Sens. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, and Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, sent letters to 24 Inspectors General requesting reviews of agencies’ compliance with and processes for preserving certain electronic records as federal records and responding to requests from members of Congress.
“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 senators wrote, citing reports that White House staffers are using an encryption app that deletes messages once they have been opened. “Use by federal employees of private messenger applications, such as Confide, to conduct official business flies in the face of federal recordkeeping laws and the principles of government transparency.”
“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.”
The senators requested each of the 24 IGs conduct a review and provide a written response by July 6 of their respective agencies’ compliance with federal laws governing records retention, compliance with Congressional requests and federal recordkeeping requirements for electronic messages. The requests were made to the Offices of the Inspector General for each federal agency covered by the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990.