Executive Privilege

Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Executive Privilege


Quick Summary of Executive Privilege


The privilege that allows the president and other high officials of the executive branch to keep certain communications private if disclosing those communications would disrupt the functions or decisionmaking processes of the executive branch. As demonstrated by the Watergate hearings, this privilege does not extend to information germane to a criminal investigation.




What is the dictionary definition of Executive Privilege?

Dictionary Definition


n. a claim by the President or another high official of the executive branch that he/she need not answer a request (including a subpena issued by a court or Congress) for confidential government or personal communications, on the ground that such revelations would hamper effective governmental operations and decision-making. The rationale is that such a demand would violate the principle of separation of powers among the executive, legislative and judicial branches. If there is a potential criminal charge, executive privilege will be denied, as Richard Nixon discovered when he attempted to use executive privilege to deny Congress, the courts and the Department of Justice access to tapes and documents in the Watergate scandal (1973-1974).


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Definition Sources


Definitions for Executive Privilege are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 28th April, 2020 | 0 Views.