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Record-Keeping Bill Is Criticized As ‘Anemic’ by Watchdog Group

April 22, 2008

Record-Keeping Bill Is Criticized As ‘Anemic’ by Watchdog Group

Washington Post, April 17, 2008

This articles discusses the recent bill that House Democrats, including Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, introduced to “strengthen and modernize electronic record-keeping requirements” in the wake of an e-mail preservation controversy surrounding the White House and federal agencies. The bill, H.R. 5811, directs the National Archives and Records Administration to set standards for capturing, managing, retrieving and preserving White House electronic communications, including e-mails. The bill also states that the National Archives must issue regulations within 18 months requiring federal agencies to preserve electronic communications in electronic format and to comply with this regulation within four years.

According to the Post, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has called the proposed legislation “anemic” and states that it “fails to make the substantial changes necessary to bring the federal government into the 21st century.” CREW argued in a 42-page report that the bill provides only general guidelines for agencies and amounts to little more than a “print-and-save policy.” As we’ve seen, electronic records management is receiving a lot of attention at the federal level lately and we have a feeling that hhe debate over email retention in government is far from over.

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