Presidential Federal Records Act Amendments Pass Senate

The Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014 sailed through the Senate on September 10th, passing by unanimous consent. The bill underwent some changes since its unanimous passage in the House in January. Those changes must be approved by the House before the bill heads to the President’s desk.

H.R. 1233 imposes a time limit in which a former president must assert any claim of privilege upon a determination of the Archivist to make available to the public a record of that former president. It also puts into place a process to manage records’ release when a claim of privilege is made. Currently, claims of privilege asserted by former presidents have been left to the discretion of incoming presidents and addressed through executive orders. In January, more than 20 groups joined in a letter supporting the legislation’s framework and urging the passage of the bill.


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