records management

Secretary Nielsen’s Exit Would Leave Behind Trail of Secrecy About Border Policies, Missing children

If the president follows through on his threats to ask Secretary Nielsen to resign, she will leave the administration with a trail of unanswered questions about policies that destroyed the lives of hundreds of families. It will be up to Congress and the public to unearth her buried secrets about border policies, and ensure all the missing children are reunited with their parents. OTG’s appeal challenges DHS’ withholding of information that should be disclosed under law, including the improper use of redactions to hide information about record keeping systems used to track separated children.

Ivanka Trump and James Comey’s Emails from Personal Accounts Violate Presidential and Federal Records Acts

By sending emails in her official capacity as White House staff through a personal email account, Ivanka Trump violated the Presidential Records Act. Trump’s claim that she was not familiar with the details of rules prohibiting the use of personal email accounts for official business strains credulity, given the public and policymaker attention this matter has generated over the past several years. All officials should know better, and Democrats and Republicans should work together to curtail this growing problem.

Senators Urge White House to Comply with Presidential Records Act

On March 3, Senators Claire McCaskill and Tom Carper wrote to White House Counsel Donald McGahn, voicing their concern about reports of White House officials using personal electronic messaging accounts while conducting official business, and asking that he ensure that President Trump and his staff are complying with the Presidential Records Act (PRA).

Updated: OMB responds to coalition letter on stripping online government data

On February 13, a group of 69 public interest organizations dedicated to open and accountable government, free speech, civil rights, consumer protection, the environment, and other issues called on federal agencies to fulfill their legal requirement to provide the public with adequate notice before removing public information from government websites. 

Updated: Questions for 2016 Candidates for Federal Offices on Government Accountability, Public Disclosure, and the Right to Know

OpenTheGovernment.org and the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) have drafted these open government-related questions that can be asked of all candidates for federal office.  Our hope is that they will be used broadly - by editorial boards, reporters covering the 2016 campaigns, and interested members of the public who have an opportunity to speak with candidates.

FAQs: Federal Email Records Management

On March 2nd, the New York Times published a story reporting that Hillary Clinton had not used an official Department of State email account during her time as Secretary of State. Instead, Clinton and some staff members used a private email server. As OTG director Patrice McDermott told The Hill, “What she did was not technically illegal…[but] it was highly inappropriate and it was inappropriate for the State Department to let this happen.”

Lame Duck Looking Not So Lame for OpenGov

The lame duck session of the 113th Congress has already acted on one open government priority-- sending a bill to the President for signature that will help speed up the release of historical White House Records -- and leaders in the Senate have taken steps to push forward legislation to reform the National Surveillance Agency's (NSA) surveillance programs and to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). 

OTG Elsewhere

Don’t miss Katherine Hawkins, OTG’s national security fellow, at the Huffington Post discussing the intelligence committees’ oversight capabilities and responding to Jose Rodriguez about the accuracy of the Senate report on CIA interro