August 3rd, 2012
05:51 PM ET
Washington (CNN) - House Republicans demanded on Friday that the Obama administration identify White House staffers’ personal e-mail addresses which may have been used to conduct government business, a request an Obama spokesman is calling “nakedly political.”
The request, from House Committee and Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, R-California, follows a congressional committee report earlier this week that found some senior White House officials had exchanged e-mails with lobbyists and other interested parties during the drafting of the health care law in 2010 using their personal email accounts.
Pursuant to the Presidential Records Act (PRA) and the Federal Records Act (FRA), such e-mails are required to either be exchanged on official White House accounts or be copied or forwarded to White House servers for historic preservation.
“The American people have a right to know that White House staff and federal officials are conducting the business of the government transparently and in accordance with record-keeping statutes,” Issa wrote in a letter to White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew.
Specifically, Issa is asking the White House to “produce a complete list of each White House official who has used a personal e-mail account to send or receive email covered by the PRA or FRA.” He is further asking the White House to identify and reproduce any personal e-mails that were not properly archived in White House servers.
White House spokesman Eric Schultz said that the White House Counsel is reviewing the letter but added, “[T]his is nothing more than a nakedly political, taxpayer-funded effort designed to serve partisan interests, over an issue which House Republicans have already conceded is not serious.”
In his letter, Issa expressed concern that staffers can easily bypass the record-keeping laws by simply using their personal accounts and choosing not to carbon copy their official email address or forward the e-mails to White House servers.
Democrats raised similar concerns in 2007 when it was revealed then-Bush aide Karl Rove had extensively used a Republican National Committee e-mail account and that several of Rove’s e-mails from that account had gone missing. At that time, Issa called a Democrat-led investigation into the matter “shameful.”
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