Laws and Regulations
The following acts govern the Presidential Libraries and the access and use of their materials.
Presidential Libraries Act of 1955 (PLA)
Established a system of privately erected and federally maintained libraries.
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
Enacted in 1966, generally provides that any person has the right to request access to federal agency documents or information.
Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974 (PRMPA)
Applies only to the Nixon Presidential Materials.
Presidential Records Act of 1978 (PRA)
Governs the official records of Presidents and Vice Presidents created or received after January 20, 1981.
Presidential Libraries Act of 1986
Made significant changes to Presidential Libraries, requiring private endowments linked to the size of the facility.
Executive Order 12958
Signed by President Clinton on April 17, 1995, mandates a review of classified documents older than 25 years. Amended by Executive Order 13292 on March 25, 2003.
Presidential Historical Records Preservation Act of 2008
Directs the Archivist to provide to the Senate and House appropriations committees a 10-year capital improvement plan for all presidential archival depositories. In addition, the Archivist must submit a report to the House and Senate homeland security committees that provides alternative models for presidential archival depositories.
- Read the Report on Alternative Models submitted to Congress.
Executive Order 13489
Signed by President Obama on January 21, 2009, provides for further implementation of the Presidential Records Act.
Executive Order 13526
Signed by President Obama on December 29, 2009, prescribes a uniform system for classifying, safeguarding, and declassifying national security information. This order revokes Executive Orders 12958 and 13292.
Presidential Transition Act of 1963
Promoted the orderly transfer of the executive power in connection with the expiration of the term of office of a President and the Inauguration of a new President.
Presidential Transitions Effectiveness Act of 1988
Amend the Presidential Transition Act of 1963 to provide for a more orderly transfer of executive power in connection with the expiration of the term of office of a President.
Presidential Transition Act of 2000
Provide for the training or orientation of individuals, during a Presidential transition, who the President intends to appoint to certain key positions, to provide for a study and report on improving the financial disclosure process for certain Presidential nominees, and for other purposes.
Guidance Relating to President-Elect Transition Team Materials
Provides guidance regarding records management for the Transition Team.