Watchdog wants investigation of White House e-mails

The letter came in response to allegations first reported by the New York Times last week. According to the report, lobbyists routinely get e-mails from White House staff members' personal accounts rather than official accounts that can eventually become public record. As part of a settlement with CREW over missing Bush administration e-mails, the White House assured the watchdog that its system prevents employees from accessing personal e-mail accounts.

The White House reprimanded former Google employee Andrew McLaughlin in May for consulting with his former colleagues about policy issues using his personal e-mail account but downplayed the incident, claiming it had no impact on policy decisions. According to the letter, the most recent revelations change CREW's view of the McLaughlin incident.

"The New York Times report casts doubt on that explanation and leads us to question whether Mr. McLaughlin's use of his private email account really was accidental or whether it was part of a larger pattern of White House officials attempting to evade federal laws requiring the preservation of emails," CREW executive director Melanie Sloan writes.

As a result, CREW is now supporting Issa in his quest to obtain more information on the incident and the White House's general polices with regards to use of e-mail and social media. They also request a hearing on the matter where White House staff can explain how they are preventing any further violations of the PRA.