Presidential Records Act of 1978

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The Presidential Records Act (PRA) was established to collect and protect the records of each presidential administration. The law grants public access to papers five years after each president's last day in office, with the proviso that any sitting president can deny access to collections of previous presidencies. This rule was strengthened by President Bush's Executive Order 13292 in March 2003. The order further restricts access to sensitive national security information in presidential papers.

The Clinton Library Archives in Little Rock, Arkansas, are governed under the Presidential Records Act as well as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). When the Clinton Library opened in 2004 the only documents immediately available to researchers were those made available under a 1994 federal court order to open Hillary Clinton's universal health care task force papers, which amount to a half million printed pages.

References

  • "Access to Presidential Papers under Scrutiny," American Libraries, 35.10 (November 2004): 14-15.
  • "Clinton Papers Release to be Bush's Decision," Washington Post, September 19, 2004.

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