Oversight Committee Set to Update Presidential Records Act

Lora Bentley

When former President George W. Bush was in office, email was the electronic communication of choice - even if the president himself opted not to use it. In 2008 when President Obama took office, mobile email and text messages were in. Since then, we've moved to Facebook, Twitter and countless other social networks.


Despite such sweeping changes, The Presidential Records Act has not been amended since it was enacted in 1977. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), wants to change that. InformationWeek reports members of the White House staff and the National Archives and Records Administration were slated to testify before the committee Tuesday at a hearing on "Presidential Records in the New Millennium."


In his hearing preview, Issa said, in part:

Many of the technologies in use today (instant messaging and text-messaging devices, personal e-mail accounts, social networking websites) permit federal employees to easily bypass the tools and protocols designed to capture official communications and documents ... These developments serve to highlight the need for legislative reforms to update the Presidential Records Act and ensure that current and future generations of Americans have access to the critical information about their government.

Scheduled witnesses included Brook Colangelo, CIO for the Office of Administration in the Executive Office of the President, and National Archivist David Ferriero.

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