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Watchdog group alleges Biden admin may have illegally deleted tweet on social security hike

"While personal records are exempt from the preservation requirements, the Nov. 1 tweet on the official White House account is almost certainly a record that belongs to the public and subject to the Act's destruction protocols."

November 4, 2022 2:35pm

Updated: November 4, 2022 3:18pm

Watchdog group Protect the Public's Trust has asked the National Archives and Records Administration for documents related to the White House's deletion of a Tweet celebrating a rise in Social Security benefits, alleging that the Tweet's subsequent deletion may have violated the Presidential Records Act.

"Accordingly, we are concerned that a recent decision by certain White House officials to delete a tweet issued on the official
@WhiteHouse Twitter feed may have run afoul of the Presidential Records Act," PPT wrote to NARA.

Earlier this week, the White House posted a celebration of a recent rise in Social Security benefits, saying seniors were "getting the biggest increase in their Social Security checks in 10 years through President Biden's leadership." In mid-October, the Social Security Administration announced an 8.7% raise in benefits to account for rising costs of living due to inflation. The hike was the largest increase in 40 years.

Twitter users were quick to ridicule the post, pointing out that the benefit hike was the product of inflation, which many asserted was due to policies of the same administration. Social Security benefit adjustments are automatically tied to the inflation rate. The White House promptly deleted the Tweet, which in turn raised questions about the legality of doing so.

"While personal records are exempt from the preservation requirements, the Nov. 1 tweet on the official White House account is almost certainly a record that belongs to the public and subject to the Act's destruction protocols," PPT wrote. "Subsequent explanations provided by White House officials raise concerns over whether the appropriate retention process was adhered to or whether authorization to destroy an official record was received prior to the Presidential record being permanently destroyed, as required by law."

The watchdog asked NARA to provide documents related to the deletion of the Tweet, to provide the written opinion of the archivist that permitted its deletion, or to justify why the deletion did not merit the traditional approval process.

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