. As ballot measure after ballot measure eroded gay rights and stigmatized gay Oregonians, Hatfield was absent from the battle promoting gay rights.
I'm most curious to learn if there is any gay-related content in the FBI file and hope it is soon released to me.
Regarding the large number of pages on Hatfield, let's put the 6,400 figure in the context of other late Senators who served for decades in that chamber.
There were more than 3,000 pages on liberal Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy in his FBI file, and more than 1,000 in the file the agency kept on conservative North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms. Quite interesting that Hatfield's file is so much larger than those for Kennedy and Helms.
Here's the letter from the FBI. Click to enlarge: