Admission of Amendment

 

Hawaii’s Sunshine Law is called UIPA (Uniform Information Practices Act). The government agency which is to oversee that law is the Office of Information Practices (OIP). Their office has attorneys who interpret what the law means and how it applies to specific cases. They advise departments on what their responsibilities are, establish guidelines for procedures and disclosures, act as an advocate for the public to get whatever information is due them, and render official decisions when individuals appeal a department response to a UIPA request.

 

The OIP has a booklet which explains the rules they have set in place for departments to follow when they receive a request for information. Those rules apply to all government agencies – so there are “uniform information practices”, as the title of the law says. Starting on page 30, the booklet describes how an agency or department is to respond to a request.

 

The first step is to determine whether they have the requested record. If they don’t have the record or any part of the record requested they must say so. For any record or part of a record that they DO have, they have to determine whether or not they will release it, following the guidelines. If they can or may release it then they must release it. If they deny access to the record, they have to give their legal justification for doing so. Appendix B in the booklet is a “Response to Requestor” Form that can be used, with check-off boxes to show the process.

 

Sometimes the very existence of a record indicates something a department might want to remain hidden. If there is a legal justification for it to remain hidden they may use a “Glomar response” – an answer such as “The records, if any, are denied”, to say that they cannot reveal whether the requested record exists or not. The OIP issued an official Opinion Letter showing such a response is appropriate where information is specifically protected from disclosure, as for instance the identity of firearm registrants – which is specifically protected from disclosure by statute. Any record which would disclose the identity of a firearm registrant should normally (barring legitimate public concern) be denied with a Glomar response so that confidentiality is not broken.

 

But where the existence of a record doesn’t reveal protected information the agency must say whether or not the record exists, according to OIP Opinion Letter 97-8. A denial of access is an admission that a record exists since it is impossible to deny access to something which does not exist.

 

A person using the alias “Terri K” requested to see any UIPA requests made by President Obama or his representative for access to his vital records in order to amend them, all communications regarding that request, the official response to that request, and any invoices or receipts for fees Obama paid to access or amend his records. Every item requested was denied, according to the official OIP reply to Terri’s appeal of the DOH’s response.

 

Terri K twice asked OIP attorney, Linden Joesting, if it was appropriate to ask for specific amendment processing records and was told both times that it was appropriate – that if the DOH had the records they should give them and if they didn’t have the records they should say so. This confirms the policy which is openly stated in both OIP Opinion Letter 97-8 above and in the OIP’s UIPA Manual. A denial of access to a record is confirmation that the record exists.

 

In addition, a request for “any & all material(s) used as support and as evidence of the information put forth in the President’s vital records” was denied. Again, this is an admission that such materials exist. Evidence beyond the birth certificate itself is only required if there is an amendment, if the original certificate is a late certificate, or if the certificate was originally incomplete and had to be completed by a supplementary report. (Incidentally, none of these would be the case for a hospital birth).

 

Terri K originally made the assumption that there was an amended birth certificate because – in the words of the request to the DOH and OIP –

 

Using simple deductive reasoning, it’s apparent that President Obama amended his birth certificate. On July, 27, 2009, Dr. Fukino told the public that the DoH maintains “original vital records” that verify President Obama’s natural-born citizenship and that he was born in Hawaii. Now the public knows that the President added other vital records to his ‘single’ original long form birth certificate making them plural: “original vital records.”

 

A single document could verify that an individual is a natural-born citizen and born in Hawaii: an original long form birth certificate. For the President, it took more than one. Therefore, it took an amendment to his record and evidential support which is also maintained by the DoH as original vital record(s). You can only make corrections with respect to information relevant to birthplace and/or NBC status by making a UIPA request for access.

 

There are only two pieces of information relevant to natural-born citizenship: birth place and parentage.

 

Amendments were made to this information and Dr. Fukino told the public so on 7/27/09 when she made this statement:

 

“I, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, Director of the Hawai‛i State Department of Health, have seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawai’i State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawai’i and is a natural-born American citizen. I have nothing further to add to this statement or my original statement issued in October 2008 over eight months ago.”

 

In other words, she said this:

“I…have seen the original vital records…verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawai’i and is a natural-born American citizen.”

 

The word ‘original’ indicates no new birth certificate was issued, rather the original was marked up with corrections, which is what happens according to statute to ‘amended certificates’.

 

 

Through both words and actions, according to the OIP and DOH Administrative Rules, the Hawaii Department of Health has confirmed that the original birth certificate of Barack Obama has been amended.

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5 Comments

  1. ksdb
    Posted January 31, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Fukino backed herself into a corner with her original statement about personally verifying that the state had Obama’s “original” birth certificate. In the follow-up statement, by citing unknown vital records, she’s admitting that Obama’s place of birth cannot be verified by the original birth certificate. My understanding is, that even if amended, an original certificate would still have full legal weight to verify the facts contained therein. In other words, she would have no need to look for or cite any other records besides the original birth certificate to make that statement. This leaves the question as to the legal value of these other vital records she’s relying on for her second statement. We know there are no vital records that prove a person is a natural born citizen. This is her opinion at best. She made sure to include a defiant statement that she would say nothing further. The good people of Hawaii need to know what kind of corruption they have in their state offices and the trash needs to be removed.

    • Posted January 31, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Depends on what kind of an amendment it is. If it’s a minor administrative amendment or a legal name change it wouldn’t impact the prima facie value of the original. But if it substantially changed the facts of the birth it renders the original no longer fit for prima facie evidence. In such a case, the State of Hawaii cannot vouch for the accuracy of any of the claims on the original or amended birth certificate.

