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GOP may target Clinton Administration e-mails
Published: Tuesday April 24, 2007
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Republicans are warning Congressional Democrats – who are investigating the use of private, sometimes GOP-issued e-mail accounts by many Bush Administration staffers – that probes can go both ways, a Capitol Hill newspaper reports.

"As Democrats gear up for a broad investigation of Republican e-mail accounts, GOP staff warn that the issue could come back to haunt Democrats, as the minority is looking for ways to extend the issue into Democratic e-mails as well," Paul Singer and Rachel Van Dongen write for Roll Call.

The paper reports that "Brian McNicoll, a spokesman for Oversight and Government Reform Committee Republicans, warned that if Democrats want to broadly investigate the use of party e-mail accounts by administration officials, Republicans could extend this investigation back to the end of the Clinton administration as well."

"If you can go back through five years of e-mails, you can go back 10 years of e-mails,” McNicoll is quoted as saying. "The Clinton administration was doing this too — they were using e-mail accounts that were outside the presidential records system."

The spokesman added that such activity might be swept into the House Oversight and Government Reform investigation mounted by Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif).

Excerpts from article:


David Marin, the committee’s Republican staff director, said in an e-mail, “It’s our hope that none of the threatened subpoenas is actually issued come Wednesday, since they all deal with yesterday’s news, or matters in which the would-be targets are cooperating fully with Chairman Waxman, or both. Regardless, we’ll be ready to help set the record straight on Wednesday.”


Both House and Senate rules prohibit using office computers to send political e-mails, even if a personal e-mail address is used. But in relatively recent changes to guidelines, the House and Senate now both allow Members and staffers to purchase a “hand-held communications device” such as a BlackBerry with campaign funds, and use the device for both official and political business. The House ethics committee issued a July 26, 2006, “pink sheet” on the issue, while the Senate guidelines were changed on Feb. 14, 2002.

But in both chambers, there are restrictions on where and how political e-mails can be sent. The rules broadly prohibit using the device for any political activity, such as responding to campaign e-mails, while on House or Senate premises. They cannot solicit funds using their BlackBerrys while in the Capitol, even if using personal e-mail accounts. And both chambers’ rules strictly prohibit downloading information from official databases and using it for political purposes.