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Agencies Asked to Preserve Electronic Info

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By Daniel Pulliam June 15, 2007

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Eighteen agencies have been asked by the Office of Special Counsel to preserve electronic information dating back to January 2001 as part of its governmentwide investigation into alleged violations of the law that limits political activity in federal agencies.

The OSC task force investigating the claims has asked agencies, including the General Services Administration, to preserve all e-mail records, calendar information, phone logs and hard drives going back to the beginning of the Bush administration. The task force is headed by deputy OSC special counsel James Byrne.

OSC recently ruled that GSA Administrator Lurita Doan violated the Hatch Act when she attended a Jan. 26 meeting at the agency's headquarters. At that meeting, attended by Doan and more than 30 political appointees, Scott Jennings, a deputy to Karl Rove, the leading political strategist at the White House, presented a PowerPoint presentation that listed Republican and Democratic political races viewed by the White House as most vulnerable in 2008. Doan asked Jennings how GSA could help Republicans, according to the OSC.

The White House revealed a month ago that about 20 other similar briefings were held in federal agencies in 2006 and 2007. Officials at OSC last month formed a task force to investigate if these other presentations may have violated the Hatch Act. The investigation is in the preliminary stages.

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