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Eschewing Email (and Accountability)

The White House has an email problem. Over the last week or so, we’ve learned that White House deputy political director J. Scott Jennings commu

The White House has an email problem. Over the last week or so, we’ve learned that White House deputy political director J. Scott Jennings communicated with Justice Department officials about the appointment of a controversial U.S. Attorney through a private email account registered to the RNC. When Karl Rove sends emails, 95% of the time, he avoids his White House account and uses an RNC account. The White House public affairs office reportedly does the same thing. The president has decided not to use email at all because, as he put it, he’s concerned about “different record requests that could happen to a president.”

Now, it’s apparently become standard practice in the West Wing.

[J]ust a week after E-mails in the U.S. attorneys case became a main focus of congressional Democrats probing the firings, several aides said that they stopped using the White House system except for purely professional correspondence.

First, there’s still the Presidential Records Act to consider. The PRA mandates thorough record-keeping, which Rove & Co. apparently hope to avoid. The law isn’t supposed to be optional.

Second, as Josh Marshall noted, these White House methods undermine "even the vaguest claim to shielding those communications behind executive privilege."

And third, as Laura Rozen explained, there are national security issues to consider.

What a tangled web they weave....

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