(PM.) The Presidential Records Act, which states that “The United States shall reserve and retain complete ownership, possession, and control of Presidential records,” has come into the spotlight after FBI agents raided former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence under the suspicion that he has held onto documents covered under this act.
According to Bovard, the Nixon Library did not reportedly release its final batch of the former president’s secret tapes until 2013, 39 years after his presidency ended in his resignation following the Watergate scandal.
The act was enacted into law in 1978 following the Nixon residence, where he claimed that his secret Oval Office tapes and other personal records were his own personal property.
The Lyndon B. Johnson Library had delayed in releasing the final batch of his secret tapes until 2016. This came 47 years after he left office.
In 2001, then-President George W. Bush issued an executive order that changed the act from guaranteeing public access to the documents to one that blocks it, though Congress overturned parts of the order in 2014, according to Bovard.
Politico reported in 2014 that Obama administration lawyers had repeatedly invoked the Presidential Records Act to “delay the release of thousands of pages of records from President Bill Clinton’s White House.”
At the end of Obama’s two-term presidency, he reportedly trucked 30 million pages of administration records gathered during his time in office to Chicago, where he promised to digitize them and put them online.
“At the end of his presidency, Barack Obama trucked 30 million pages of his administration’s records to Chicago…More than five years after Obama’s presidency ended, the National Archives webpage reveals that zero pages have been digitized & disclosed.”https://t.co/377McHH4Cl
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) August 10, 2022