The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has failed to release records on potential or actual records disposal plans from federal agencies, following multiple occasions of records destruction during the Trump administration. CREW is suing after NARA failed to respond to an August 2021 Freedom of Information Act request for records that would shed light on communication between NARA and various federal agencies.
The Trump administration saw multiple instances of a failure to keep adequate records, sometimes even going so far as to destroy them. In one egregious case, the EPA under administrator Scott Pruitt destroyed records on water quality and later told the archivist that they had not destroyed the records, according to 2020 records obtained by CREW. Pruitt continuously failed to maintain transparency, reportedly prohibiting his staff from taking notes or written records and using a non-EPA phone and calendar to take calls and hide meetings.
To further investigate similar violations, CREW submitted a FOIA request on August 16, 2021 requesting all communications since January 1, 2017 between NARA and federal agencies regarding any potential or actual disposal of records posing a “continuing menace to human health or life or to property.” To date, CREW has received no additional communications from NARA regarding this request.
The release of these records would bring to light additional recordkeeping violations and transparency failures. The public deserves to understand the extent of records destruction during the Trump administration and know what NARA has done to ensure future transparency and accountability.