December 7, 2007
Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
Senator Christopher J. Dodd
Senator John McCain
United States Senate
We, the undersigned organizations, are writing to ask you as key members of the Senate and candidates for your party’s nomination for the presidency of the United States to co-sponsor S. 886, “The Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007.” This legislation is critical to restore the public’s necessary faith in the trustworthiness of its government.
In November 2001, President George W. Bush issued Executive Order 13233, giving current and former presidents and vice presidents, and their heirs, broad authority to withhold presidential records or delay their release. “The Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007” (S. 886) would re-establish procedures to ensure the timely release of presidential records that the Presidential Records Act of 1978 was designed to ensure.
The House version of this legislation (H.R. 1255) passed on March 14, 2007 by 333-93, including 104 Republicans. The Senate bill has broad bipartisan support, and cleared the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee by voice vote earlier this year.
We urge you to take a stand for accountability and join Senators Bingaman, Cornyn and others in co-sponsoring this important bill. The public should be assured that the next President will be committed to openness and will restore the public’s trust in the workings of government.
Please feel free to contact Lee White at the National Coalition for History (202-544-2422 x-116) if you have any questions.
American Association of Law Libraries
American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
American Library Association
Association of American Publishers
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
California First Amendment Coalition
Center for National Security Studies
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
FOI Oklahoma, Inc.
Government Accountability Project
Indiana Coalition for Open Government
The James Madison Project
Mine Safety and Health News
Minnesota Coalition on Government Information
National Coalition Against Censorship
National Coalition for History
National Freedom of Information Coalition
National Security Archive
PEN American Center
Progressive Democrats of America
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
Society of American Archivists
Society of Professional Journalists
Special Libraries Association
Sprehe Information Management Associates, Inc.
Washington Coalition for Open Government
cc: Senators Bingaman, Cornyn, Feinstein, Leahy, Lieberman, Obama, and Sununu