February 19th, 2009
04:54 PM ET
9 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. Obama Fan

    This Rethugs are pieces of work. Basically let a chimp run the country for 8 years- while the rest of the circus cared less what was happening.

    Now the circus leaves town and the real men come to town and they want all these rules and regs like they were so high and mighty and all about transparency while the circus chimp was in office.

    Give me a freakin' break.

    Where are all the emails of corruption from the last 8 years.

    Lets start with those incriminating emails- they will take at least 8 years to go through.

    After you get sone prosecuting every wrong doing found over the past 8 years- we will get started on this 8 years.

    But by then, the sun will have burned out and earth will be a big black whole in space!

    February 19, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  2. Bob Stephens

    How come the Republicans didn't say a word when the Bush people were using private email accounts to conduct business and deleting anything that might get them into trouble?

    February 19, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. Angie in Pa

    What About Bush/Cheney and their Emails Republicans are Grandstanding again!

    February 19, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  4. Change is coming!

    The rethuglicans are crazy.... where was he when Bush and Cheney violated our rights? boy or boy can his true intention be more transparent?

    February 19, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    Translation: They're already looking for avenues to try to impeach him if they're able to get enough seats in 2010 and/or 2012. They think 2010 will play out like 1994 in terms of congressional seats, but they don't realize how completely and utterly wrong they are.

    February 19, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  6. WildBill

    Actually, I'm shocked that the White House would use Gmail for official use considering it is against the law to transmit For Official Use Only (FOUO) information using public email accounts. Seems like the White House should be facing fines at the very least.....

    February 19, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  7. cheryl brooks from cali

    The Repubs have nothing better to do than annoy The President about his email. Someone was talking about the clothes he's wearing.... is he spending too much on clothes??? Shouldn't he look well dressed, he's got the top job in the country, also his helicopters and planes ect... Shouldn't he have the best... someone had mentioned that he's spending too much on transportation, this goes with the job.... The next thing you'll hear is... He has too many secret servicemen....

    February 19, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. Bankrupt in USA

    HYPOCRITES!!!! After Bush and Rove use RNC email accounts for official business, then they lie by claiming they can't turn the emails over for a congressional investigation because they were deleted (they are never really deleted), and now they are making demands on Obama. Another example of blaming Obama for the problems he inherited from Bush whose policies they supported 100%.

    February 19, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  9. natkat

    TARP= THE ANGRY REPUBLICAN PARTY... they just can't get over themselves of having an intellegent men in the White House as president. Can they?

    February 19, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  10. Jeema

    Having access to all Obama White House communication records is very important. With the administration spinning out of control, with a record number of scandals emerging, the records will be needed in the prosecution of Obama and his thugocracy.

    February 19, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  11. sensible Cape Coral FL

    Typical Republican – take credit for everything and blame for nothing.

    February 19, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. Commonwealth VA

    TBailey a big high-five to you. What a darned hypocrite.

    Hey Issa, tell you what, Sparky, maybe the administration will think think about doing that as soon as you find EACH AND EVERY ONE of the missing Bush/Cheney/Rove whatever e-mails and turn those over. How 'bout that?

    February 19, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  13. Shirley Brown

    This is an interesting request from a Republican – when the last president, (Bush) refused to hand over thousands of e-mails from his administration. I would think Pres. Obama could use the same excuse to keep his e-mail secret.

    February 19, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  14. Wynter

    First, hand over Bush, Cheney, Rove and the rest of those hacks emails you dipstick! Where were you when Bush didn't have his emails..

    Somehow I think he was out that decade. I have had ENOUGH of these so-called Conservatives trying to have it both ways.

    SO PUT UP OR SHUT UP!!!!!!!

    February 19, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  15. Patrick - Indianapolis

    If the democratic party has any honor they will abide by this. It only makes them look better if they do. Set the standard and raise the bar. It should have been done in the last administration but wasn't. Now is the time to show why the republicans lost.

    Its either that, or just tell them to take a hike. Either way is pretty amusing.

    February 19, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  16. rick

    yo yo yo mr issa... get your hip hop thing going. didn't you get the official memo.. republicans are going to run an "off the hook" agenda. go home mr issa, leave the governing to the adults. ie democrats.

    February 19, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  17. JL from Florida

    Holy Jeebus! Really? Is it just me or has the GOP gotten more whiny and bratty? Come on. Your guy of the last 8 years spearheaded the policy of keeping WH e-mails private and unattainable to public eyes, now the GOP is pretending to be the figure heads of openness and transparency?

    GOP: please, please stop. Calm down, chill out. You're not re-born just yet. take it one day at a time and soon you'll become a respectable party once again.

    February 19, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  18. barack obama is still just BO

    How can you possibly justify the excuse to not follow the Presidential Records Act by saying that "Bush didn't follow it!"

    waah waah!
    How old are you, 4?

    February 19, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  19. yuri

    The GOP seems to be skedadlin' helter skelter just to grab hold of some argueing' point, no matter how trivial. Latest target, Prez's
    e-mail. In all likelihood, it is very temptin' to suggest that theirs is a party like a rudderless ship, that has bamboo stick for an anchor.

    February 19, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  20. KMasters

    Wow...this could be on The Onion.

    February 19, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  21. Chad in Cincinnati

    Hypocrites... not a peep when 'official' business was being conducted via RNC servers outside the scope of PRA, at least according to Bush/Cheney and their ilk. Obama should give this guy what he wants but also release Cheney's 'energy task-force' records at the same time just to shove a stick in the eye of the two faced sleeze filling the Republican ranks presently.

    February 19, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  22. KJ, CA

    Petty – our elected officials have a laundry list of things to be worried about before this!

    February 19, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  23. Kyle

    I think some of your are being silly.
    The point is that everyone was a bit upset at Bush for the email policy, but Email became more widly used during the 8 years of Bush than before (even with Clinton).

    So I think with the techy Obama and his administration and BlackBerries it only makes sense to make sure we are still on the same page. Republicans did not raise a big stink about the Dems yelling about Bush and his email policies.

    I think its only fair that we all are treated equally.

    February 19, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  24. Carol

    Republicans-WHINERS! Get a life. PRESIDENT Obama and his administration will do the RIGHT/HONORABLE thing. Unlike you fools.

    February 19, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  25. Snake eyes


    Compliance with the PRA should be enough.

    February 19, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
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