"gwb43.com" Hits LA Times: Always Read the Jump Page
Warmed by the increasing heat from below, the sluggish national media begins to take notice of the campaign to run the country of the Republican Party, by the Republican Party, for the Republican Party, that it might not perish from the earth (the rest of us of course can submit or go to hell). Via LA Times:
When Karl Rove and his top deputies arrived at the White House in 2001, the Republican National Committee provided them with laptop computers and other communication devices to be used alongside their government-issued equipment.
The back-channel e-mail and paging system, paid for and maintained by the RNC, was designed to avoid charges that had vexed the Clinton White House — that federal resources were being used inappropriately for political campaign purposes.
Now, that dual computer system is creating new embarrassment and legal headaches for the White House, the Republican Party and Rove's once-vaunted White House operation.
Democrats say evidence suggests the RNC e-mail system was used for political and government policy matters in violation of federal record preservation and disclosure rules.
In addition, Democrats point to a handful of e-mails obtained through ongoing inquiries suggesting the system may have been used to conceal such activities as contacts with lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was convicted on bribery charges and is now in prison for fraud.
While this is a good lead, I point out again that it is always important to read the back pages of stories like this (known as the "jump" page from back in the days of dead tree publications.) There you find little tidbits like this:
Waxman told RNC Chairman Mike Duncan in a letter that such exchanges "indicated that in some instances White House officials were using nongovernment accounts specifically to avoid creating a record of communications" that could be reviewed by congressional committees or released under the Presidential Records Act.
Lawyers for the committees say that use of campaign-connected e-mail addresses may make it easier to gather information because it would be harder for the White House to make a broad claim of executive privilege. Lawyers for congressional Democrats have anticipated that the White House will invoke executive privilege in an effort to block requests for information about its role in the firing of U.S. attorneys, Abramoff and other matters.
In the U.S. attorney case, Rove deputy Jennings used the RNC e-mail system to write to D. Kyle Sampson, then Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales' chief of staff, in August 2006 about replacing Arkansas U.S. Atty. H.E. "Bud" Cummins III with former Rove protege Tim Griffin.
"We're a go for the U.S. atty plan. WH leg, political and communications have signed off and acknowledged that we have to be committed to following through once the pressure comes," Jennings wrote in an e-mail from the gwb43.com domain name. Sampson noted in a related e-mail that "getting him appointed was important to" Rove, then-White House Counsel Harriet E. Miers and other officials.
The gwb43.com account, and others like it, have been traced to the Republican National Committee computer servers, Waxman's staff said.
Why yes, yes it has! How nice of them to notice.