On Monday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and the National Security Archive won an important victory for transparency when a D.C. District Court judge upheld their challenges regarding the White House’s failure to properly store and recover millions of emails dating from March 2003 through October 2005. Rejecting the government’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, the judge ruled that the Federal Records Act permits a private plaintiff to bring suit to require the administration to notify Congress or ask the attorney general to initiate action to recover destroyed or missing e-mail records, according to the Archive.
In September 2007, both groups filed separate suits seeking the recovery and preservation of more than 5 million e-mails under the Federal Records Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. Later that year, the judge consolidated the cases. The National Security Archive has compiled a nifty chronology of the case.
The judge held that the two groups have the right to sue to force the administration to restore the deleted emails before they become unrecoverable, that the court has the authority to review the adequacy of the White House’s recordkeeping practices, and the administration has a duty to prevent the destruction of federal records, according to wallstreet.online.