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Research

How to Submit a FOIA Request

Records created or received by the White House during the Administration of President George W. Bush are subject to the Presidential Records Act (PRA), as amended, 44 U.S.C. § 2201-2209. Under the terms of the PRA, records are not available for use by the public (unless they have been previously placed in the public domain) and are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) until 5 years after the end of the Administration. Those materials that are restricted under the PRA will remain closed for 12 years after the President has left office.

FOIA requests may be accepted for Presidential records, created from noon on Jan. 20, 2001 through noon on Jan. 20, 2009. Presidential records are materials relating to the President carrying out his constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties. Federal records in our custody are also subject to the FOIA.

Finding Aids

View the Finding Aids for open records currently available for research. Finding aids could include information about extent or linear feet, access, series, administrative or biographical history, scope and content note, system of arrangement, container list (folder title list), and other pertinent details.

How to Submit a FOIA Request

  • All FOIA requests must state that you are requesting records under the "Freedom of Information Act" or "FOIA."

  • To request George W. Bush Presidential records, submit your request in written format via mail, fax, or e-mail to: 

         George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum
         c/o FOIA Coordinator
         2943 SMU Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75205
         Fax: 214-346-1558 (include a cover sheet if possible)
         Email: gwbush.library@nara.gov (include your name in the subject line)

Helpful Tips 

When submitting a FOIA request, be as specific as possible and include as many details as possible.

  • If you are interested in records created by a specific Presidential office or staff member.
  • If you are interested in specific events, speeches, or issues.
  • A date or date range for your topic.
  • Please note, if you have an impending deadline, the FOIA process does take time.
  • Review the FOIA Reference Guide.          

Fees

Historical records at NARA are not governed by the FOIA fee and fee waiver provisions in section 552(a)(4)(A)(vi). NARA does not charge FOIA searching and processing fees. Accordingly, the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum does not provide fee waivers for copying. The NARA charges standard reproduction fees for copying of historical records in accordance with our statutorily based fee schedule, codified at 44 U.S.C. § 2116(c). 

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Frequently Asked FOIA Questions 

What is a Presidential Record?

Under the Presidential Records Act (PRA), as amended, 44 U.S.C. § 2201-2209, “the term “Presidential records” means documentary materials, or any reasonably segregable portion thereof, created or received by the President, his immediate staff, or a unit or individual of the Executive Office of the President whose function is to advise and assist the President, in the course of conducting activities which relate to or have an effect upon the carrying out of the constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President.” Some of the offices that create Presidential records include the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, the White House Counsel’s Office, and the White House Office of Speechwriting.

Presidential Record
Not Presidential Record
Speeches 2000 and 2004 Campaign Materials
Presidential Schedules
Texas Gubernatorial Materials
Presidential Correspondence                 

George W. Bush Foundation Materials

Can I submit a FOIA request for political or campaign materials?

Presidential records are governed by the Presidential Records Act (PRA), as amended, 44 U.S.C. § 2201-2209. Among other categories of information, the PRA defines material related to political campaigns that have no information concerning the constitutional, statutory, or official or ceremonial duties of the President as personal material. As such, this material is not subject to request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Therefore, any records that deal solely with political or campaign materials are not Presidential records and they are not subject to FOIA. 

If you are looking specifically for material related to political campaigns, that material, if it exists in our holdings, would not be Presidential record and would not be releasable. You may continue forward with a FOIA request for these materials, but we want to ensure up front that you understand that no political material related to that request will be released. 

How long will it take to get the records I requested?

The FOIA process takes time. FOIA requests are processed by a first in/first out system based on a queue structure determined by the amount and type of records requested. Once a request comes to the top of a queue, processing begins.

Records responsive to FOIA requests are processed and reviewed for access under provisions of the PRA, as amended, and FOIA and are subject to the provisions of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) regulations at 36 C.F.R. § 1270.46, which require that we notify the representatives of the incumbent President and former President prior to the release of any Presidential records. Once processing is complete, the notification process will begin.  It should also be noted that materials processed in response to a request may be closed in whole or part in compliance with applicable PRA restrictions and FOIA exemptions.  When processing is complete, the notification process will begin. For more information, see the Letters of Notification of Intent to Release Presidential Records. When processing is complete and the notification period has passed, we will inform you of the availability of the requested records. 

How can i access the records?

Once records are opened for research, they can be made available for viewing in the research room at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Photocopy orders can be placed by contacting the Archives staff, at gwbush.library@nara.gov or 214-346-1557.  Electronically processed materials will be made available online through the National Archives Catalog and will be searchable using your FOIA request number (gwb.20xx-xxxx-F). Unfortunately, electronic records are not available in the National Archives Catalog at this time; however, we can provide electronic records on a CD for $5. Learn more about Planning Your Research Visit.

What is the national archives catalog?

The National Archives Catalog is the National Archive’s online public portal to records and information about records held by the Archives. Search by your FOIA request number (gwb.20xx-xxxx-F) to access electronically processed records through the National Archives Catalog.  Learn more about the National Archives Catalog. Unfortunately, electronic records are not available in the National Archives Catalog at this time; however, we will be happy to provide electronic records on a CD for $5.

Can I request Gubernatorial Records?

While the gubernatorial records of George W. Bush are housed at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, requests must be submitted to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC). Learn more about how to request George W. Bush gubernatorial records

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