GOP seeks Napolitano papers as political ammo ahead of possible Senate run

Anticipating that Janet Napolitano may run for the Senate, Republican operatives are seeking a slew of political documents from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to use as political ammunition. 

While Democrats in Arizona are in a holding pattern on the state's open Senate seat, Republicans are preparing for a possible run by Napolitano, Arizona's former governor and President Obama's Homeland Security secretary.

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The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to DHS Tuesday, formally requesting personal correspondence that may have occurred between Napolitano and Democratic political staffers since January of 2009.

In a letter from the NRSC's chief counsel Sean Cairncross, the committee asks for any and all correspondence between Napolitano and Obama adviser David Plouffe, the Arizona Democratic Party and all three national Democratic campaign committees from the past two years.

The letter requests any "schedules or records reflecting Secretary Napolitano's activities for the period January 21, 2009 to the present, including any schedules arranged, noted or otherwise recorded or created by Secretary Napolitano."

Additionally, the NRSC wants purchase orders for any office supplies or furniture Napolitano or staff may have ordered for her private office, as well as records of charges or payments to any credit cards issued to Napolitano by the government.

"We look forward to a swift response, especially in light of President Obama's stated commitment to 'creating an unprecedented level of openness in government," Cairncross wrote.

Campaign committees routinely seek information from government agencies on candidates from the opposing party. However, NRSC's FOIA request on Napolitano is broader in scope than others viewed by The Hill in recent years.

A spokesman for the NRSC declined to comment on the letter.

The FOIA request shows national Republicans are doing their homework for a potential Napolitano run, even as Democrats in Arizona and nationally await the recovery of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) from a January assassination attempt.

Democrats are hopeful Giffords may run for the seat of retiring Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and are cautiously optimistic that her quicker-than-anticipated recovery will make a campaign possible. Before January's shooting, Giffords had told her staff that she intended to run for the seat if Kyl opted for retirement.

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) told The Hill Tuesday that a Giffords run is a "distinct possibility."

Republicans, meanwhile, have already begun to jump in the Senate race. Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) was first out of the gate last week and is the early GOP favorite, already winning endorsements from the Club for Growth and the Tea Party group FreedomWorks.

Flake could still face a crowded GOP primary field with Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.) and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio among those considering getting into the race.