A number of readers have pointed out that Karl Rove's deputy at the White House, Scott Jennings, used an outside domain, gwb43.com, for his emails
. The domain, it turns out, is owned by the Republican National Committee.
Now Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has sent a letter
to House government reform committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) requesting an investigation of whether the White House has been violating the Presidential Records Act -- in an attempt to keep certain correspondence away from prying eyes.
Jennings use of the RNC's email "raises serious questions about whether the White House was trying to deliberately evade its responsibilities under the PRA, which directs the president to take all necessary steps to maintain presidential records to provide a full accounting of all activities during his tenure," says CREW.
And there's evidence that Jennings' use of an outside domain was a pattern in Rove's office. CREW points out that Karl Rove's former assistant Susan Ralston also frequently used outside domains to communicate to her old boss, Jack Abramoff. The Washington Post reported
yesterday that House Democrats are also planning on investigating the White House's use of outside domains for correspondence. Namely:
Democratic congressional aides said they will investigate whether using the private address for government business violated laws against using taxpayer resources for political work or signaled that White House officials considered the firing of U.S. attorneys to be primarily a political issue. Jennings did not return a call to his office seeking a comment.
An RNC spokeswoman told the Post
that "As a matter of course, the RNC provides server space and equipment to certain White House personnel in order to assist them with their political efforts."
But the question here is whether there is any line between "political efforts" and official duties in the Bush White House.