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    HHS Secretary’s Non-Public E-Mail Account Questioned

    Jul 10, 2013
    Issues revolving around e-mail records emerged in the news in June when CQ reported that Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius was questioned about her e-mail addresses during a congressional hearing on HHS’s budget. Through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, a reporter with the Associated Press (AP) found that Sebelius had multiple government e-mail addresses, including a public e-mail, Kathleen.Sebelius@hhs.gov, and a non-public e-mail, KGS2@hhs.gov.
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    Issues revolving around e-mail records emerged in the news in June when CQ reported that Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius was questioned about her e-mail addresses during a congressional hearing on HHS’s budget. Through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, a reporter with the Associated Press (AP) found that Sebelius had multiple government e-mail addresses, including a public e-mail, Kathleen.Sebelius@hhs.gov, and a non-public e-mail, KGS2@hhs.gov.

    Sebelius said that none of the addresses were “secret,” but one of them was kept from the general public because “twenty-seven, twenty-eight thousand emails a month come through the public emails,” and she needed a non-public email in order for her “to conduct day-to-day business at the agency.” Sebelius told the committee that both the “public email and [the] private email [were] FOIA-able and all available.”

    That FOIA request from the AP was prompted by reports last year that then-Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson was using a government e-mail address under the alias “Richard Windsor.” Interestingly enough, according to the Washington Examiner, the use of the fake e-mail account came out when author Christopher Horner published a book that included a memo from the EPA to NARA describing how they created the e-mail account.

    The Office of the Inspector General at the EPA announced an investigation into the “Richard Windsor” e-mail account, but Jackson stepped down soon after.

    The Washington Policy Brief is an online advisory that contains brief summaries of recent legislative and regulatory issues that may affect the records and information management profession. Further information about the issue is accessed by clicking on the link provided at the end of each summary.

     

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