Short summary: after Richard Nixon’s unpleasant presidency, Congress took steps to open up the office of the President a little bit. Records were to be withheld for 12 years and then generally disclosed to the public, subject to all the usual FOIA limitations for stuff that has some real reason to remain secret.
Shrub, upon taking office, was supposed to disclose the records of Ronald Reagan’s presidency (and then, the records of his father’s Presidency). Since these records will undoubtedly reflect poorly on Ronald “I cannot recall a damn thing about the Iran Contra affair” Reagan, Shrub declined to do so.
Obama is restoring the status quo ante, the state of affairs that predated Bush. We can presume that Reagan’s and Bush Sr.’s records will now finally become available; various political reporters will be sending in their FOIA requests tomorrow.
Thanks ‘jellicle’ from reddit