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House to FCC's Ajit Pai: Your record-keeping may violate federal law

The House Energy and Commerce Committee wants to know how the FCC handles electronic records like emails, texts and social media posts.

FCC Ajit Pai

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is requesting information from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

Alex Wong / Getty Images

The FCC may be violating federal record-keeping laws, according to the head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

In a letter sent Thursday to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, the committee requested information about the agency's policies on retaining emails, texts, chat and instant messages and social media posts. The letter suggested that the FCC's policies aren't following federal law and asked Pai to respond by April 4.

The letter was signed by Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., a Democrat from New Jersey who chairs the committee, and by Rep. Mike Doyle, a Democrat from Pennsylvania who chairs the subcommittee on communications and technology. The Energy and Commerce Committee oversees the FCC.

"We are concerned that the FCC may not be managing its electronic records in accordance with federal law and guidance, potentially thwarting the public from an understanding of the FCC's decision-making process and how it conducts business," the letter said.  

The FCC didn't immediately respond to request for comment. Pallone and Doyle weren't immediately available for comment. 

The context for the letter going out now is unclear. However, the House has been kicking up its oversight efforts since Democrats took control of the chamber following November's midterm elections. And Democrats have been particularly unhappy with the FCC's decision to overturn net neutrality in 2017. This week, Democrats in the House introduced the Save the Internet Act to restore net neutrality.

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