February 19th, 2009
04:54 PM ET
5 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. rs nc

    Lets see.. whats the word I'm looking for... oh yeah – HYPOCRITE

    February 19, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  2. obama-mama

    What a bunch of sore losers. Obama should mace the whole lot of them.

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

    Yes and they should keep any napkins they scribble on as well...

    Please...now they care about preserving records...LOL!!!

    February 19, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  4. azpete

    So Rep. Darrell Issa wants an email retention plan from the Obama White House. Where was he when the Bush administration, and Cheney in particular, were 'losing' email? Being the senior Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, he must have had a voice and infliuence then, too. Imagine the interesting reading we would have now on so many topics. The real character (or lack thereof) of Bush's administration, especially Cheney and Rumsfeld, would come out. I think we would find that despite the 'Washington outsider' label, we would find lots of inappropriate dealings. The hypocisy and blatant partinsanship to the detriment of the country and our American principles would be obvious.

    February 19, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  5. Tank Engine

    Yes – this should be done from the Obama administration and all future administrations. And it should apply to the Bush administration as well.

    February 19, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  6. Grog in Ohio

    Once again Republicans want presidential restraint as long as a Democrat is in the White House. Do they really think the average American is too dim to see through these cynical maneuvers?

    February 19, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    Really? After the whole GOP supported Bush's use of the non-existant "executive privilege" argument in response to Congressional subpoenae? After Cheney shred everything but the Bush family cats? What a load of hypocr....oh wait, I jsut remembered who we're dealing with here.

    February 19, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  8. julia

    i would just be reinterating what khif, DC_Guy and Larry Basner, as well as Texan said. And wow, just wow.

    February 19, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  9. EJ

    Where were they when Bush/Cheney ran the White House?

    February 19, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  10. Joanna

    LOL these people are the poster children for hypocrisy! That is Obama's plan people, transparency. Can the GOP say the same? Nope! They are such a joke.

    February 19, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  11. I. A. Frank

    So where was Rep. Issa when Karl Rove and Dick Cheney erased millions of White House emails.? Shouldn't Rep. Issa be leading the call for an investigation of the destruction of evidence ... er ... I mean email by the Bush Administration?

    February 19, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  12. dustin

    wow, i bet this guy doesn't own a mirror, because how could he look himself in the eye after showing that level of hypocrisy.

    February 19, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  13. lib4

    Yeah Darrell we will get back toi you with that one once the Bush Admin "lost emails" are submitted to authorities....um – kay

    February 19, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  14. WhoCares?

    OMG.....

    The hypocracy of the Repugs has no bounds.

    Are they just all insane?

    February 19, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  15. Nick the Photographer

    ROFLMAO – After the secrecy and stonewalling of the previous administration over emails? Are you f'ing kidding me? You should be lucky to get a forwarded kitty pic from this new admin. A plan for email... the nerve of these Republicans.

    February 19, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  16. Elizar

    When it was Bush, it was for national security. Now the Republicans want record keeping!? LOL... what a farce. Obama will give it to them, because Obama isn't a lying Constitution burning maniac like the Bush Administration.

    February 19, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. Chris

    Interesting that a Republican feels this strongly about preserving email records over the course of a few days to a few weeks, considering there are millions of missing emails from W's administration. Maybe California's rampant smog affects short term memory...that or partisanship.

    February 19, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  18. SJ

    I find it amazing the new president has only been in office less than a month, clearly making attempts to help this country turn itself around and we have this republician congressman concerned about email sent thru GMail.. No wonder this country is in such a mess... same ole politics...just a differnt day.

    February 19, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  19. Spencer/Newport News, VA

    republicans always want something. Well what have they given us for the past years except an economic meltdown. If they want oversight, they need it for themselves.

    February 19, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  20. julia

    what a hypocrite!!! they are just stirring up trouble... the party of NO strikes again!!!!!!

    February 19, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  21. Audrey

    Hey Paul, We are demanding oversight because thats what Obama promised on the campaign trail. But he too has reneged on bringing honesty and intergrity to Washington.

    February 19, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  22. Faith Restored

    Thank you Paul Smith. This continuing repetitious pettiness on the part of the party that LOST THE DAMN ELECTION aka GOP is fast becoming tiresome at best.

    Don't even start the mantra of holding President Obama to higher "moral, ethical and presidential" standards (which he is doing of his own free will) if you were a repub who voted in and kept the high functioning moran in charge for the last 8 years named GWB. When you Whinicans can start owning up to the bullsh*t your party allowed to bring our country to the hot mess it has become and is now been left for others to clean up then you have room to talk. Until then...STFU and get out of the way of progress for, of and by the people.

    February 19, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  23. Jack from California

    Where in the blazes was Congressman Issa for the past 8 years? Congressman the entire republican party ran a secret non-government email service which included all Congressional Republicans and All Republican White House Administration people.

    If the good congressman wants something to do, why dosen't he go searching for the missing emails that were supposed to be accounted for these past eight years.

    Congressman Issa you don't have one ounce of sincerity in your proposal.

    February 19, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  24. Wes B.

    It sounds like the Obama administration was already on top of this. Imagine, the president and his administration following the law....it's an amazing thing.

    February 19, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  25. Tim

    Why bother bashing this guy about Bush/Cheney...lets just make sure we have all of our ducks in a row to avoid problems later...

    and we'll deal with Bush/Cheney regardless!

    February 19, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
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