Chaffetz, Cummings Urge Compliance with Federal Recordkeeping Laws

Published: Mar 8, 2017

Letter to White House and agencies requests information on procedures for proper preservation

WASHINGTON – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) sent a letter to the White House and 55 federal agencies requesting information on how each entity is complying with the Presidential Records Act (PRA) and the Federal Records Act (FRA).

Recent news reports raise questions as to whether some White House officials and federal employees are using various messaging applications to conduct official business, in possible violation of the PRA and FRA.

Excerpts from the letter:

“Federal recordkeeping and government transparency laws such as the Presidential Records Act and the Federal Records Act ensure the official business of the federal government is properly preserved and accessible to the American public.”  

“Official business must be conducted in such a way as to preserve the official record of actions taken by the federal government and its employees.”

“Many of the messages sent from [President Trump’s twitter] accounts are likely to be presidential records and therefore must be preserved.  It has been reported, however, that President Trump has deleted tweets, and if those tweets were not archived it could pose a violation of the Presidential Records Act.”

Full text of the letters can be viewed here and here.

Background:

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee has jurisdiction over compliance with federal record keeping laws.

The Presidential Records Act, governs the disposition of records created or received by the President, Vice President, their immediate staff, or individuals in the Executive Office of the President whose function is to advise or assist the President.

The Federal Records Act, governs the disposition of records for federal agencies and establishments.