Presidential Libraries

Access to Presidential Records

The records of former President Ronald Reagan are the first Presidential records to be governed by the Presidential Records Act (PRA) of 1978. The PRA specified that all official Presidential and Vice Presidential records created after that date are the property of the Federal Government and established the legal basis for access to the records of Presidents from Reagan forward.

Executive Order 12667, issued by President Reagan in January 1989, established the procedures for NARA and former and incumbent Presidents to implement the PRA. On November 1, 2001, President George W. Bush issued Executive Order 13233, which supersedes the previous Executive Order. The Bush Executive Order also includes the records of former Vice Presidents. More recently, on January 21, 2009, President Barack H. Obama issued Executive Order 13489, which supersedes Executive Order 13233.

Access & Legal Challenges