The House Oversight and Reform Committee has requested that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos hand over personal emails in which she discussed state business while in office, according to The Hill. Lock her up, amirite?
The demand is part of an investigation into whether the Education Department is complying with the Federal Records Act.
Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings wrote in a letter to DeVos that the committee was expanding the investigation to include the personal emails after the “disturbing new revelations” that DeVos “violated federal law” by withholding information from the committee.
“New information has now come to light indicating that you and other Department officials violated the Department’s prohibition on using personal email accounts to conduct official business, violated the requirement in the Federal Records Act to forward these emails to your official account within 20 days, and violated the requirement in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to produce relevant records in response to public requests,” Cummings wrote.
In May, the Office of the Inspector General published a report which found personal emails in which DeVos had discussed government matters and that she hadn’t forwarded those emails to her official account.
The OIG wrote in the report that it “found only a limited number of emails sent to or from her private accounts in the Department email system” but noted that those emails “not always being properly preserved.” The emails were found in other DOE employees email accounts.
The fact that some officials use personal email to conduct business isn’t exactly news. Despite what the president may believe, it’s an incredibly common practice. The OIG report noted that 78 percent of DOE officials surveyed admitted to using their personal accounts for some communications. Even Ivanka Trump has been found to use a personal email server for government business.
Department of Education Press Secretary Liz Hill told The Hill that the investigation “is nothing more than political grandstanding. The IG has already done a thorough report on this issue. There is nothing to see here.”
So far, the DOE has refused to provide any of the information requested by the House.