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The new must-have e-mail address

One of the more interesting items to come out of the Doan hearings this week is that apparently people in the White House have been using non-White House e-mails to do official business.

Curiously, one of the cache items in Washington is to have a who.eop.gov e-mail address. That, of course, refers to the White House's Executive Office of the President.

But during the hearing Wednesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee managed to get e-mails between GSA and White House officials, but the White House staffers were using non-White House e-mail addresses. In fact, they were using e-mails from gwb43.com, which stands for George W. Bush, who is the 43rd president.

According to records, gwb43.com is owned by the Republican National Committee.

Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has sent White House Counsel Fred Fielding a letter [.pdf] requesting information about the use of non-official e-mail addresses.

Earlier this week, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino was asked about the outside use of e-mails:

Q What's the White House view on the congressional Democrat calls for safeguarding political emails by the party or by anyone in the White House who may have a sort of political email account?

MS. PERINO: What I know -- I checked into this -- is that certain White House officials and staff members who have responsibilities that straddle both worlds, that have responsibilities in communication, regular interface with political organizations, do have a separate email account for those political communications. That is entirely appropriate, especially when you think of it in this case, that the practice is in place and followed precisely to avoid any inadvertent violations of what is called the Hatch Act. And so there are some members of the administration that do straddle both worlds. And so under an abundance of caution so that they don't violate the Hatch Act, they have these separate emails.

Q So is that traffic being safeguarded, if you will, for Congress to look at, if it decides?

MS. PERINO: With respect to presidential records, an email that is sent to or from a White House email address is automatically archived, even if the other person is not using a White House email account. I believe our -- well, I know that our White House Counsel's Office is in communication with the RNC's general counsel to make sure that those archivings have taken place.

Q So if someone sent aide X an email at one of these political accounts, are you saying that it would be archived on the --

MS. PERINO: As a general matter, I believe that to be true, but as I said, the White House -- our White House Counsel's Office is talking to the RNC just to make sure that that's the case. In some cases -- I don't know how far back that goes. I think that -- even though that there was email use in the '90s, I do think that our administration is the first, in a lot of cases, to be dealing with the volume of email that all of us deal with on a daily basis and that now you guys get to have fun with looking through.

US News reports that the White House has stopped using those outside e-mails.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Mar 30, 2007 at 12:16 PM


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