Monday, June 18, 2007

The 140,216 emails gap

Worser than Watergate, Georgie:
House investigators have learned that the Bush administration’s use of Republican National Committee email accounts is far greater than previously disclosed — 140,216 emails sent or received by Karl Rove alone — and that the RNC has overseen “extensive destruction” of many of the emails, including all email records for 51 White House officials.

For the last several months, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has been “investigating whether White House officials violated the Presidential Records Act” by using email accounts maintained by the RNC and the Bush-Cheney ‘04 campaign for official White House communications. Today’s findings confirm that the accounts were used “for official purposes, such as communicating with federal agencies about federal appointments and policies.” The report adds:

Given the heavy reliance by White House officials on RNC e-mail accounts, the high rank of the White House officials involved, and the large quantity of missing e-mails, the potential violation of the Presidential Records Act may be extensive.

So. What are we going to do about this? Anyone?

Update: TAH DAH!! Waxman's on the job:

Of the 88 officials using RNC accounts, the RNC has deleted records for 51 users. Still, the committee found heavy use of the account by some high-ranking officials. For instance, the RNC tracked down 140,000 messages sent to or received by Karl Rove. Half of those were addressed to or from an official ".gov" address. The White House Director of Political Affairs Sara Taylor sent 66,018 emails and Deputy Director of Political Affairs Scott Jennings sent 35,198 emails, according to RNC records.

Waxman's committee is investigating whether RNC email addresses were used for official work to avoid a record required by official email addresses and to what extent those acts violate the Presidential Records Act. Democrats were tipped off to the use of the off the record email system from emails revealed during the Jack Abramoff and U.S. Attorney firings investigations. Waxman has asked 25 federal agencies to scour their records for email that has been lost by the White House and the RNC.

Investigators now plan to pursue Alberto Gonzales' actions while White House counsel. The early report shows Gonzales likely knew Rove was using RNC accounts for official work, but that Gonzales did not intervene to keep records of those messages.

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