The chairman of the House's oversight committee has asked the head of the Republican National Committee to produce e-mails stored on the committee's servers related to the use of federal resources for political purposes.
In a letter dated Wednesday, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., asked RNC Chairman Mike Duncan to provide all electronic messages sent or received by White House advisor Karl Rove, his deputy Scott Jennings or any other White House officials using RNC e-mail accounts.
At issue is a Jan. 26 meeting at the General Services Administration's headquarters, where Jennings gave a presentation that listed 20 Democratic members of Congress whom the White House is targeting for defeat in 2008 and a list of Republican members the White House considers most vulnerable. GSA chief Lurita Doan attended the meeting and was the subject of a hearing last week investigating allegations that the meting violated the Hatch Act, which bars government workers from engaging in political activity on the job.
Waxman wants the RNC e-mails because documents obtained by GSA show that Jennings and his assistant, when organizing the meeting, used a "gwb42.com" e-mail account, which is maintained by the RNC, rather than their official White House e-mail accounts. In the e-mails, they described the presentation as a "close hold" and said that "we're not supposed to be emailing it around."
Waxman requests all emails that relate to the Jan. 26 meeting, the presentation of any similar political briefings at other federal agencies, to other federal employees or the use of federal agencies or their resources to help Republican candidates.
Experts are divided on whether Doan violated the Hatch Act. Democrats on the committee say the evidence shows that Doan has violated the law, but the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service only would say that she could have violated the law. According to a White House spokesperson, "this is regular communication from the White House to political appointees throughout the administration."
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