Democrats to probe Betsy DeVos’ personal email use – By Gabriella Muñoz (The Washington Times) / July 15 2019
House Democrats launched an investigation Monday into Education Secretary Betsy DeVos‘ use of a personal email for official duties.
“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,” Chairman Elijah Cummings wrote in a letter to the secretary.
The Maryland Democrat outlined seven separate instances dating back to March 2017 in which the department failed to notify Congress about any employees using their personal accounts.
This spring, a report from the Office of Inspector General found “fewer than 100” emails linked to four personal accounts sent to or from Ms. DeVos‘ personal emails. It noted that the emails were “not always being properly preserved.”
The Department of Education dismissed Mr. Cummings‘ letter as a show of political theater.
“This is nothing more than political grandstanding. The IG has already done a thorough report on this issue. There is nothing to see here,” U.S. Department of Education Press Secretary Liz Hill wrote in a statement.
According to the May report, most were sent at the beginning of Ms. DeVos‘ tenure and involved job positions, and five were sent from the secretary about official business.
Mr. Cummings pointed out the report also highlights none of those emails were disclosed to Congress and that a majority of Department appointees used a personal email.
Ms. DeVos now has until July 29 to identify any officials that have used a personal email, text message or encrypted messaging software for the committee.
The secretary must also turn over copies of all the business-related messages she, or any other official, sent or received through non-governmental accounts.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and an administration official, came under fire in November after reports surfaced that she used a personal email to handle official White House business.
Ms. Trump’s lawyers confirmed the reports, but said the emails were only for logistical purposes.
During his presidential campaign, Mr.Trump hounded Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton for her use of a personal email during her tenure as secretary of state.
In this Sept. 17, 2018, photo, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks during a student town hall at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. (Associated Press) **FILE**