Dan Epstein, Cause of Action's Executive Director, says that there is strong evidence that the Department of State intentionally violated the Federal Records Act.

Read the full story: Politico

During Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, department officials pushed to limit the number of emails and other electronic records the agency was required to save under federal rules.


In a March 2012 memo responding to a call from President Barack Obama to improve federal record keeping, State’s top records manager urged streamlining the rules so that much of the routine back-and-forth of government would be beyond their reach.


“The vast majority of working files are of short-term value and should be disposed of quickly. In the modern era, most drafts and various other working products are circulated for comments and approvals through email or on other collaborative electronic sites,” State Records Officer Tasha Thian wrote. “Under [the National Archives and Records Administration’s] overly broad view of what constitutes a record, essentially all working materials would fall under the definition of a record, many of which are not of long-term value once the final product is completed. This results in added costs.”…


“She’s basically recommending that the State Department should have a lot more discretion in terms of how it preserves records. We now have really good evidence what that means is: ‘We don’t want to preserve records,’” said Cause of Action’s Dan Epstein. “That’s a recipe for violating the Federal Records Act and avoiding transparency statutes like the Freedom of Information Act.”


Epstein pointed to the department’s disclosure last week that it did not begin automatically archiving official email accounts of top agency leaders until recently — in most instances, just last month. The move came about six months after agency officials were advised that Clinton’s use of a private email account was likely to complicate responses to document requests from a House committee investigating the Benghazi attacks.