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SPJ Pushes for Access to Former Presidents’ Papers

The Society of Professional Journalists asked the presidential candidates who are also senators to join Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in endorsing a bill to open up former presidents' papers to journalists and the public.

SPJ joined 31 other open government groups to ask Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Joseph Biden (D-Del.), Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.). The one with the most at stake, obviously, is Clinton, whose husband’s records would be made public.

The Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007 would "re-establish procedures to ensure the timely release of presidential records that the Presidential Records Act of 1978 was designed to ensure.”

SPJ pointed to an executive order under the first President Bush that gave former presidents, vice presidents and their heirs "broad" authority to withhold or delay the release of records.

A version of the bill passed in the House last March and passed the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs committees by a voice vote, according to SPJ.