Cummings Renews and Expands Investigation Into Betsy Devos's Emails

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Posted: Jul 16, 2019 1:00 PM
Cummings Renews and Expands Investigation Into Betsy Devos's Emails

Source: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings was compelled to send Education Secretary Betsy DeVos a new urgent request on Monday to provide information about her reported personal email use in her official capacity. An Inspector General of the Department of Education report in May revealed that she used a personal email account to conduct official business and did not forward those emails to her official account, as required by law. He said those are "disturbing new revelations” that must be addressed.

“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. “This new information also indicates that you withheld from the Committee information it has been seeking on a bipartisan basis over the past two years.”

In the letter, Cummings reminds DeVos that the initial investigation into her emails was done on a bipartisan basis. On separate occasions, former Reps. Jason Chaffetz (UT) and Trey Gowdy (SC), who served as Oversight chairmen, requested DeVos to provide information on whether she or any non-career officials at her agency “ever used personal email accounts, text messages, phone-based message applications, or encryption software to conduct official business.”

Cummings gave DeVos until July 29 to provide the requested documents, but it doesn't sound like those materials will surface by that date or any time soon. According to DeVos's office, the Democratic chairman is engaging in "political grandstanding."

Rep. Cummings is simultaneously targeting another White House employee, Counselor Kellyanne Conway. There's no doubt in his mind that she's violated the Hatch Act on multiple occasions and he pledged to hold in contempt if she fails to show for another hearing about it. She too has no plans to comply.