H.R. 3071 (112th): Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2011

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of Sep 29, 2011 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

I

112th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 3071

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

September 29, 2011

(for himself, Mr. Cummings, Mrs. Maloney, Ms. Norton, Mr. Kucinich, Mr. Tierney, Mr. Clay, Mr. Lynch, Mr. Cooper, Mr. Connolly of Virginia, Mr. Quigley, Mr. Davis of Illinois, Mr. Braley of Iowa, Mr. Welch, Mr. Yarmuth, Mr. Murphy of Connecticut, and Ms. Speier) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

A BILL

To amend chapter 22 of title 44, United States Code, popularly known as the Presidential Records Act, to establish procedures for the consideration of claims of constitutionally based privilege against disclosure of Presidential records.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2011.

2.

Procedures for consideration of claims of constitutionally based privilege against disclosure

(a)

In general

Chapter 22 of title 44, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

2208.

Claims of constitutionally based privilege against disclosure

(a)
(1)

When the Archivist determines under this chapter to make available to the public any Presidential record that has not previously been made available to the public, the Archivist shall—

(A)

promptly provide notice of such determination to—

(i)

the former President during whose term of office the record was created; and

(ii)

the incumbent President; and

(B)

make the notice available to the public.

(2)

The notice under paragraph (1)—

(A)

shall be in writing; and

(B)

shall include such information as may be prescribed in regulations issued by the Archivist.

(3)
(A)

Upon the expiration of the 60-day period (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) beginning on the date the Archivist provides notice under paragraph (1)(A), the Archivist shall make available to the public the Presidential record covered by the notice, except any record (or reasonably segregable part of a record) with respect to which the Archivist receives from a former President or the incumbent President notification of a claim of constitutionally based privilege against disclosure under subsection (b).

(B)

A former President or the incumbent President may extend the period under subparagraph (A) once for not more than 30 additional days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) by filing with the Archivist a statement that such an extension is necessary to allow an adequate review of the record.

(C)

Notwithstanding subparagraphs (A) and (B), if the 60-day period under subparagraph (A), or any extension of that period under subparagraph (B), would otherwise expire during the 6-month period after the incumbent President first takes office, then that 60-day period or extension, respectively, shall expire at the end of that 6-month period.

(b)
(1)

For purposes of this section, the decision to assert any claim of constitutionally based privilege against disclosure of a Presidential record (or reasonably segregable part of a record) must be made personally by a former President or the incumbent President, as applicable.

(2)

A former President or the incumbent President shall notify the Archivist, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the House of Representatives, and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate of a privilege claim under paragraph (1) on the same day that the claim is asserted under such paragraph.

(c)
(1)

If a claim of constitutionally based privilege against disclosure of a Presidential record (or reasonably segregable part of a record) is asserted under subsection (b) by a former President, the Archivist shall consult with the incumbent President, as soon as practicable during the period specified in paragraph (2)(A), to determine whether the incumbent President will uphold the claim asserted by the former President.

(2)
(A)

Not later than the end of the 30-day period beginning on the date of which the Archivist receives notification from a former President of the assertion of a claim of constitutionally based privilege against disclosure, the Archivist shall provide notice to the former President and the public of the decision of the incumbent President under paragraph (1) regarding the claim.

(B)

If the incumbent President upholds the claim of privilege asserted by the former President, the Archivist shall not make the Presidential record (or reasonably segregable part of a record) subject to the claim publicly available unless—

(i)

the incumbent President withdraws the decision upholding the claim of privilege asserted by the former President; or

(ii)

the Archivist is otherwise directed by a final court order that is not subject to appeal.

(C)

If the incumbent President determines not to uphold the claim of privilege asserted by the former President, or fails to make the determination under paragraph (1) before the end of the period specified in subparagraph (A), the Archivist shall release the Presidential record subject to the claim at the end of the 90-day period beginning on the date on which the Archivist received notification of the claim, unless otherwise directed by a court order in an action initiated by the former President under section 2204(e) of this title or by a court order in another action in Federal court.

(d)

The Archivist shall not make publicly available a Presidential record (or reasonably segregable part of a record) that is subject to a privilege claim asserted by the incumbent President unless—

(1)

the incumbent President withdraws the privilege claim; or

(2)

the Archivist is otherwise directed by a final court order that is not subject to appeal.

(e)

The Archivist shall adjust any otherwise applicable time period under this section as necessary to comply with the return date of any congressional subpoena, judicial subpoena, or judicial process.

.

(b)

Restrictions

Section 2204 of title 44, United States Code (relating to restrictions on access to presidential records) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(f)

The Archivist shall not make available any original presidential records to any individual claiming access to any presidential record as a designated representative under section 2205(3) if that individual has been convicted of a crime relating to the review, retention, removal, or destruction of records of the Archives.

.

(c)

Conforming amendments

(1)

Section 2204(d) of title 44, United States Code, is amended by inserting , except section 2208, after chapter.

(2)

Section 2205 of title 44, United States Code, is amended by inserting and 2208 after 2204.

(3)

Section 2207 of title 44, United States Code, is amended in the second sentence by inserting , except section 2208, after chapter.

(d)

Clerical amendment

The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 22 of title 44, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

2208. Claims of constitutionally based privilege against disclosure.

.

(e)

Rule of construction

Nothing in the amendment made by subsection (c)(3) shall be construed to—

(1)

affect the requirement of section 2207 of title 44, United States Code, that Vice Presidential records shall be subject to chapter 22 of that title in the same manner as Presidential records; or

(2)

affect any claim of constitutionally based privilege by a President or former President with respect to a Vice Presidential record.