February 19th, 2009
04:54 PM ET
6 years ago

Republican wants White House e-mail plan

A California Republican in the House has asked the White House to detail its practices for preserving official emails.
A California Republican in the House has asked the White House to detail its practices for preserving official emails.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A California Republican congressman has called on President Obama to put in place a system that ensures all White House emails be preserved even if official business was done through private e- mail accounts.

Rep. Darrell Issa, the senior Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, made the request in a February 18 letter to White House Counsel Greg Craig.

Issa specifically mentioned the new administration’s brief use of Gmail accounts after Obama was sworn in last month, as they waited for the official White House e-mail accounts to become active.

Click here to read Issa's letter

“As you know, any e-mail sent or received by White House officials may be subject to retention under the Presidential Records Act (PRA),” Issa wrote Craig in the letter.

“The use of personal e-mail accounts, such as Gmail to conduct official business raises the prospect that presidential records will not be captured by the White House e-mail archiving system. Consequently Gmail users on the President’s staff run the risk of incorrectly classifying their e-mails as non-records under the [Presidential Records] Act.”

A White House spokesman told CNN Thursday that all staff were told to forward any official correspondence to their White House e-mail accounts, and added that private e-mail accounts are no longer being used.


“In order to ensure that they were accessible in the first hours and days of the administration, some staff members created email accounts from which to conduct official business before their government accounts were operational,” a spokesman for the White House said in an email to CNN.

“Those staff members were instructed to forward any presidential records that they established during that time period, including emails, to their government email accounts to ensure that they would be in compliance with the Presidential Records Act. Those temporary accounts are no longer being used.”

Issa also asked that the White House respond to a series of questions about the administration’s email archiving by March 4.

E-mail use by the new administration’s staff has been twice disrupted by problems with White House servers in the past month.

Related: White House press office hit by e-mail outage

President Obama also uses e-mail to communicate with a small circle of his senior staff and close friends. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has said that the President’s e-mails are subject to preservation under the Presidential Records Act, but the law has an exception for personal communications.


Filed under: Popular Posts • White House
soundoff (208 Responses)
  1. Fay

    These Republicans is something else. Why now? I wonder... SMH

    February 19, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  2. P J Evans

    Will Issa sign on to retrieving, as the courts have ordered, all the e-mails that the previous bunch 'lost'? Will he sign on to prosecuting the previous bunch for violating the Presidential Records Act, which *already* requires preserving all of the e-mails?
    If not, he's just whining, again.

    February 19, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  3. patrick

    Luckily we have such great and free access to Bush's and Cheney's emails....such a transparent and above-board administration, warms my heart.

    February 19, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  4. Mei

    Tell those republicans to go to hell.

    February 19, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  5. TWM

    So where was this stupid GOP SOB when Dubya, Uncle DIck and their minions were not archiving,saving or making any attempt to comply with the laws on the books?

    February 19, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. Jake

    Great Idea. Don't get upset because a Republican suggested it, be an American who wants to hold his government accountable.

    When you get to right or left on an issue like this you just look stupid.

    February 19, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  7. Darrell, Darrell & Larry

    Maybe you can get Cheney to release his. "Issa" no go! PRA really means "Put Republicans Away". Get a life bozo!

    February 19, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  8. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    and where are Bush's emails?

    February 19, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  9. RB, Sonoma County, CA

    After presiding over one of the worst financial collapses in American history, an endless, unnecessary war that has cost 4,500 American lives, a dangerous erosion of civil liberties, an era in which the United States instituted torture as a viable weapon of war, and very likely the worst Presidential administration in our history, and this is all the Republicans can come up with? They're griping about emails??? My God, they are indeed a bunch of ignorant idiots.

    February 19, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  10. Unicronious

    Republicans ran the country for 8 years with no accountability and spent like drunken sailors. Now, they keep huffing and puffing about how they are fiscal conservatives and they want to go through Obama's records with a fine tooth comb. If hypocrisy were fatal, Congress would be an elephant graveyard...

    February 19, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  11. McWhine

    When is this guy while GW Bush, Cheney, an dKarl Rove were in the White House? Just another Grand Old Phony at his best.

    February 19, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  12. Ha

    After 8yrs... now you care Issa?

    /fail at being human.

    February 19, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  13. jAYjAY

    Hypocricy is a rampant core value in the Republican party

    February 19, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  14. Smarter than That

    Who cares what the republicans want.

    February 19, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  15. McWhine

    When is this guy while Bush, Cheney, and Karl Rove were in the White House?? Just another Grand Old Phony at his best.

    February 19, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  16. Paul Smith

    It's humorous now that the Republicans are a minority that they demand oversight. Where was the concern when President Bush was in office? Republicans are sooo funny!!

    February 19, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  17. T Bailey

    Wow. Millions of Bush emails went missing intentionally, and Issa didn't say *&%$@ about it. What a turd.

    February 19, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  18. Once you vote Black

    Does Rep. Darrell Issa think that Obama is trying to hide something? Wow, and how about that clown Steele! He is getting hip hop and ghetto. Go PUMA Pac.

    February 19, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  19. GET REAL.

    Obama's reply: "Give up all the e-mails sent and received by Bush, Cheney, Rove, etc. and we'll think about it."

    February 19, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  20. Bill

    To the Republicans where was all this concern with information when President George W. Bush was in office.

    Please stop trying to change the subject and work with the President to get this country moving again. Quit voting "NO" on everything

    February 19, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  21. Diane

    This is ultimately the pot calling the kettle black – where are the e-mails that the Bush administration has lost? The Republicans make me want to throw up – talk about the ultimate hypocrisy!!!!! What more can they say/do to ensure the American people loath them come 2010?????? Pres. Obama campaigned on transparency and that is what he is doing. They can "stuff it" as Michael Steele so says.

    February 19, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  22. Texan

    Can our congress please deal with the bigger issues and stop being so petty!

    February 19, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  23. Larry Basner

    Where was this guy when Cheney declared that his email and other communications didn't fall under the Presidential Records Act ? Or when the Bush White House told us they had "Lost" a few million emails.
    I will be 50 years old this year I am still blown away by all of the two faced words that come out of the mouth of politicians!

    February 19, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  24. DC_Guy

    Funny how all of a sudden Presidential Records Act is important to Republicans! Where was Mr. Issa when last administration started using RNC owned (gwb43.com) email accounts?

    February 19, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  25. khif

    Why didn't they want this when bush was in office? With all those "misplaced emails"... pot meet kettle.

    However I'm more than certain that Obama will have NO problems giving them as much transparency as they can shake their out-dated GOP stick at.

    February 19, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
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