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Boustany Demands Accountability from HHS on Public Records

December 18, 2012

Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight Chairman Charles Boustany Jr., MD (R-LA) sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  The letter calls on Sebelius to provide information related to recent whistleblower allegations that political appointees within HHS have been using instant messaging technology to communicate with career employees, ostensibly in an effort to circumvent recordkeeping laws.  Under the Federal Records Act, federal agencies must preserve all records and communications connected with public business, which can only be destroyed under certain circumstances.  These requirements are supposed to be applied to modern forms of communication such as electronic mail, instant messaging, and mobile-to-mobile text messages.  

Boustany stated, “It is vital that all government agencies develop and implement electronic recordkeeping policies so messages used to conduct official business can be made part of the government’s archive.  Many HHS political appointees are managing the implementation of ObamaCare and the numerous rules and regulations contained within it.  Their discussions must be preserved, whatever the medium used, and any failure to archive these messages impedes Congress’s duty to conduct government oversight.”

The letter can be read here.