In a new letter to the Republican National Committee, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman writes that the RNC has provided only minimal information regarding White House officials’ use of RNC e-mail accounts. The purpose of Waxman’s inquiry was in part to determine the extent that White House staff used “non-governmental e-mail accounts to conduct official government business.”
In the new letter, Waxman reveals that the RNC’s response thus far has been to propose that any Congressional requests for emails be filtered through “eight search terms, such as ‘political briefing,’ ‘Hatch Act,’ and ’2008.’” Waxman notes that these proposed search terms would not have produced the RNC email that transmitted a copy of Karl Rove’s Powerpoint slides that were presented at a General Services Administration meeting. That e-mail read: “Please do not email this out or let people see it. It is a close hold and we’re not supposed to be emailing it around.”
Waxman says that before Congress can agree to the RNC’s proposed “search terms,” the RNC must provide basic information about the extent their email accounts have been used to transact government business:
[T]he Committee needs basic facts about the scope and nature of the e-mails preserved on RNC servers. The Committee staff reasonably requested a meeting tomorrow to discuss these issues, but this request was unreasonably rejected. In fact, the RNC counsel stated that no meeting would occur until the Committee agreed to limiting search terms. This is not an acceptable proposal.
For the reasons outlined above, the Committee requests the following information by noon on Friday, April 20, 2007:
1. The identity of all White House officials who have held RNC e-mail accounts;
2. The total number of e-mails sent by each White House official through an RNC email account during each calendar year;
3. The total number of e-mails received by each White House official through an RNC e-mail account during each calendar year;
4. The total number of e-mails sent by each White House official through an RNC email account to a “.gov” e-mail account during each calendar year; and
5. The total number of e-mails received by each White House official through an RNC e-mail account from a “.gov” e-mail account during each calendar year.
See the full letter here.