      The only way the facts of birth can be legally determined is when the registrant presents the BC as evidence before a judicial or administrative person or body – in which case they HAVE to look at the file of evidence and weigh it on its own merits against any proof of conflicting claims.

      And the DOH did deny a request for documents offered as evidence in support of what was contained on the vital records, so there is supporting documentation somewhere. Legally Fukino would have had to look there.

      But legally nothing was presented to her as evidence (there’s no process for her to be presented anything as evidence) so she couldn’t make the statement. And HRS 338-18a forbids her from revealing what is on a birth certificate except through the legitimate procedures outlined in the Administrative Rules. So it was illegal for her to say what was on his birth certificate anyway.

      • ksdb
        Posted February 1, 2010 at 6:07 am | Permalink

        It looks like, according to the rules and regs, Fukino could theoretically authorize herself to disclose any information contained on the original birth certificate. The law about disclosures is supposed to apply to not just the birth certificate but to any and all birth, marriage and death documentation filed with the DOH. If it’s illegal to disclose something from the original birth certificate, it would be just as illegal to disclose information that was submitted for a delayed or altered certificate. The DOH told Terri K. that all records requests and receipts, etc., were part of the birth records, which was their excuse for not releasing any to her. This means that Fukino either ignored this part of their rule n citing the ‘vital records’ or she simply gave herself authorization to ‘verify’ the place of birth from whatever records she’s talking about. If she did authorize herself to give this information, then she would also be able to authorize herself to identify the specific documents. There should be nothing to hide. If Obama’s info is legit, it’s not like he would file a complaint with the state of Hawaii, nor would anyone else, in response to Fukino disclosing it to the public. She was and is in no danger of getting in trouble over disclosures.

        I remember Terri K. had requested specific types of amendments to the records and concluded that the date of birth caused the amendment, not the place of birth. If so, that should be marked on the original birth records. Not sure that this kind of amendment would require Fukino to look all records filed to verify Obama’s place of birth. Regardless, whatever caused Fukino to rely on something other than the original birth certificate is an indication that it does not verify the place of birth. Then we’re left wondering about the accuracy of any additional documentation that was filed. That can only be determined if it’s made public. It’s time for their obfuscation to stop.

  2. Posted February 1, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The DOH has made so many conflicting statements and used so many ploys to obscure what they’re actually saying that it’s impossible to trust anything they say at this point. They also say they don’t have records they’re required to keep and that the OIP has records of. They’re just flat-out lying at this point.

    I think the rules allow the director discretion to decide what kinds of information are released to the public as index data or on abbreviated certificates. But I think once those determinations are made he/she is supposed to follow that. I don’t think Fukino can pick and choose. I think that’s what HRS 338-18a is really about – that all disclosures are supposed to abide by the standard protocols that the director decides.
    I think that is to protect against exactly what has happened – a public claim of something on the certificate without the public being able to see that the statement is correct.

    And it’s not correct. Fukino is not authorized to say what the facts of Obama’s birth are. Only an administrative or judicial body or person to whom the certificate is presented as evidence can say anything – and then only after looking at the documentation offered as evidence.

    But even that is screwy. They denied someone the supporting documents offered as evidence for the claims on the birth certificate – thus admitting they exist. But when we asked for the same thing they denied that they exist. Everything that has come out of their office has been like that. They think their lies will cover their behinds but in reality their lies show that they’re hiding something.

    For a long time I tried to figure out what was on the birth certificate. I’ve given up on that because we simply can’t trust the DOH’s conflicting statements. And that is why I believe this is a law enforcement issue. All the noble words about accountability and trust are a bunch of hooey if government officials can lie at will whenever convenient and nobody can or will do anything about it. Law enforcement are our representatives just as surely as our elected officials are. If they won’t represent us – our interests in seeing the law enforced – this country is sunk.

  3. ksdb
    Posted February 1, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    As the law is written, it isn’t so much the information that is protected, but the release of physical certified documents to persons who might try to perpetrate fraud. That’s why 338-18a has this long list of persons with direct interest. The law controls who can get a certified copy of the certificate. Otherwise, the birth information itself is almost freely shared. They used to send it to the newspapers for the birth announcements. They allow access for statistical purposes, genealogical purposes and even for unspecified “research or educational purposes” as listed in 338-18g5.

    The basic information is generally harmless, except perhaps where adoptions are involved. The idea behind 338-18d and index data is that the state realized that some of this information should be made available to the public. Also 338-18g3 authorizes the non-certified birth records to made available when relevant to employment. The bottom line is that Obama is a public figure who has released some of this information recognizing that it’s relevant to the qualifications of his job. Under terms in both the vital records laws and the UIPA laws, there’s a definite tangible public interest and legal allowance for just such a disclosure that outweighs whatever privacy interest might be involved. The fact that the DOH put up a special Web page to deal with Obama request is an acknolwedgment of significant public interest. The only thing that remotely justifies these records being withheld is if Obama was at some point adopted (either at birth to SAD or later to Lolo Soetoro) and had his records amended as a result.

    Speaking of adoptions, ABC-TV has a show called Find My Family that unites separated biological families. They have researchers do detective work to find out who biological parents or children were. In doing so, they’ve gone to state vital statistics offices and researched birth lists by date. In one clip, they showed one of these lists … what appears to be the index data for that state (Calfornia in this particular episode). It looked like there was a lot more information available on the list than what Hawaii specifies in 338-18d. It would be interesting to go to the DOH office on Punchbowl Street in Honolulu and see if they’d let you search the records (as they are required to allow) and to see what information is actually contained on their lists.

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