Oversight

 • HOUSE OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE (04/16/08) — Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) and Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) introduced a bill to update the Presidential Records Act and the Federal Records Act to ensure that “crucial records are preserved for historians,” according to a news release.

“Too often over the past several years, our investigations have revealed weaknesses in government preservation of e-mail that could leave substantial gaps as future historians examine White House and agency decision-making,” said Waxman, the chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

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The bill directs the Archivist of the United States to establish standards for the capture, management, retrieval and preservations of White House e-mails and other electronic communications, according to the release.

• HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE (04/14/08) — Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) wrote FBI Director Robert Mueller requesting information regarding the bureau’s investigation relating to the 1972 murder of Brent Miller, a security guard at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.

Conyers said that he visited two inmates last month who have served 36 years in solitary confinement for the murder. Conyers wrote Mueller that he was “deeply troubled by what evidence suggests was a tragic miscarriage of justice with regard to these men.”

“There is significant evidence that suggests not only their innocence, but also troubling misconduct by prison officials,” Conyers wrote. The two men accused of the murder are Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox.

• SENATE HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS COMMITTEE (04/11/08) — Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), House Homeland Security panel Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and the ranking members from both committees wrote Homeland Security Department Secretary Michael Chertoff to express their “strong concerns” about how a grant program was being administered.

The 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, which the members authored, allows the Homeland Security grant program to use up to 50 percent of the funding they receive for personnel expenditures and for paying salaries of individuals engaged in counterterrorism activities.

“Unfortunately,” the members wrote, guidance issued by the department “places limits on the uses of grant funds for these activities in direct contravention of the statute.”

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