Petition for a Politician Legibility Act


This petition will go to:

the Speaker of the House, 

the Majority Leader of the Senate, 

the Minority Leader of the House, 

and the Minority Leader of the Senate.

It has become public knowledge (nationally and internationally) that the signature of Jacob Joseph "Jack" Lew (now appointed as Secretary of the Treasury) is indecipherable — a series of homogeneous loops, bearing no resemblance to letters of the alphabet. This is unconscionable, because the Treasurer's signature appears on currency and is part of making it legal. (Can an illegible signature — a series of repeated loops, easily imitated — be considered reliable for this purpose?)

Even President Obama (no very legible handwriter himself) has made public — and adverse — comment on the matter: which has fortunately spurred Secretary Lew to resolve, publicly, that he will work on his handwriting: a resolution for which we give thanks.

Well and good — if Secretary Lew finds, and follows, competent instruction in handwriting ... however, this is not the first time, in recent history,  that the dysfunctional handwriting of a government official has had serious consequences. Towards the end of the Bush administration, for instance,  the handwritten notes of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby (then Vice-President Cheney's former Chief of Staff) were crucial evidence in a criminal case in which Mr. Libby was the defendant: a case impeded because Mr. Libby's handwriting defied decipherment by anyone but himself. (The incomprehensibility of his handwriting required the special prosecutor to rely on Mr. Libby — the defendant — for an understanding of the evidence presented.)

In the light of such repeated incidents — 

We, the undersigned, hereby request that Congress enact a "Politician Legibility Act" to require that all political appointees and elected officials of the Executive Branch:


shall submit, within one week of assuming office, to a test of handwriting legibility; 


shall submit (should they fail the handwriting legibility test) to a course of instruction in handwriting; 




shall maintain all handwritten notes and other handwritten communications and documents in legible form, subject to a civil fine of $50.00 for each occurrence of illegibility.

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