August 17th, 2009
06:28 PM ET
14 years ago

WH's use of e-mail in reform push triggers Republican query

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="A California Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Goverment Reform wants information about the White House's recent efforts to use e-mail to push health care reform."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A Republican congressman wants to know more about why the Obama administration set up a special e-mail address to collect information about fishy claims made by opponents of heath care reform - and why some people received e-mails from the White House without ever signing up for them.

Earlier this month, as it began to launch an aggressive counter-offensive against what it called "disinformation" about the the reform legislation, the White House sent out a mass e-mail - which it hoped would go viral - attempting to debunk "the lies and distortions" about health care. The administration also set up an e-mail address and asked the public to submit tips about any "fishy" claims about health care circulating in e-mails and on the Internet.

But both efforts quickly came under fire. The mass e-mail was received by individuals who said they never signed up to receive White House e-mail updates. The online tip box was criticized by Republicans who accused the administration of monitoring Americans. On Monday, the administration shut down the online tip box and has changed the procedures for signing up for official e-mail updates.

But California Rep. Darrell Issa - the Ranking Member on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform - wants more answers. Issa wrote to White House counsel Greg Craig on Monday looking for answers on why the White House set up the e-mail address and what it plans to do with the information it collected. He also asked if the data collected iS being archived in accordance with federal record-keeping laws.

Read: Issa's letter to Craig

Finally, Issa questioned if the White House confused its official e-mail distribution list with any political e-mail list, like the one for Organizing for America, Obama's post-campaign political operation.

A staff member for Rep. Issa said the Republican still wants the information mentioned in Monday's letter despite the changes in White House e-mail policy.

Issa isn't the only Republican to press the White House about its e-mail efforts: Texas Sen. John Cornyn wrote to the White House last week and suggested it was inappropriate for the Obama administration to ask for the public's help in keeping tabs on administration critics.

The White House did not respond to CNN's request for comment on Issa's request. Previously, the administration has denied that it was using the e-mail tip box to generate a list of Obama's critics.

Related: War of the health care YouTube videos

Filed under: Obama administration
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. HonestMistake

    Can you image what would have happened had a liberal Bush hater received an email from Carl Rove. They would have been calling for his resignation.

    August 17, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  2. GGG

    why won't they comment??? pretty obvious , when gibbs was asked about it he danced around and tried to turn it around. Liars!!!

    August 17, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  3. Xavier

    Aren't these the same Republicans that defended Bush listening in on private conversations between soldeirs and their spouces as part of the fight against terrorism? What a bunch of hypocrites.

    August 17, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  4. Peter

    ya right. Republicans tactics will never die. Now they are attacking every tool Obama uses.....
    Stop it, Enough!

    August 17, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  5. Paul

    The spreading of lies continues….Sad !

    August 17, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  6. Meg

    Republicans needs a truth squad everytime they open up their mouth. How sad sad they are really sad!

    August 17, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |

    I think invading other countries for "fun" is inappropriate. I feel the entire Bush Administration was inappropriate. I felt the Terry Schivao joke was inappropriate. I feel Sarah Palin is inappropriate and using her "brats" to further her career is inappropriate. I feel Sen. Ensign, the hooker dude from LA, and that jack-ass Mark Sanford are inappropriate. I feel the C street house is inappropriate. But hey what the hell. Repuklicans are so great at making crap up as they go. Just roll with it slime bags. Oh yeah, to the godda– old people, The republicans put that "death consultation/death squads in Medicare (socialized/gov. run medicine) in 2003 after the Terry Schivao joke. Oh yes-Chuck Grassley voted for it. Why don't you all drop dead.

    August 17, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  8. john

    why are they questioning what they will do with the information? Are they afraid of where the trail may lead.........

    August 17, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  9. J.C. - Independent & Insured

    I would feel honored to receive any email from the White House. When was the last time you receive anything from our White House? Our health care crisis is an emergency for the nation. Our Commander-in-chief has every right to email us about any emergency. Delete it if you don't like it. California Rep. Darrell Issa has a unique problem.

    August 17, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  10. Ted Tartaglia

    The Repub whiners are at full throttle. It seems they whine about anything and everything. These crybabies need to grow up and become part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

    Hey Repubs, you lost the election, get over it!

    August 17, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  11. Joe

    Hope all you liberals are happy now. We have a President getting into private peoples e mails. How much more invasion of privacy is this White House going to do?? You want a health plan that all information will be available to the government??? Big Brother cannot be far behind!!!!!!!!

    August 17, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  12. Denna

    If you are a critic of President Obama's just step up and say so. This man is trying to do his work and he's doing what he did during the election – he's doing an end run around the politicians and going to the people. I would not mind getting an email on the subjects of the day. Stop being such a bunch of whiny drama queens. Man, really, if President Obama scratches his head, the Republicans will spend 3 days questioning why he had to do that. Either get busy undoing what W did, or step off and let President Obama fix it.

    August 17, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |