Ken Friedman ken.friedman at bi.no
Sun Jan 27 21:47:00 PST 2002


I know that some of you are concerned with the
inappropriate and chilling effect of George Bush's
executive order denying access to presidential

There is strong bipartisan sentiment in Congress
on this issue, and there is likely to be a law that
will overturn the order.

You can make a difference to the future of
this legislation by contacting your Congressman
or Congresswoman by phone or by letter.
(Don't bother with email. Representatives don't
read their email.)

This is not an issue of partisan engagement, but
an issue of public and scholarly access to
national records.

Best regards,

Ken Friedman

A reprinting of this important message posted last week. If you haven't
taken action, please do so today.

In addition to the lawsuit filed by the Public Citizen that challenges
provisions of President Bush's recent Executive Order 13233 relating to
implementation of the Presidential Records Act (see "Lawsuit Challenges
Bush Presidential Records Executive Order" in "NCC WASHINGTON UPDATE,
Vol. 7, #48, November 29, 2001), Congress now is initiating its own
action to nullify the executive order.

Last November, the House Subcommittee on Government Efficiency,
Financial Management and Intergovernmental Relations conducted an
oversight hearing entitled, The Implementation of the Presidential
Records Act of 1978 (see "Reagan Papers/New Executive Order - Topics of
Congressional Hearing" in NCC WASHINGTON UPDATE, Vol. 7, #46, November
9, 2001). During the hearing it became apparent that both Republicans
and Democrats were critical of the presidential order.  In December, a
number of interested parties met with minority Democratic Committee
staff to discuss possible legislation that would overturn the
E.O.  Given the strong bi-partisan concern over E.O. 13233 and its
draconian effects, it seemed plausible that a bi-partisan legislative
effort could be successful.

After consultation with majority staff, it was agreed to postpone
introduction of legislation until the full Committee on Government
Reform holds a hearing on the issue.  That hearing - designed to give
the issue more visibility and prominence - is expected to take place in
the near future.  To this end, the two key legislative players,
Committee Chair Dan Burton (R-IN) and ranking Democrat Henry Waxman
(D-CA) have agreed that they will introduce legislation - the Access to
Presidential Records Act - at the hearing or shortly thereafter.  The
legislation will be simple and straightforward and will state that
President Bush's Executive Order 13233 shall have no force or effect.

With Congress now swinging into action, YOUR HELP IS NEEDED!  It is NOW
time for the historical and archival community to TAKE ACTION.  Please
contact your members of Congress and encourage them to be "original
cosponsors" of the Burton/Waxman legislation.  A simple phone call to
the member of the House of Representatives that represents you will do:
the Capitol switchboard telephone number is (202) 224-3121. The message
you need to communicate is simple: Request that your Representative
become an original co-sponsor of Congressman Dan Burton and Henry
Waxman's "Access to Presidential Records Act."  Request that your
Representative write you a letter in response to your request.  Our
goal is to see the legislation introduced with well over 100 House
members as co-sponsors - the higher the number, the stronger the
message will be to the Bush Administration. PLEASE TAKE ACTION TODAY!

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