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CREW Urges Passage of Bill to Improve to Presidential Records Act
WASHINGTON - April 2 - On March 30th, CREW joined other government-transparency advocates in calling for the swift passage of The Presidential Records Act (PRA) Amendments of 2009 (H.R. 35), an act that would install vital improvements to the existing PRA and reinforce President Obama's repeatedly stated commitments to greater openness and accountability in government.
In a letter sent to Sens. Joseph Lieberman and Susan Collins, ranking members of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, the groups stressed the importance of the PRA in holding the government accountable to its citizens. The ongoing lawsuit over the Bush administration's 14 million missing emails, a suit which CREW helped initiate, was cited as the perfect example of the need to amend the records-keeping process.
The House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 35 on January 7, 2009 as their first piece of substantive legislation on the issue. Shortly after, as one of his first official acts in office, President Obama revoked a Bush-era executive order which had weakened the PRA, stating that "openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government." The Act now lies in the Senate's hands.
Anne Weismann, CREW's chief counsel, stated, "It is a fundamental right that the American people have access to the official records of their government. This Act represents a vital way to keep our leaders accountable and responsible for their actions. We urge the Committee of Homeland Security and Government Affairs to bring this important piece of legislation to the floor of the Senate for vote immediately."