Two years ago, to celebrate FOIA’s 50th birthday, we filed a request with seven presidential libraries for all of their photos of presidents with cake. As of last year, all but two - the William J. Clinton and George W. Bush Presidential Libraries - had released pictures of their prez with pastry. Today, we’re checking in on the two stragglers, and see if they’ve managed to track down the treats in the last 12 months.
The National Archives and Records Administration’s recent announcement that there will be no Barack Obama Presidential Library was met with understandable outrage from historians and transparency advocates, who saw it as a blow to a functioning democracy. However, as the National Security Archive’s Nate Jones was quick to point out, this discussion needs to be understood in the larger context of NARA’s current failings in the presidential library system, where FOIA requests can take years, even decades.
Last year, to celebrate FOIA’s 50th birthday, we began collecting photos of Commanders-in-chief with cakes, with the goal of creating the most comprehensive archive of presidential pastry ever assembled. Today, we’re checking in to see if our efforts to free chief executive confections bore frosted fruit.
George W. Bush’s presidential records are now available to the public. According to the Presidential Records Act, presidential records are exempt from public disclosure for the first five years after a president leaves office. That clock started on January 20th 2009; today marks the five year mark since George W. Bush left office.