On Rove and the Missing RNC E-Mails

In April, 2007, Rep. Henry Waxman, Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, wrote this letter (pdf) to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales about the missing RNC e-mails.

[RNC Counsel Rob] Kelner's briefing raised particular concerns about Karl Rove, who according to press reports used his RNC account for 95% of his communications. According to Mr. Kelner, although the hold started in August 2004, the RNC does not have any e-mails prior to 2005 for Mr. Rove. Mr. Kelner did not give any explanation for the e-mails missing from Mr. Rove's account, but he did acknowledge that one possible explanation is that Mr. Rove personally deleted his e-mails from the RNC server.

Mr. Kelner also explained that starting in 2005, the RNC began to treat Mr. Rove's emails in a special fashion. At some point in 2005, the RNC commenced an automatic archive policy for Mr. Rove, but not for any other White House officials. According to Mr. Kelner, this archive policy removed Mr. Rove's ability to personally delete his e-mails from the RNC server.

Mr. Kelner did not provide many details about why this special policy was adopted for Mr. Rove. But he did indicate that one factor was the presence of investigative or discovery requests or other legal concerns. It was unclear from Mr. Kelner's briefing whether the special archiving policy for Mr. Rove was consistently in effect after 2005.

The Committee's investigation page is here (pdf). Susan Ralston's 2007 deposition is here.

Jason at Truthout writes today about the RNC's claim for executive privilege. Also see Scribe's diary from April about possible implications for Rove.


Alberto Gonzales figures in here as well. From the Committee's page on the investigation:
There is evidence that the Office of White House Counsel under Alberto Gonzales may have known that White House officials were using RNC e-mail accounts for official business, but took no action to preserve these presidential records. In her deposition, Ms. Ralston testified that she searched Mr. Roveís RNC e-mail account in response to an Enron-related investigation in 2001 and the investigation of Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald later in the Administration. According to Ms. Ralston, the White House Counselís office knew about these e-mails because ďall of the documents we collected were then turned over to the White House Counselís office.Ē There is no evidence, however, that White House Counsel Gonzales initiated any action to ensure the preservation of the e-mail records that were destroyed by the RNC.
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    What I don't understand is. . . (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Jon Erik Kingstad on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 08:31:41 PM EST
    why nobody is investigating Rove and the rest of these White House officials for engaging in politics while on duty? If Rove is using his "RNC account" for 95% of his communications and his office is in a federal building, isn't that proof of a violation of law right there? Like 5 USC § 7324:

    "Political activities on duty; prohibition

    (a) An employee may not engage in political activity--
    (1) while the employee is on duty;
    (2) in any room or building occupied in the discharge of official duties by an individual employed or holding office in the Government of the United States or any agency or instrumentality thereof;
    (3) while wearing a uniform or official insignia identifying the office or position of the employee; or
    (4) using any vehicle owned or leased by the Government of the United States or any agency or instrumentality thereof."

    There are ample laws like the Hatch Act which make it a crime for Federal officials to engage in politics on the job. It sounds like there is evidence of it here. What am I missing?

    Jason Leopold's (none / 0) (#1)
    by taylormattd on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 04:21:16 PM EST
    article is a very interesting and detailed description of the latest goings on with respect to the RNC subpoenas. Do you think his reporting on this issue is, for lack of a better term, trustworthy? I guess it is all fairly straight-forward . . .

    Yes, I think its trustworthy (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 06:20:52 PM EST
    I don't want this thread to turn into a discussion about him instead of the topic, but I'm answering your question. I have no doubts. Also, his interviews of the fired U.S. Attorneys in Truthout have been excellent.

    Leopold is discredited IMHO (1.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Atheinostic on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 06:35:30 PM EST
    After the "Rove indictment" fabrication from last year, I don't see how anyone can possibly take anything Jason Leopold says seriously.

    Time to produce your "proof" (none / 0) (#4)
    by Edger on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 06:44:08 PM EST
    of fabrication. Otherwise I fail to see how anyone can take anything you say seriously. Especially if you've been withholding evidence.

    Leopold (1.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Atheinostic on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 06:57:54 PM EST
    Leopold reported Rove had been indicted, but it hadn't been announced yet.  Karl Rove wasn't indicted.  Jason Leopold said he would out his source if he was being mislead or lied to.  AFAIK that has still not happened.

    In my book, that is a pretty good reason not to trust anything that comes out of his mouth.


    End of Jason Discussion (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 07:18:15 PM EST
    Comments should relate to the topic of the thread. Additional comments about Jason will be deleted as hijacking.