WASHINGTON — As the Export-Import Bank fights to renew its charter this week, it will also have to contend with a new lawsuit we filed today after learning that a senior bank official destroyed federal records.

Through the Freedom of Information Act, our organization discovered that Ex-Im’s Chief of Staff, Scott Schloegel, deleted text messages he sent and received during the week of last year’s election.


On November 14, 2014, Cause of Action submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to Ex-Im. The request sought text messages, Blackberry messenger chats and SMS messages sent or received by top officials during the period of days between November 2, 2014 and November 8, 2014.

Ex-Im received our FOIA request on November 20, 2014, yet it did not respond to us until May 12, 2015, nearly six months later.

In its response, Ex-Im said, “the messages for Scott P. Schloegel were accidentally deleted on approximately January 1, 2015.” In one of the documents produced to us, Schloegel states in a signed declaration that he “deleted, by mistake, the messages on . . . [his] phone for the period in question.”

The date of Schloegel’s signed statement was March 27, 2015 — over four months after the Bank received our request for his records.

Due to Schloegel’s destruction of records, we have filed a legal complaint against the Bank. The complaint calls on Ex-Im, and the National Archives and Records Administration, to ask the Justice Department and/or Congress to initiate action to recover the deleted messages.

Cause of Action Executive Director Dan Epstein issued the following statement:

“The fact that a top official at the Export-Import Bank deleted his text messages several weeks after our organization asked to see them raises serious questions. Furthermore, it’s puzzling that it took the Bank another four months to let us know that this happened. The public deserves to know what their government is up to, and we will work tirelessly to continue to hold these federal agencies accountable.”

The full list of officials whose records we sought includes:

  • President and Chairman Fred Hochberg
  • Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff Scott Schloegel
  • Deputy Chief of Staff Gaurab Bansal
  • Senior Vice President of Communications Bradley Carroll
  • Senior Vice President of Congressional Affairs Erin Gulick