WASHINGTON, March 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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
A number of other emails from Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove's former
assistant Susan Ralston to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff document Ms.
Ralston's use of three outside domains: rnchq.com (used for the
headquarters of the Republican National Committee), georgebush.com and
aol.com. In many of these emails Ms. Ralston is communicating inside White
House information to Mr. Abramoff in response to Mr. Abramoff's efforts to
broker deals for his clients and place specified individuals in positions
within the administration.
CREW has learned that to fulfill its statutory obligations under the
PRA, the White House email system automatically copies all messages created
by staff and sends them to the White House Office of Records Management for
archiving. It appears that the White House deliberately bypassed the
automatic archiving function of its own email system that was designed to
ensure compliance with the PRA.
CREW currently is involved in several lawsuits challenging other
improper and illegal record keeping practices of the Bush administration.
In this matter, CREW cannot bring a lawsuit challenging the White House on
its compliance with the PRA because of a legal precedent that relies on
presidents to honor the mandatory record-keeping practices, with no
Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW, said today, "Now that we
know that at least two White House officials have circumvented the law by
using alternate email systems to discuss the U.S. Attorney firings and Jack
Abramoff, we are asking Chairman Waxman to investigate whether the White
House has continually violated its mandatory record-keeping obligation
under the Presidential Records Act. This administration continues to
disregard the law in favor of agenda-driven politics."
CREW's letter to Rep. Waxman is available at CREW's website.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-
profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials
accountable for their actions.
For more information, please visit http://www.citizensforethics.org or
contact Naomi Seligman Steiner at
SOURCE Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington