Friday, April 13, 2007


Privileged Notions

The U.S. attorney firing controversy may be the biggest political scandal in Western civilization as some liberal blogs think. On the other hand, it might be the biggest non-story since Don Imus was revealed to be the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby (or something like that).

Either way, this question of missing RNC e-mails certainly violates my personal smell test.

Now, being aware that certain issues are not supposed to be discussed in official White House e-mail, is not evidence of a cover-up: Political conversations, by law, shouldn't be made on "official" resources.

That said, this story gets "curiouser and curiouser" as Alice said:
Fielding also wrote that it "remains our intention to collect e-mails and documents" from the RNC and other outside accounts used by White House officials. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved, but did not issue, new subpoenas for the Justice Department yesterday.

Gonzales, meanwhile, has been preparing for a pivotal appearance on Tuesday before the committee, including mock testimony sessions lasting up to five hours a day, officials said.

E-mails from Rove and other White House officials potentially figure in a number of congressional investigations. Democrats are seeking the RNC e-mails as part of an effort to determine the extent of Rove's role in firing the U.S. attorneys and the alleged politicization at the General Services Administration.

The RNC yesterday turned over to the White House
a copy of e-mail records for administration officials still on the RNC server to determine whether any of them are privileged or whether they can be provided to congressional investigators. Officials indicated that they would include post-2005 e-mails from Rove. (Emphasis added).

GOP officials said they are also trying to determine whether they can recover other e-mail that may have been deleted through regular purges of e-mails or by deliberate deletion by White House staff. Waxman said the RNC indicated that it had destroyed all e-mail records from White House officials in 2001, 2002 and 2003.
Sorry, the WH can't have it both ways: Sure, Rove and others should use the RNC account for their "political" work. But, don't then assert some form of executive privelege that precludes that work (separate from "official" duties) from congressional oversight. The RNC -- like the DNC, or the two congressional and senatorial campaign committees -- is a private non-governmental entity. It is not an arm of the executive branch.

These sort of assertions -- plus the fact that many of these e-mails in question have gone a-missing -- just raise too many red flags.

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