Leahy demands 'lost' administration emails in US Attorney firing probe

[JURIST] US Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [official website] on Wednesday blasted the White House for failing to turn over all documents, including emails, requested by the Committee in its investigation into the US Attorney firing scandal [JURIST report], and suggested that White House reports that certain emails had been lost were untrue. Leahy said [transcript]:

There remain several obstacles to the ability of the investigating committees to learn the truth about what occurred with these firings and why. The selectivity and incompleteness of the highly redacted set of documents we have received so far from the Department of Justice present one set of obstacles.

The refusal of the White House to provide relevant documents and access to White House staff who played a role in these firings and replacements are other obstacles. The announcement by the White House last night that they and the Republican National Committee have lost an undisclosed number of relevant emails that political operatives were using on RNC accounts presents yet another obstacle. I am beginning to wonder whether the White House has any interest in the American people learning the truth about these matters.
On Tuesday, a White House spokesperson said that several emails appear to be lost [ABC report] that fall within the Committee's document requests. At least 21 staffers used RNC email accounts while at work to avoid liability under the Hatch Act [backgrounder], which prohibits the use of government resources for political purposes. Other laws, however, prohibit staffers from failing to preserve presidential records. After Leahy's remarks, the Committee voted to authorize, but did not actually issue, subpoenas to demand the production of all documents related to the firings. On Tuesday, the US House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena [JURIST report; PDF text] to US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for US Justice Department documents relating to the firings. AP has more.


 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.