The relationship between some federal agencies and Congress has often been thorny under the Obama administration. Providing information to Congress, including email messages, have been a focal point in this difficult relationship such as the dispute with the Internal Revenue Service and IRS employee Lois Lerner.
Now, in a controversy of a similar nature, Lamar Smith (R-TX) has written a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). His letter notes that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy “may have deleted thousands of text messages, including those that would qualify as federal records, from government-issued electronic devices.” Lamar Smith is the Chairman of the House Committee on Space, Science and Technology.
The letter notes that EPA and the employee are generally required to maintain records, including those on electronic devices.
The Congressman notes that the EPA administrator was quoted in the media as stating: “the agency maintains that the text messages neither had to be preserved nor were subject to disclosure. Text messages can legally be deleted.”
Congressman Smith is asking for information such as whether the administrator or senior staff members have ever used text messages concerning official business of the agency and how those messages are maintained. He also asks whether any senior staff members have destroyed these messages and whether any disciplinary actions were taken as a result.
The complete copy of the Congressman’s letter is below.