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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Battening the Hatches

“Alberto Gonzales, who is now what is known politically as a ‘dead man walking’, is still in a bit of a pickle. He is testifying in front of Congress soon, and apparently his practice testimonies haven’t been going well. He apparently can’t remember which version of the truth is needed when asked under pressure. That, and that Congress wants to take a peek at his records…”

“The House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena Tuesday to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, demanding that the Justice Department turn over hundreds of pages of new or uncensored records related to the firings last year of eight U.S. attorneys.

The subpoena is the first served in connection with the dismissals, and it escalates the legal confrontation between Democrats and the Bush administration, which has resisted demands for more documents and for public testimony from White House aides. It comes just a week before the embattled attorney general is scheduled to testify before the Senate, a hearing widely considered crucial to his attempt to keep his job.”
-Washington Post, April 12, 2007

“They want to look at uncensored documents? It will destroy the Executive branch! Luckily, purely by accident, a happy coincidence happened the other day.”

“A lawyer for the Republican National Committee told congressional staff members yesterday that the RNC is missing at least four years' worth of e-mail from White House senior adviser Karl Rove that is being sought as part of investigations into the Bush administration, according to the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.”
-Washington Post, April 13, 2006

“You may be wondering why White House staff members are using Republican National Committee e-mail. Maybe I should let the White House answer…”

“In an afternoon conference call with reporters, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel spread the blame all around. ‘White House policy did not give clear enough guidance,’ he said. ‘The oversight of that wasn't aggressive enough.’ And individual White House staffers ‘did not do a good enough job of following existing preservation policy -- or seeking guidance.’
Said Stanzel: ‘I guess the bottom line is that our policy at the White House was not clear enough for employees.’
But when I asked Stanzel to read out loud the White House e-mail policy, it seemed clear enough to me: "Federal law requires the preservation of electronic communications sent or received by White House staff," says the handbook that all staffers are given and expected to read and comply with.
‘As a result, personnel working on behalf of the EOP [Executive Office of the President] are expected to only use government-provided e-mail services for all official communication.’
The handbook further explains: ‘The official EOP e-mail system is designed to automatically comply with records management requirements.’"
-Dan Froomkin, Washingtonpost.com, April 12, 2007

“It just kind of slipped through the cracks. They meant well. Even geniuses like Karl Rove make mistakes sometimes.”

“Countless e-mails to and from many key White House staffers have been deleted -- lost to history and placed out of reach of congressional subpoenas -- due to a brazen violation of internal White House policy that was allowed to continue for more than six years, the White House acknowledged yesterday.

The leading culprit appears to be President Bush's enormously influential political adviser Karl Rove, who reportedly used his Republican National Committee-provided Blackberry and e-mail accounts for most of his electronic communication.”
-Dan Froomkin, Washingtonpost.com, April 12, 2007

“And they were just being too cautious.”

“Stanzel said that ‘some people’ may have used their non-government accounts for official business due to ‘an abundance of caution’ in order to avoid violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits the use of government e-mail for overtly political purposes, such as fundraising -- and due to ‘logistical convenience.’"
-Dan Froomkin, Washingtonpost.com, April 12, 2007

“They were just trying to avoid violating the Hatch Act! The Hatch Act is meant to make sure that politicians separate their work for their political party from their professional work. So what they are trying to say is that the White House staff wasn’t entirely sure if what they were doing was political or in the public interest, so they decided to use the RNC system just to be safe. It is really good to see people like Rove to go the extra mile to ensure that their offices avoid scandal.”

“Witnesses have told congressional investigators that the chief of the General Services Administration and a deputy in Karl Rove's political affairs office at the White House joined in a videoconference earlier this year with top GSA political appointees, who discussed ways to help Republican candidates.
With GSA Administrator Lurita Alexis Doan and up to 40 regional administrators on hand, J. Scott Jennings, the White House's deputy director of political affairs, gave a PowerPoint presentation on Jan. 26 of polling data about the 2006 elections.
On Wednesday, Doan is scheduled to appear before Waxman's committee to answer questions about the videoconference and other issues. The committee is investigating whether remarks made during the videoconference violated the Hatch Act, a federal law that restricts executive-branch employees from using their positions for political purposes.”
-Washington Post, March 26, 2007


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