Gowdy, Cummings Urge White House, Federal Agencies to Comply with Federal Record Keeping Laws

Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Published: Sep 25, 2017

Letters request information related to use of personal email accounts 

WASHINGTON – Today, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) sent letters to the White House and 24 federal agencies renewing the Committee’s previous request for information related to senior officials’ use of personal, private, or alias email accounts to conduct official government business.    

The letters request an update of the policies or directives that guide compliance with federal record keeping laws. The deadline for requested documents is October 9, 2017. 

Excerpts from the letter:

“With numerous public revelations of senior executive branch employees deliberately trying to circumvent [federal] laws by using personal, private, or alias e-mail addresses to conduct official government business, the Committee has aimed to use its oversight and investigative resources to prevent and deter misuse of private forms of written communication.”

“Many e-mails from federal employees are considered records under the [Federal Records Act of 1950]and therefore subject to certain record-keeping requirements.” 

“As technology has changed and the use of e-mail and other modern forms of electronic communication have become ubiquitous, the Committee has been active in updating portions of [federal record-keeping] laws.” 

“Based on yesterday’s Politico reporting regarding private e-mail use for official government business by a senior member of the President’s staff, today we write towards a similar end to you and the heads of the Cabinet departments and agencies.”

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.

In March 2017, the Committee sent bipartisan letters to the White House and 55 federal agencies requesting information on how each entity is complying with the Presidential Records Act and the Federal Records Act.

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.  

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