Originally Posted by brokencycle
I am not a lawyer, so I certainly have to defer to you. So the below is just my understanding/opinion.
I agree that there is no uniform code of eDiscovery or regular discovery rules. As you point out, I wasn't particularly accurate or eloquent in my post. I'm just saying that if a corporation was accused of doing something similar to what the federal government did, there would be litigation and they would be required turn over internal email (as you know). When the accusations came out, the organization would have started some sort of legal hold procedure to prevent any disposing of documents, and many companies sell software that helps companies manage that process and prevent the destruction of said documents.
In this case, the Congressional investigation is similar to a trial and you would think the executive branch should follow similar procedures. We could even assume that seeing it would be a federal case, they should follow the federal rules of civil procedure. What are the penalties for violating said procedures? I don't know - I would defer to you.
Furthermore, the federal government should, at least in my opinion, be required to be more open to the public (and as a result in this case, a Congressional investigation) than a corporation. I find it disturbing that the government can even simply "lose" or "accidentally" destroy electronic documents when they (should) be required to produce those to the public for FOIA requests any way.
Edit: Also, this may just be the media being retarded, but the below isn't even a valid reason. While there may be local copies of email stored on the computer, if they're using Exchange, there are server side emails. Just like I can access my email via phone, and internet browser. They would also archive those on the server side for this very reason.