GAO Criticizes Smithsonian Maintenance and Security Practices

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued a report critical of the Smithsonian Institution’s maintenance and security practices. The GAO specifically cited the Smithsonian Board of Regents for not responding to recommendations in a 2005 GAO report that urging a more aggressive approach to raising funds from the private sector and less reliance on scarce federal dollars.

Federal Judge Invalidates Order Allowing Former Presidents to Withhold Records

On October 1, a federal district court judge gave historians and researchers a partial, but significant victory in a lawsuit questioning the legality of President George W. Bush’s Executive Order (EO) 13233, which broadened the rights of presidents and former-presidents to withhold federal records from the public. The judge struck down the section of the EO that allows a former president to indefinitely delay the release of records.

Tell Senator Bunning to Stop Blocking the Presidential Records Bill

On September 24, Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) objected to floor consideration of the “Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007” (H.R. 1255), at least temporarily holding up a vote on the bill. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) sought to have the bill brought up under the Senate’s unanimous consent rule that allows non-controversial bills to be considered on an expedited basis. When she did so, Senator Bunning objected to consideration of the bill.