I was shocked and delighted to read about the better transparency practices approved by the White House and Capitol Hill regarding record requests.
What does this new legislation do for researchers?
“The legislation will end the practice of White House lawyers repeatedly extending the review of records of prior presidents that the National Archives has designated for release. Under the new law, the current president and affected former president have 60 business days to review records the Archives declares an intention to make public. That period can be extended 30 business days, but only once.”
And it passed 420-0! Within a government where it seems like not one soul can agree with itself, how did this legislation pass so easily? I think it has to do with the fact that all people want access to information in a transparent, expedient way. It helps everyone.
What else will this legislation do?
“The new law, sponsored by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), also increases the transparency of the process by requiring the Archives to make public notices of planned openings of presidential records at the same time they are sent to the White House and a former president’s representative. The law also includes a provision sought by Republicans making clear that emails government employees send on private accounts about government business must be incorporated into official records systems.”
And there it is: e-mails. I spend a lot of time considering how e-mails can be and should be saved and archived. What systems and processes are currently available for harvesting and organizing e-mail accounts and the content within them? I am hoping to know more about that sooner than later.
P.S. Why are the Clintons reluctant for records to be open as compared to the Bush family? Is it because Hilary is still hot within her career while the Bush fam, at least the immediate Bush fam of George W., and Bush, Sr., are certainly done with the White House. Would other presidential families react as the Clintons are about record release if these other families were still potential White House leaders?