Presidential Records Act

Freedom of Information Act

Freedom of Information Act (1966), law requiring that U.S. government agencies release their records to the public on request, unless the information sought falls into a category specifically exempted, such as national security, an individual's right to privacy, or internal agency management. The act provides for court review of agency refusals to furnish identifiable records. The states also have similar laws. The federal government and some states have also adopted so-called sunshine laws that require governmental bodies, as a matter of general policy, to hold open meetings, announced in advance. Presidential papers remained under the control of individual American presidents until 1981, when the Presidential Records Act—enacted by Congress in 1978—took effect. Under it, presidential papers were to be released to the public 12 years after an administration ended. In 2001, however, President George W. Bush signed an executive order that gave a former president or a sitting president the right to prevent the release of a former president's papers to the public. The G. W. Bush administration was also generally more reluctant to release documents under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Executive Order 13233 Further Implementation of the Presidential Records Act. (Features)
Kumar, Martha Joynt.
Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 1, March 2002
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Source Material: Executive Order 13233 [Federal Register Vol. 66, No. 214, November 5, 2001] Further Implementation of the Presidential Records Act. (Features)
Bush, George W.
Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 1, March 2002
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Out of Sight, but Not out of Mind: How Executive Order 13,233 Expands Executive Privilege While Simultaneously Preventing Access to Presidential Records
Karin, Marcy Lynn.
Stanford Law Review, Vol. 55, No. 2, November 2002
Source Material: Nixon's Ghost Haunts the Presidential Records Act: The Reagan and George W. Bush Administrations
Montgomery, Bruce P.
Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 4, December 2002
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Executive Privilege Revived?: Secrecy and Conflict during the Bush Presidency
Rozell, Mark J.
Duke Law Journal, Vol. 52, No. 2, November 2002
What Are They Hiding?
Baker, Russ.
The Nation, Vol. 274, No. 7, February 25, 2002
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