Waxman Seeks RNC E-Mail on Use of Federal Resources

By R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 5, 2007

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) told the Republican National Committee yesterday to turn over copies of any electronic messages from White House officials that relate to the use of federal resources or agencies for partisan Republican purposes.

Waxman's broadly worded request came a week after he asked the RNC and the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign to retain copies of e-mails being sent by White House officials via Republican Party e-mail accounts, a practice that surfaced in the course of the Democrats' probe into the administration's decision to fire eight U.S. attorneys.

Several deputies to senior White House adviser Karl Rove used such e-mail accounts to discuss the firings, and Waxman said that made the messages official government documents subject to his committee's jurisdiction.

Waxman's letter said he is particularly seeking documents relevant to his investigation of possible misconduct at the General Services Administration, where one of Rove's deputies briefed several dozen senior political appointees in January about key congressional seats that the party hopes to win or retain in the 2008 elections.

After the presentation, GSA officials told congressional investigators, GSA Administrator Lurita A. Doan asked how the agency's resources could be used to help "our candidates" in the election. Doan has said she does not recall the episode, which is now being investigated by the Office of Special Counsel, an independent agency that enforces prohibitions on improper political conduct by government employees.

Waxman said Doan's statement had provoked his interest in learning more about how the political briefing was organized and whether it was given to other government officials.

He asked that the messages be turned over by April 18.

A spokeswoman for the RNC, Tracey Schmitt, said, "We have received the letter and will be in touch with the committee as appropriate."

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