CREW Asks White House to Explain Repeated Violations of the Presidential Records Act
Washington, D.C. – Today Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sent a letter to the Director of the White House Office of Administration requesting a public explanation as to how the White House is complying with the Presidential Records Act (PRA).
Recently, emails have been released showing that top White House staff routinely have used Republican National Committee (RNC) email accounts rather than the White House account for official business. For example, in 2006 when D. Kyle Sampson, former chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, corresponded with White House Deputy Political Director J. Scott Jennings regarding the dismissals of eight U.S. Attorneys, Sampson wrote to Jennings at another RNC address, Sjennings@gwb43.com.
Similarly, back in 2003, Karl Rove’s then-assistant, Susan Ralston, asked now convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff to send emails to her at firstname.lastname@example.org and after an email was accidentally sent to her on her White House account, Abramoff wrote “Dammit. It was sent to Susan on her rnc pager and was not supposed to go into the WH system.”
The use of the RNC email accounts by White House staff – which has clearly been the practice for several years – violates the PRA, which requires the preservation of all records of the president, his immediate staff and units of the Executive Office of the President.
The Clinton administration had a strict policy prohibiting White House staff from using commercial email services to send or receive email.
Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director, said, “It appears that White House staff members routinely violated the law by using RNC email accounts for official business. The public deserves to know how the White House explains this end-run around the law.” Sloan continued, “Congress passed the PRA to make clear that White House records belong to the American people; this administration is prioritizing legacy over legality.”
CREW’s letter to the White House Office of Administration and supporting documents are 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 www.citizensforethics.org or contact David Merchant at 202.408.5565 or email@example.com