Senators Request More Information on Recordkeeping Laws, Oversight Requests

    Jun 27, 2017

    Concerned that White House staffers are using an encryption app that deletes messages after they’ve been opened, two Democratic senators have asked 24 inspector generals to review their agencies’ processes for preserving certain electronic records as federal records and for how they respond to requests from members of Congress.

    In their letter, Tom Carper of Delaware and Claire McCaskill of Missouri, say that “Although NARA has confirmed that the capture of electronic messages creates unique challenges throughout government, various public reports raise questions about whether Trump administration officials are intentionally skirting compliance with federal record keeping requirements.”

    The letter suggests that federal employees may be using private messenger applications, such as Confide, to conduct official business, which “flies in the face of federal recordkeeping laws and the principles of government transparency.”

    Per the letter: “Reports that Trump administration officials have used practices that undermine transparency of public records are also unfortunately consistent with this administration’s problematic pattern of delaying or ignoring requests from minority members of Congress,” the senators continued. “While it might be reasonable to attribute some delay in responding to Congressional requests to the presidential transition process, recent reports suggest that the Trump administration’s lack of transparency and responsiveness may be by design.”

    Carper and McCaskill have asked the inspector generals to provide a written response by July 6 of their respective agencies’ actions.



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