September 16, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the House passed on voice vote a bill that included Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) bipartisan Retention of Electronic Correspondence of Regulatory Decisions (RECORD) Act of 2014 (H.R. 5181). The RECORD Act, included as an amendment to the Federal Records Accountability Act (H.R. 5170), requires agencies to retain the e-mails of all high level officials as official records. It was introduced in response to reports that e-mails from IRS official Lois Lerner were lost.

“The American people expect that high level officials will be held accountable for their actions and policymaking decisions. In the digital age, accountability should be automatic with electronic records. A system that relies on these officials to determine which e-mails should be kept is bound to fail and puts 90 percent of agencies at risk for records mismanagement,” said Congresswoman Speier. “We’ve learned our lesson from this incident and I am glad the House has passed this overdue reform.”

Other provisions of the RECORD Act include:
• Requiring 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.
• Codifying the National Archive’s Capstone approach, currently a voluntary policy 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.