House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is pressing the White House for information on who is using personal email accounts for official business after Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter said staffers use personal email “for our longstanding relationships.”
Noting that the White House admission follows a pattern of non-official e-mail use Oversight Committee investigations have found at the Department of Energy, the Department of Homeland Security, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and other federal agencies, Issa told Chief of Staff Jack Lew in a letter last week that the admission by Cutter raises concern that records as required by law are only being captured by official government email archiving systems.
The only way official-business emails on personal accounts would comply is if they were forwarded to an official account.
In addition to violating the Presidential Records Act and the Federal Records Act, Issa noted that the use of non-official email accounts would stymie Freedom of Information Act requests or litigation requests. Those engaging in the practice could also face criminal or civil penalties for the unlawful removal or destruction of federal records.
“The American people have a right to know that White House staff and federal officials are conducting the business of the government transparently and in accordance with record-keeping statutes,” Issa wrote.
The chairman requested a complete list of each White House official who has used a personal email account to send or receive email covered by the documents acts.
Requesting the documents no later than Aug. 17, Issa added that the committee “prefers, if possible, to receive all documents in electronic format.”