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Waxman directs government agencies to preserve emails from RNC
Mike Sheehan
Published: Thursday April 12, 2007
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Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has issued a letter directing government agencies to retain communications sent as email by White House staffers who used non-governmental mail addresses, many of which were issued by the Republican National Committee.

"Following briefings from the White House and Republican National Committee that revealed an extensive volume of e-mails regarding official government business may have been destroyed by the RNC," a statement accompanying the letter, obtained by RAW STORY, says. "Chairman Waxman directs government agencies to preserve e-mails received from or sent to non-governmental e-mail accounts used by White House staffers."

The House committee is also asking the agencies to provide "an inventory of all e-mails involving these accounts."

The Waxman letter, which was sent to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and copied to the committee's ranking minority member, Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), was a reaction to a committee briefing whose revelations raised "serious concerns" about White House compliance with a federal act that requires the president to take all necessary measures to preserve official records and documentation.

"The Committee knows from its investigation that some federal agencies and departments received e-mails from White House officials using their RNC e-mail accounts," the Waxman letter continues. "The only existing record of these e-mails may reside on servers or backup devices within the control of federal entities. For this reason, the Committee requests that you preserve all e-mails received from White House officials who used ',' ',' ',' or other nongovernmental e-mail accounts. The Committee also asks you to preserve any e-mails sent to White House officials at anv of these accounts."

Waxman continues, "In addition, I request that you provide the Committee with an inventory of any e-mail communications in the agency's possession or control that meet the description in the preceding paragraph. This inventory should include the name and e-mail address of the sender, the name and e-mail address of the recipient, the date of the e-mail, and a brief description of the subject of the e-mail. This inventory should be provided to the Committee by May 3,2007."

Elsewhere, the organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) revealed that the Executive Office of the President (EOP) has lost millions of emails from the years 2003 through 2005, based on information received from confidential sources.

"The White House counsel's office was advised of these problems in 2005 and CREW has been told that the White House was given a plan of action to recover these emails, but to date nothing has been done to rectify this significant loss of records," states CREW at its website.

White House spokesperson Scott Stanzel acknowledged that some of the administration's lost emails "might have dealt with the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, as a Senate panel stepped up demands for more information on the removal of the prosecutors," reports Bloomberg News.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, as RAW STORY reported earlier, warned of further action in response to the news of the lost messages. "Those e-mails are there, they just don't want to produce them. We'll subpoena them if necessary."

A PDF file of Rep. Waxman's letter is viewable by clicking on the image below...