When a bill or pardon or whatever is signed, let's say in the USA, then what exactly happens to the signed document? And what happens if it's misplaced or destroyed?

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    Not related to this question (but I have no other way of contacting you): please be more careful when reviewing questions. You most definitely should not have approved this suggested edit.
    – user11249
    Aug 30, 2017 at 2:19

1 Answer 1


In the US, signed bills and other documents of import go to the National Archives.

Documents that are misplaced are lost until found.

If the documents are destroyed, the culprit may be the subject of an FBI investigation, which happened to Sandy Berger, Bill Clinton's National Security Adviser.

Note that all public laws are published in the Federal Register. Note that multiple copies of documents are made if they are not secret. The President even signs legislation with multiple pens, for gifts to posterity.
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  • If I remember correctly Berger only stole the documents, but he didn't destroy them. I can't find any source stating he destroyed them. Jan 27, 2017 at 22:13
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    @DavidGrinberg He threw them away and they were never recovered.
    – user9790
    Jan 27, 2017 at 22:14
  • "But in a notification to the commission the following month, the department did not mention that Berger had cut up documents, that he reviewed uncatalogued originals or that Brachfeld worried that Berger's theft was greater." I got a two for one on that one.
    – user9790
    Jan 27, 2017 at 22:18
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    @DavidGrinberg - He did destroy them, but they were copies. However, this incident is utterly irrelevant to this question, as what he was charged with was removing classified data and improperly storing it. (I've had a clearance. That's definitely a big no-no, but a lot of bigwigs get caught doing it because they aren't used to the massive inconvenience involved in properly handling classified material, and feel they are too important to bother)
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 28, 2017 at 3:19

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