CREW: White House Violated Presidential Records Act
March 15, 2007
Washington, DC – In light of e-mails released by the House Judiciary Committee this week in response to the on-going U.S. Attorney firing scandal, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sent a letter today to Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), asking for an investigation into whether the White House has violated its mandatory record-keeping obligation under the Presidential Records Act (PRA).
One email, sent to Justice Department Chief of Staff D. Kyle Sampson from J. Scott Jennings, White House Deputy Political Director, uses an email account, SJennings@gwb43.com, on a server owned by the Republican National Committee. This raises serious questions about whether the White House was trying to deliberately evade its responsibilities under the PRA, which directs the president to take all necessary steps to maintain presidential records to provide a full accounting of all activities during his tenure.
At the Washington Post, Dan Froomkin noted that:
Similarly, in spite of the embarrassing revelations contained in the e-mails turned over by the Justice Department to the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, the general rule at the White House is that if it’s really sensitive, don’t put it in writing — certainly not in an e-mail.
That stuff gets archived.
The president himself, for instance, never uses e-mail at all.
And it now turns out that some of his aides sometimes avoid using their official White House e-mail accounts — the ones that get automatically archived.
As I wrote in yesterday’s column, Tuesday’s document dump — which initiated from the Justice Department, not the White House — includes e-mails from J. Scott Jennings, Karl Rove’s deputy at the White House, coming from an e-mail address at gwb43.com. That’s a domain owned by the Republican National Committee.