Government Official Admits Deleting Text Messages After Ex-Im Bank FOIA Request

In today's consequence-less world - where only the poor are punished - news that a top official at a controversial U.S. export finance agency deleted text messages sent within days of the 2014 midterm elections after a watchdog group filed an open records request for the messages, will come as no surprise whatsoever. The 'excuse' given by Ex-Im Bank's chief of staff Scott Schloegel  - because as we saw yesterday, there is no accountability - he "deleted, by mistake, the messages on my phone for the period in question." Most transparent administration ever...

With funding for the Ex-Im Bank is set to expire at the end of the month, and Congressional Republicans indicating that that they will allow it to do so, effectively shutting down the agency, the controversial crony capitalism creating agency will continue to make headlines. But as Free Beacon reports, the details may never actually come out as to just what this group did...

The watchdog group, Cause of Action, filed a Freedom of Information Act request on Nov. 14 asking for text messages sent or received by top officials at the U.S. Export-Import Bank from Nov. 2 to Nov. 8.  said the deletion amounts to “unlawful destruction of federal records” in a legal complaint filed on Wednesday.

 

Ex-Im responded months later, saying in a May reply that messages from Scott Schloegel, the chief of staff and senior vice president, “were accidentally deleted on approximately January 1, 2015,” more than a month after Cause of Action filed its FOIA request.

 

Schloegel signed a sworn declaration in March attesting that he “deleted, by mistake, the messages on my phone for the period in question.”

 

...

 

“The fact that a top official at the Export-Import Bank deleted his text messages several weeks after our organization asked to see them raises serious questions,” Dan Epstein, Cause of Action’s executive director, said in a statement. “Furthermore, it’s puzzling that it took the Bank another four months to let us know that this happened.”

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We leave it to "Cause of Action"'s Epstein to conclude:

“The public deserves to know what their government is up to, and we will work tirelessly to continue to hold these federal agencies accountable."

Indeed it does.