Thursday, June 21, 2007

The 21st Century Equivalent Of Erasing The Tapes?

A good outcome from the demise of the Nixon administration was the Presidential Records Act, a law designed to preserve and make public the communications of a President and (to this date)his staff. The law clearly specifies what must be preserved, how it must be preserved and when and how the records are to be released to the public.

Reminiscent of the erased Watergate tapes, key members of the Bush administration appear to have attempted to skirt this law by establishing e-mail accounts through the Republican National Committee and then conveniently deleting them.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee reported on Monday that 88 administration staff members established e-mail accounts through the RNC, which the White House claims was to keep political and governmental work separate. They found, however, that not only did the account holders use their RNC accounts to discuss government business, but that 51 of the 88 individuals had missing records!
Chief among them was Presidential Advisor, Karl Rove.

Is there something rotten along the banks of the Potomac.

While the report does not assign intent to the missing e-mails, and the administration is claiming that no laws have been broken, several things stand out that seem to indicate it has:

* The committee found that then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales ordered presidential staff to preserve official e-mails from outside accounts.

* Presidential staff failed to do so.

* Alberto Gonzales and President Bush failed to enforce the policy.

Also of note, is that RNC e-mail records from these accounts have turned up in both the Jack Abramoff case, as well as in the investigations into the firing of 8 U.S. Attorneys.

Have members of the President's staff broken the law and violated the public trust?
It certainly appears so and they should be called to answer for it.

Write your Congressional Representative and ask for a full investigation.


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