For Immediate Release

July 24, 2014

 

Contact:

DC – Bill Silverfarb (202) 225-3531 / (202) 957-4340 cell

Bill.Silverfarb@mail.house.gov

 

CA – Katrina Rill (650) 342-0300 / (650) 208-7441 cell

Katrina.Rill@mail.house.gov

 

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) issued the following statement after her amendment to the Federal Records Accountability Act (H.R. 5170) was approved in committee. Speier’s amendment is based on the Retention of Electronic Correspondence of Regulatory Decisions (RECORD) Act of 2014. The bill is in response to reports that e-mails from IRS official Lois Lerner were lost. It requires federal agencies to identify e-mail accounts that must be preserved and retained as records. The RECORD Act has bipartisan support and is cosponsored by Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). It now moves to the House floor for a vote.

“The RECORD Act brings federal agencies into the 21st century by preserving key e-mails essential to understanding national policymaking and will hold public officials accountable. Federal agencies need to make records management a top priority instead of relying on officials to print out correspondence they deem important. The missing Lois Lerner e-mails have created a level of mistrust in the American people that must be restored,” Congresswoman Speier said. “We’ve learned a valuable lesson from this incident and now it’s time to act.”

“We have moved into the digital age. This important piece of legislation is a practical and necessary solution. I’m glad to associate my name with it,” Chaffetz said.

The National Archives and Records Administration reported in May 2011 that 90 percent of federal agencies had a moderate to high risk of records mismanagement.

The RECORD Act requires federal agencies to make record keeping a priority at all levels to guard against legal liabilities and to ensure that historical records of vital interest are not lost.

The bill:
• Requires each agency to designate e-mail accounts that should be preserved and retained as records, including but not limited to accounts of heads of Federal agencies and independent agencies; their deputies and assistants; the heads of program offices and staff offices including assistant secretaries, administrators, and commissioners; directors of offices, bureaus, or equivalent; principal regional officials; staff assistants to those aforementioned officials, such as special assistants, confidential assistants, and administrative assistants; and career Federal employees, political appointees, and officers of the Armed Forces serving in equivalent or comparable positions.

• Requires the Government Accountability Office to report on agency compliance with electronic record retention every two years, and amends the Inspector General Act to require review of policies and compliance with the Federal Records Act.

• Codifies the National Archive’s Capstone approach, which is currently voluntary for agencies. Capstone offers agencies the option of using a more simplified and automated approach to managing email, as opposed to using either print and file systems or records management applications that require staff to file email records individually.

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Congresswoman Jackie Speier is proud to represent California’s 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties. She is a senior member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the House Armed Services Committee (HASC). In her role on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the Congresswoman is a ranking member on the Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care, and Entitlements and serves on the Subcommittee on National Security. She serves on the Readiness Subcommittee and the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on HASC and is a member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. Congresswoman Speier was appointed to serve as a Senior Whip for the Democratic caucus in the 113th Congress.