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Smith Statement on EPA’s IG Report Finding a Lack of Federal Record Keeping for Text Messages

Dec 21, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) provided the following statement today after the Inspector General at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a report concluding that EPA needs to improve their processes for preserving text messages as federal records. 

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “I applaud the inspector general at EPA for recognizing that there is a problem with EPA officials using texting for official business and the conflict it presents for maintaining records.  Out of the 3.1 million text messages analyzed by the IG, only 86 of the text messages were logged into the enterprise system at EPA as a federal record.  This vast deficit is astonishing, and further discredits the claim made by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy that only one out of her 5,000 text messages was an official record according to EPA.  A better process for maintaining this type of official correspondence to provide for congressional requests and Freedom of Information Act practices is lacking and needs to be addressed.  I look forward to hearing how EPA specifically plans to address the deficits outlined by the IG report.”

Background:

The chairman requested this report In November 2014 in response to learning that high ranking officials within EPA were using text messaging for official business, including EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

To view the full report, click here.

114th Congress