Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is facing a potential investigation over allegedly “skirting public record laws.”
A group of Republican lawmakers sent a letter. The letter came after a report from Axios exposed that Bowser’s office was reportedly using messaging apps which are not subject to Freedom Of Information Act requests.
“Committee on Oversight and Reform Republicans are concerned about District of Columbia government employees allegedly sending internal communications using cross-platform encrypted instant messaging services such as WhatsApp,” the lawmakers wrote. “Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. employees are reportedly using this software to circumvent the preservation of records and District of Columbia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. As such, we request the D.C. Office of the Inspector General conduct a review of these practices to learn what extent Mayor Bowser and D.C. employees are skirting public records laws.”
The lawmakers say using the apps suggests the mayor may have something to hide.
“Messages sent by city employees through private text messaging services like WhatsApp are not necessarily preserved and cannot be searched for to respond to corresponding FOIA requests and other legal demands,” the lawmakers wrote. “This is in direct violation of FOIA requirements. The lack of transparency regarding Mayor Bowser’s WhatsApp messages raises questions about why the Mayor is attempting to hide certain communications.”