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Public Law (12/19/1974)

(LATEST SUMMARY)

Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act - =Title I: Preservation of Presidential Recordings and Materials= - Requires any Federal employee in possession to deliver, and the Administrator of General Services to receive, obtain, or retain, complete possession and control of all original tape recordings of conversations which were recorded or caused to be recorded by any officer or employee of the Federal Government and which: (1) involve former President Richard M. Nixon or other individuals who, at the time of the conversation, were employed by the Federal Government; (2) were recorded in the White House or in the office of the President in the Executive Office Buildings located in Washington, District of Columbia; Camp David, Maryland; Key Biscayne, Florida; or San Clemente, California; and (3) were recorded during the period beginning January 20, 1969, and ending August 9, 1974.

Directs that the Administrator shall receive, retain, or make reasonable efforts to obtain, complete possession and control of all papers, documents, memorandums, transcripts, and other objects and materials which constitute the Presidential historical materials of Richard M. Nixon, covering the period beginning January 20, 1969, and ending August 9, 1974.

Defines the term "historical materials" for purposes of this title.

Requires that the tape recordings and other materials covered by this Act shall, immediately upon the date of enactment of this title, be made available, subject to any rights, defenses, or privileges which the Federal Government or any person may invoke, for use in any judicial proceeding or otherwise subject to court subpena or other legal process. States that any request by the Office of Watergate Special Prosecution Force, whether by court subpena or other lawful process, for access to such recordings or materials shall at all times have priority over any other request for such recordings or materials. Provides that Richard M. Nixon, or any person whom he may designate in writing, shall at all times have access to the tape recordings and other materials referred to herein for any purpose which is consistent with the provisions of this title subject to the regulations which the Administrator shall issue pursuant to the provisions of this Act.

Requires any agency or department in the executive branch of the Federal Government to at all times have access to the tape recordings and other materials referred to herein for lawful Government use, subject to the regulations which the Administrator shall issue pursuant to the provisions of this Act.

Directs the Administrator to issue at the earliest possible date such regulations as may be necessary to assure the protection of the tape recordings and other materials referred to herein from loss or destruction, and to prevent access to such recordings and materials by unauthorized persons. Provides that custody of such recordings and materials shall be maintained in Washington, District of Columbia, or its metropolitan area, except as may otherwise be necessary to carry out the provisions of this title.

Provides for regulations that would provide public access to the tape recordings and other materials covered by this title. Requires the Administrator to submit to each House of the Congress a report proposing and explaining such regulations within ninety days of enactment of this title.

Provides that the United States District Court for the District of Columbia shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear challenges to the legal or constitutional validity of this title or of any regulation issued under the authority granted by this title, and any action or proceeding involving the question of title, ownership, custody, possession, or control of any tape recording or material referred to or involving payment of any just compensation which may be due in connection therewith.

Stipulates that if, under the procedures established herein a judicial decision is rendered that a particular provision of this title, or a particular regulation issued under the authority granted by this title, is unconstitutional or otherwise invalid, such decision shall not affect in any way the validity or enforcement of any other provision of this title or any regulation issued under the authority granted by this title.

Stipulates that if, a final decision of such court holds that any provision of this title has deprived an individual of private property without just compensation, then there shall be paid out of the general fund of the Treasury of the United States such amount or amounts as may be adjudged by that court.

Authorizes the appropriation of such sums as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this title.

=Title II: Public Documents Commission= - Public Documents Act - Establishes a commission to be known as the National Study Commission on Records and Documents of Federal Officials.

Makes it the duty of the Commission to study problems and questions with respect to the control, disposition, and preservation of records and documents produced by or on behalf of Federal officials, with a view toward the development of appropriate legislative recommendations and other recommendations regarding appropriate rules and procedures with respect to such control, disposition, and preservation. Requires that such study shall include consideration of: (1) whether the historical practice regarding the records and documents produced by or on behalf of Presidents of the United States should be rejected or accepted and whether such practice should be made applicable with respect to all Federal officials; (2) the relationship of the findings of the Commission to the provisions of Federal laws relating to the control, disposition, and preservation of records and documents of Federal officials; (3) whether the findings of the Commission should affect the control, disposition, and preservation of records and documents of agencies within the Executive Office of the President created for short-term purposes by the President; (4) the recordkeeping procedures of the White House Office, with a view toward establishing means to determine which records and documents are produced by or on behalf of the President; (5) the nature of rules and procedures which should apply to the control, disposition, and preservation of records and documents produced by Presidential task forces, commissions, and boards; (6) criteria which may be used generally in determining the scope of materials which should be considered to be the records and documents of Members of the Congress; (7) the privacy interests of individuals whose communications with Federal officials, and with task forces, commissions, and boards, are a part of the records and documents produced by such officials, task forces, commissions, and boards; and (8) other problems, questions, or issues which the Commission considers relevant to carrying out its duties.

Provides for the membership of the Commission. Authorizes the appropriation of such sums as may be necessary to carry out this title.