Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) put the question to Attorney General Michael Mukasey: TPMmuckraker was knocked off the Justice Department’s email distribution list and has been told that they can’t be put back on; has there been a change in the Justice Department’s policy since he became attorney general?
The “short answer,” Mukasey replied, is “I’m not aware with how the distribution of press releases is arrived at. I do know that all the press releases should be on our website. So they should be generally available.” Translation: we can go fly a kite.
Johnson followed up, asking if Muksaey was the one who’d made the decision. No, he said. He hadn’t been aware of the issue until “it was called to my attention in a letter from the chairman.” But, of course, he came prepared with his talking point.
A quibble: all emails sent via the Department’s Office of Public Affairs are not available on the Department’s website. There are a number of documents, such as the attorney general’s prepared written testimony for hearings or transcripts of background briefings, which are only provided via email.
Since we were told that “[the Department’s Office of Public Affairs] simply [is] not able to put everyone on the list,” we haven’t been able to get any further explanation, even after Chairman Conyers’ letter asking about the issue. If the Department wants to explain on their website, that would be fine too. But a response of some kind would be appreciated.
Update: Well, I guess it was just a matter of time before this rose to the level of a “-gate.” And The Politico is first with Muckrackergate.