It is not only for the good of the Democratic Party but for the good of the country that the White House ought to respond to Senate majority leader Byrd's call for prompt disclosure of all the facts in the Billy Carter controversy. president Carter's pledges of open and honest government need to be preserved from further smirches such as the recent episode involving Attorney General Civiletti. Only after repeated denials Did Mr. Civiletti acknowledge that he talked with the President about brother Billy's legal problems. Now the Justice Department is properly investigating whether the attorney general's "brief exchange" with the President constituted an obstruction of justice.
Not to have disclosed this exchange earlier was at least a "very serious mistak," as Senator Byrd put it. He wants to dispel the controversy's "embarrassment to the Democratic Party's before the party's convention in two weeks. But, whatever the impact on the party, Mr. Carter owes it to the public and to his own reputation to expedite the remaining information. To quote Mr. Byrd again, "It shouldn't be extracted day by day, tooth by tooth."