National Archives Sued After Allegedly Deleting CDC Employee Emails

America First Legal (AFL) has sued the Biden administration’s Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Archives (NARA) after the agencies allegedly deleted email correspondence of former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) employees.

The lawsuit, filed on April 17, says that the agencies are required to “make and preserve records containing adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the agency and designed to furnish the information necessary to protect the legal and financial rights of the Government and of persons directly affected by the agency’s activities.”

Despite this federal law, AFL claims in the lawsuit that HHS and the CDC have a “pattern and practice of removing the emails of employees who separate from employment within as little as thirty days from the date of separation.”

NARA investigated allegations of the CDC violating federal law, but said the “CDC does not require the preservation of all emails but rather preserves all records from email accounts. CDC’s records management policy instructs all agency personnel to maintain records outside of email accounts in a proper record-keeping system, shared drive, personal drive, or physical format. The CDC instructs individual email account holders to apply retention based on the email’s content value and its applicability to a NARA-approved records schedule.”

According to AFL, these actions are “patently inconsistent with the law.”

“[I]f the federal government wants to unlawfully assert that anytime a government employee leaves an agency their records are no longer considered records of the United States, then the same assumption would apply to former Presidents of the United States,” AFL said in a press release.

Furthermore, if a former federal employee’s information is not considered records of the United States, then “Special Counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution of President Trump over Presidential records would be voided null as the records in question would effectively no longer be considered records of the United States upon the end of the Trump presidency.”

“It cannot be that a career bureaucrat at the CDC, or any government agency, has more say than a former President — and yet, under the Biden Administration, this appears to be the case,” AFL asserted.