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All Opinions Are Local
Posted at 09:13 AM ET, 12/08/2011

Gmail accounts and burners for D.C.


No matter how much you love that new Gmail interface or the gas station-bought disposable cell phone, they have no place in Mayor Vince Gray’s administration. Or so he claims.

That was the message that he sent Wednesday after being confronted at a press conference about revelations that D.C. CFO Natwar Gandhi has used a private e-mail account to conduct some official business. (Gray did note that the CFO’s office is independent, so there’s little he could do to stop them from taking their work emails to Gmail, Yahoo! or Hotmail.)

Regardless, as The Post’s Mike DeBonis writes, other city officials have used non-official e-mail accounts to conduct their business in the past, including Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1).

The City Paper also dug up some e-mails that show that both Gray and Adrian Fenty used their personal accounts now and then. And if you’ve ever gotten D.C. Council Chair Kwame Brown’s weekly e-newsletter, you might notice that any responses to it would go to a Gmail account. (They’re all in good company — remember when Karl Rove and Co. got busted using private email accounts?)

But in an ever more thrilling turn, longtime good-government activist Dorothy Brizill told Gray that staffers in his administration went so far as to use burners to talk without fear of press scrutiny. (If you’re unaware of what burners are, you really need to watch “The Wire.” Okay, fine: They’re simply disposable cell phones.) Gray seemed surprised by the claim and asked her to name names; she chose not to.

According to a tweet from WUSA9’s Bruce Johnson, D.C. Attorney General Irv Nathan told him that, while the use of private emails and phones isn’t necessarily illegal, a clear policy tamping down on it needs to be spelled out.

Martin Austermuhle blogs at DCist . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By  |  09:13 AM ET, 12/08/2011

 
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