n.a United States law (44 USC 2201–2207) passed in 1978 that governs the management of official records created or received after January 20, 1981, by presidents, vice presidents, and related staff of the United States of AmericaGeselbracht 1986, 160The Presidential Records Act is a very strong statement of the public’s right to consider a president’s papers as their own, a stronger statement than could have been made thirty-five years ago. It is also clearly an event in an evolutionary development whose origins lie in the procedures devised to provide access to the Roosevelt papers.Bearman 1993a, 675The lawsuit filed by Armstrong et al. claims that some information on the PROFS system qualifies either as agency records under the FOIA and Federal Records Act (FRA) or as presidential records under the Presidential Records Act (PRA).Brown 2001, 10The 1978 Presidential Records Act established a time line for release [of presidential papers] within an archival framework for opening or restricting unclassified presidential materials.Montgomery 2003, 102Following the Watergate scandals, Congress passed the 1978 Presidential Records Act (PRA), declaring the records of the presidency to be the property of the American people.Jimerson 2007, 256In response to Nixon’s abuses of power, Congress passed the Presidential Records and Materials Act (1974) and other legislation to establish the principle of public ownership and access to presidential records.
The act made the public the legal owner of the official records of the president, which were formerly private records, and established a new statutory structure under which presidents must manage their records and the National Archives and Records Administration controls and provides access to the records after the end of each president’s term. The act was most recently amended in 2014.