Colleen Shogan, nominee to be archivist of the United States, testifies during her confirmation hearing on Feb. 28.

Colleen Shogan, nominee to be archivist of the United States, testifies during her confirmation hearing on Feb. 28. Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Biden’s Nominee to Be Archivist Goes to the Full Senate

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee advanced the nominee on Wednesday after a Republican senator called for the vote to be postponed.

The full Senate is finally going to get to vote on President Biden’s nominee to be archivist. 

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted 8-4 (among those present) on Wednesday to advance Colleen Shogan’s nomination to be archivist of the United States. She was most recently a senior vice president and director at the White House Historical Association and previously worked at the Library of Congress and Congressional Research Service. She was also a professor at George Mason University, and wrote a series of mystery novels. 

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., called for the vote to be postponed following allegations from a whistleblower, who is a former employee of Shogan. The whistleblower claimed that when Shogan was at the Congressional Research Service “she engaged in partisan conduct and abusive behavior allegedly, that she allegedly made unsolicited statements of support for political candidates in the workplace, [and] that she also attempted to organize signing events for her book on federal property during work hours for commercial gain,” the senator said. Also, the whistleblower alleged Shogan engaged in “abuse, retaliation, and persecution,” said Hawley, who sent a letter to the Congressional Research Service about the situation on Tuesday.  

“Shogan categorically denied the accusations described by Hawley in a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee dated March 10,” The Hill reported on Wednesday. “The nominee noted she received multiple promotions during her 12-year career at the Library of Congress, earned ‘outstanding performance ratings and awards’ and didn’t face a single reprimand, sanction or warning.” This came after Hawley and other Republicans criticized and scrutinized Shogan for her tweets, leading to her failure to advance out of committee the first time. 

Government Executive asked Shogan via LinkedIn message for additional comment on the situation, but she did not immediately respond. The Library of Congress, which houses the Congressional Research Service, said it doesn’t comment on personnel matters, when asked about the letter and allegations. 

During her confirmation hearing last month, Shogun testified that her priorities would include reducing the backlog of over 300,000 veterans’ records requests and looking for opportunities to declassify older records. In the fall, the Society of American Archivists, Council of State Archivists, American Historical Association and EveryLibrary (a political action committee for libraries) all urged her confirmation. 

The National Archives and Records Administration, which the archivist oversees, has been in the spotlight recently following the FBI’s search of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort over the summer after he failed to turn over classified documents; the appointment of special counsels for both Trump and Biden (after it was revealed classified documents were found in his home and former office); and classified documents found at former Vice President Mike Pence’s home in Indiana. Also, the archives asked representatives for former presidents and vice presidents from the last six presidential administrations to re-check their personal records for ones that should have been turned over.