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. Accountability

    Is this all Issa and the Republicans have to do? You think maybe they could get on board and help Americans in trouble?

    February 19, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  2. Hypocricy Rules

    Mr. Issa: I think keeping White House e-mails is a good idea. However ,where was your voice during the last administration when our VP openly stated that his e-mails were not subject to this, when the administration admitted MILLIONS of e-mails went missing and Rove was using RNC account? Where will your voice be when the former administration is investigated for their many criminal acts. The hyprocricy and moral decline of the Republican party is why I, a born and raised California Republican departed ways with the party this year and voted for Obama. I can not believe you could send this letter with a straight face. You are a hypocrite and politically stupid. I hope you don't win re-election. You are an embaresment to my lovely state.

    February 19, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  3. Sawber

    Funny how many things were "bad" under Bush that now seem to be just fine for the Dems.

    Those of you calling the Republicans hypocrites, what does that make you when you now condone/ignore the use of unrecorded email?

    February 19, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  4. martin

    it seems like just because the republicans did something wrong, that the democrats should be able to do it wrong too.

    just like the spending bill. because republicans spent like nuts for the last 8 years, that its ok for the democrats to spend like nuts now.

    i thought obama said – change we can believe in – it ain't change if everyone just says that since the republicans did it, we should be able to do it too

    February 19, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  5. Chill out

    Issa is a big red shoe clown. What a jerk.

    February 19, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  6. Adam

    Long live the Grand Obstructionist Party!! Can they be anymore pathetic? They have nothing to offer. No plan. No vision. No way ahead. No way to fix the economic crisis. No way to fix the unemployment crisis. No way to fix the housing crisis. No way to fix anything yet they do seem to have plenty of time to attack. That is the one area they will always be champions of so expect more of it because they have nothing else to offer. Pathetic Repugnants.

    February 19, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  7. JerryD

    Duh. The Republican who supported Bush-Cheney's executive privilege, oh welled "lost" Bush White House emails and "we want Bipartisanship" but didn't yea vote the Stimulus now whining about emails!!
    Rep Issa , give America a break. Last month my company laid off 6,000 people. Oh, I betcha Arnold doesn't think the Stimulus is a "bridge to nowhere."
    .I cannot wait for Nov 2010. The people of California's CD-49 deserve better representation

    February 19, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. gl, Pittsburgh

    The Republicans are so out to get something on President Obama. This is so hypocricy.

    February 19, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  9. Pat Lee

    @Smarter than That

    Democracy operates on something called contingent consent. This means that democracy only works when the party in power agrees to not shut out the opposition. Poly Sci 101. So get a grip. If Obama knows what's good for him, he will start taking Republican ideas into account. Bottom line, unless you would like Obama to be president for life, like dear old Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, he should care what the Republicans want. It's the core of Democracy.

    February 19, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  10. meg

    The GOPS are clearly the Grand Old Phony Party. Phony Issa should ask Bush and Sarah Palin to produce all the missing emails. Shame on YOU, hypocrites!!!
    These GOPs are retugs!

    February 19, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  11. Florida Joe

    I think the good Congressman should tell us what the Bush White-House told him when he made this request of them..........OH, he didn't ask them? I am shocked........WHAT A JOKE this guy is

    February 19, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  12. Anna, Missouri

    Sorry Republicans, President Obama has already said that his blackberry emails will become part of the presidential records and has told everyone that has that email address to remember that when they email him.

    February 19, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  13. Bill

    While I feel it's a joke that Issa wants this oversight now that a Democrat is in the White House, I don't think Obama should have any problem going along with this. Unlike Bush, he's got nothing to hide. Besides, with or without the e-mails, I will bet that the Republicans will eventually try to make up nonsense to distract people from the fact that they have no new ideas to offer tthe American people.

    February 19, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. no to corporate politics

    I didn't like it when Bush/Cheney hid their email.
    I don't like it when Obama hides what he is doing.

    I am not a republican or democrat supporter – they both lie. I love these posts that say – well, uh Bush did it so uh, Obama can. Exactly my point – they are the same.

    Time for a third party to clean up this corruption – start now, locally!

    February 19, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. Q

    I think Obama is quickly becoming a hypcorite. No lobbyists, but he leaves a loophole so he can appoint anybody because of "national security?" hahaha...very funny. How about pulling us out of Iraq within how long of taking office? Hm, that hasn't happened. $178B for a stimulus? Somehow, that grew to almost 7 fold.

    You all somehow forgot that when Decmocrats won the majority of House & Senate during Bush's last 2 years, the voted "NO" on everything. The first 6 years were going just fine until Dems were majority. Seems to me everything fell apart on the Democratic watch.

    February 19, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  16. David, Ashland, Oregon

    Where was this Bozo Issa when the Bushies were "losing" their 10s of thousands of email messages? Guess it was not such a big deal when a Republican was in the White House. But now, with a Democrat, the Repubs have suddenly all gained a sense of morality and "Constitutional correctness"!

    Give me a break!!!!!

    February 19, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  17. Charlie in Maine

    Dear Republicans,

    It is great to hear that you are fiscally responsoble again, that you want over-sight on spending and open government again. How about balanced bugets like President Clinton left for yor guy?

    Since you all behave so much more responsibly when you are in the minority isn't it in the best interest of your party, and the country, to make sure you stay in the minority for long damn time?

    February 19, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  18. In Houston, TX

    What happened to all of the emails that disappeared from the Bush administration?
    It's the hypocrisy of our deocracy that I can't stand.
    The behaviour of the repuglicans makes me cry out for the prosecution of the Bush administration even louder.
    The GOP did nothing while Bush broke the world.
    They MUST learn that the American people will no longer tolerate these political games.
    They MUST know that WE are paying attention now.
    WE MUST HAVE JUSTICE!
    The United States was a reflection of all that is good in humanity. Now, We are just as bad as the lowest common denomenator in the world.

    February 19, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  19. gg

    republician home base should be on the comedy network

    February 19, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. John Monaghan

    You can tell there is a change in the white house with stories like this. Where was he during the last 8 years?

    February 19, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. C W

    Issa is a little late to the game. So here's the deal we'll offer you: First you turn over every single scrap of communication by the Bush Administration – including all communication by Cheney, Rove, Norquist, et al – and then we'll start to work on implementing the system Issa proposes.

    All the Republicans can think to do is pester the Obama Administration. They are devoid of ideas, let alone integrity. One thing they have an abundance of is hypocrisy and self-righteousness.

    GOP: God-awful Opportunistic P*tzes

    February 19, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  22. Proud American

    that's right...Obama's a very shady and coniving character; thus the push to keep is Blackberry so that all his under-the-table dealings will be seperate from the White House. He needs to practice what he preaches and be accountable.....

    February 19, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  23. Roger

    This is another example of CNN competing for the FOX audience. They are turning their network into a joke.

    February 19, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  24. T the B

    Where was this call for preservation of emails 6 years ago? This administration should completely ignore the request.

    February 19, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  25. Kevin

    Where was this nut loon when Bush and his gangsters were sending out all types of emails getting folk fired and killed?

    February 19, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
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