Saturday, February 16, 2008

DNC Seeks Disclosure of RNC Emails

DNC Seeks Disclosure of RNC Emails

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Democratic National Committee seeks disclosure of Republican National Committee emails in firings of US attorneys.

The Democratic Party asked a judge Thursday to order the disclosure of 68 pages of White House emails that the Bush administration is trying to keep secret.

The Democratic National Committee is suing the Justice Department over the firing of U.S. attorneys, seeking electronic messages by White House staffers who performed political duties on email accounts of the Republican National Committee.

Dozens of White House staffers had RNC email accounts and the Democratic Party is trying to determine the extent to which those accounts were used in the U.S. attorneys controversy.

Under former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Justice Department officials consulted with the White House on the firings of at least nine federal prosecutors, triggering a furor over a hiring process that favored Republican loyalists.

The administration is withholding the emails from the DNC, claiming they are exempt from public disclosure. The Freedom of Information Act allows claims of confidentiality for presidential communications and material on internal deliberations before a final decision is made.

In a 12-page court filing, the DNC said the Bush administration cannot withhold the emails because the White House staffers who wrote them were not acting in their official capacities as presidential advisers, nor were they involved in decision-making on behalf of any government agency, a requirement for invoking the FOIA exemption.

Messages sent over these RNC email accounts were not treated as being subject to the federal laws governing official records, the Democratic Party argued in the court papers filed with U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle.

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