FOI Advocate Blog

The NFOIC open government blog is a compendium of original concepts and analysis as well as ideas, edited excerpts and materials from a variety of sources. When the information comes from another source, we will attribute it and provide a link. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited; we will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

For Advocate posts prior to July, 2011, visit

June 25, 2015 10:13 AM

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, the agency admitted recently.

The watchdog group, Cause of Action, said the deletion amounts to “unlawful destruction of federal records” in a legal complaint filed on Wednesday.  Continue>>>


March 25, 2013 10:45 AM

From The Modesto Bee:

An attorney claims Modesto is violating the state's public records law because the city's computers automatically purge emails once they are 30 days old.

Sacramento attorney Kelly T. Smith filed papers Friday in Stanislaus County Superior Court, asking a judge to order the city to stop deleting emails and revise its policies to come into compliance with the California Public Records Act.

The act requires local governments to make most of their records — such as settlement agreements to lawsuits and claims filed against them — available to the public for inspection and copying.


November 14, 2012 9:34 AM


Oregon legislators are required to keep their email messages for a year, according to their own rules and state law. But confusion about a computer backup system suggests an unknowable number of public records has been lost. 
The issue wasn't on anybody's radar until The Oregonian requested copies of email related to a trip seven Republican lawmakers made to Palm Springs in January. The all-male group visited a topless club while they were there and, a few months later, House GOP leader, Rep. Kevin Cameron, stepped down because of fear that the public would find out. 

March 21, 2012 3:13 PM


The controversial question of how Bakersfield City Hall handles its emails got a partial answer Monday when a city council committee recommended more training for staffers about what do to with their email. Open government advocates have said cities should treat emails as public documents and retain them for public access. The requests prompted a council examination of the issue.

Members of the council's Legislative and Litigation Committee last month discussed whether to change the city's policy but city staff responded that requiring workers to keep emails longer than they do currently would be costly and unnecessary. Councilwoman Sue Benham, who chairs the panel, had challenged city staff to look beyond maintaining the current policy. Council members Rudy Salas and Jacquie Sullivan are the other two members of the committee.

January 12, 2012 2:44 PM

From The Voice of OC:

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait directed city officials Tuesday night to review the city's records policy for compliance with federal and state laws and to recommend improvements to the policy by next City Council meeting.


Tait's directive comes after Voice of OC published memos from supervisors in the city's planning and code enforcement departments ordering employees to destroy emails and other correspondence or face "disciplinary action."

December 7, 2011 4:32 PM


WASHINGTON - Tens of thousands of e-mails authored or received by Cabinet secretaries in the last three Republican gubernatorial administrations were automatically wiped off state computers after the officials left office, destroying a huge trove of public records about major decisions of state government.

Computer systems erased the e-mails from the administrations of Acting Governor Jane Swift and Governors Paul Cellucci and Mitt Romney because state officials did not store the contents of their accounts by backing them up on central computers, according to state officials. In the case of the Romney administration, the automatic deletions occurred despite state guidelines that were updated in 2004 that require certain electronic records be preserved.

emails deleted
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