Congressional investigators probe why White House aides used GOP-sponsored e-mail accounts

Congressional investigators probe why White House aides used GOP-sponsored e-mail accounts
Jennifer Loven
Associated Press
April 11, 2007

WASHINGTON –The White House said Wednesday it had mishandled Republican Party-sponsored e-mail accounts used by nearly two dozen presidential aides, resulting in the loss of an undetermined number of e-mails concerning official White House business.

Congressional investigators looking into the administration’s firing of eight federal prosecutors already had the nongovernmental e-mail accounts in their sights because some White House aides used them to help plan the U.S. attorneys’ ouster. Democrats were questioning whether the use of the GOP-provided e-mail accounts was proof that the firings were political.

Democrats also have been asking if White House officials are purposely conducting sensitive official presidential business via nongovernmental accounts to get around a law requiring preservation — and eventual disclosure — of presidential records. The announcement of the lost e-mails — a rare admission of error from the Bush White House at a delicate time for the administration’s relations with Democratically controlled Capitol Hill — gave new fodder for inquiry on this front.

Continued here.

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One Response to Congressional investigators probe why White House aides used GOP-sponsored e-mail accounts

  1. Maarja Krusten says:

    I’ve noted previously that this at a minimum is a records awareness issue and that it would be interesting to see what guidance had been provided. This story is covered not only by the AP but also in separate articles in the Washington Post and the New York Times.

    Interesting to get a sense from some of the articles of the scope, e.g, out of 1,000 officials with political as well as official duties, some 22 reportedly have RNC accounts. According to the administration, the story in the NYT states that an internal WH inquiry has “concluded that its policy governing political e-mail accounts was unclear, that the White House was not aggressive enough in monitoring political e-mail and that some people who had the accounts did not follow the policy closely enough.”

    NYT article:
    Bush Advisers’ Approach on E-Mail Draws Fire,”

    Washington Post article,
    White House E-Mail Lost in Private Accounts,” at

    I’m interested also in the fact that the issue of email use and preservation caught my eye initially in 2004 but as far as I can tell, the records status of email in the WH didn’t seem to register in historians’ forums back then. Paul Bedard’s U.S. News & World Report story in 2004 stated in part, “’I don’t want my E-mail made public,’ said one insider. As a result, many aides have shifted to Internet E-mail instead of the White House system. ‘It’s Yahoo!, baby,’ says a Bushie.’”

    I just did a search of H-Net logs, no mention of this when Paul Bedard’s story first appeared in October 2004. Nor did any history blogger seem to pick up on this then. nHowever, the U.S. News & World Report story was mentioned in at least one archivists’ forums in 2004. I noted then in 2004 that I hoped the National Archives had contacted White House counsel (then Alberto Gonzalez) to urge better records awareness. Now, in 2007, this is a real headache for Fred Fielding and his staff at the WH.

    Submitted from home on personal time at 7:17 am Eastern time

    [Note: Ms. Krusten, I edited this comment to shorten your links — thank you for the additional information].

    “Bush Advisers’ Approach on E-Mail Draws Fire,”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/12/washington/12emails.html?ex=1177041600&en=0df0e591d596c5ff&ei=5070&emc=eta1

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