Chairwoman Maloney Seeks Details from National Archives on the Trump Administration’s Compliance with Presidential Records Act
Washington, D.C. (Dec. 21, 2020)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent a letter to David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, expressing grave concerns that the outgoing Trump Administration may not be adequately preserving records and may be disposing of them without first obtaining his views, as required by law.
“As you know, the Presidential Records Act imposes legal obligations on the President and the White House to preserve and maintain presidential records,” wrote Chairwoman Maloney. “It also requires the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to ‘assume responsibility for the custody, control, and preservation of, and access to the Presidential records of that President.’”
Under the Presidential Records Act, President Trump may not dispose of any presidential records unless he first “obtains the views, in writing, of the Archivist concerning the proposed disposal of such Presidential records.” The law also requires Ferriero to “request the advice” of the Committee, as well other relevant committees, whenever a request is received regarding the disposal of records from the President, if those records “may be of special interest to the Congress” or if “consultation with the Congress regarding the disposal” is in the public interest.
“I am concerned that the outgoing Trump Administration may not be adequately preserving records and may be disposing of them without first obtaining your views, as required by law,” added Chairwoman Maloney.
According to NARA, due to the coronavirus pandemic, NARA has not detailed any employees to the White House to assist or oversee this process, as it has in past transitions.
Today’s letter comes after all House Committee Chairs sent letters directing the White House and more than 50 federal agencies within their jurisdictions to comply with federal record-keeping laws and preserve information responsive to congressional subpoenas and investigations.
The Committee requests NARA’s responses to this letter by Tuesday, January 5, 2021.
Click here to read the letter to the National Archives and Records Administration.