During the 1998 impeachment imbroglio, the White House released letters
written to the President by a woman named Kathleen Willey who had accused
him of unwanted sexual advances in a 60 Minutes interview.
A federal judge has ruled that the release of the letters was a criminal
violation of the Privacy Act, in the face of claims by the White House
that it is not subject to that law. Willey has filed a complaint against
several parties alleging that they violated her rights under the Privacy Act
and under common law.
While too much can be made of matters that surrounded the impeachment,
this example points up one case where the Privacy Act had no force in
preventing a government office from releasing information for essentially
Complaint in Willey Schwicker v. Clinton et al.
(September 21, 2000)
Ruling Slaps Clinton by Pete Yost, The Associated Press
(March 29, 2000)