The House’s top watchdog sent a reminder this week to the Obama administration’s departing agency leaders: Do not purge your records on your way out the door.
Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) sent letters to agency heads Tuesday saying they have a duty under law to preserve and protect government records.
Over the years, he said, his panel’s investigations were often stalled or blocked by administration officials deleting documents or who had used personal email accounts for government business.
“I urge you to make sure your top officials do not purge, delete, or destroy any official government records,” Chaffetz said in a letter to U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
Overall, Chaffetz sent similar letters to 26 agencies asking their leaders to preserve records.
In his letter to McCarthy, Chaffetz continued, “To ensure the integrity of congressional investigations that may be necessary in the 115th Congress, please preserve all official records.”
“The Committee requests and expects you will exercise an abundance of caution, and keep everything,” Chaffetz said.
The House watchdog also noted that agencies have been rushing to finish regulations before the close of the Obama administration. Consequently, Chaffetz specifically asked agencies to preserve all records related to federal rules finalized since July 1.