Dem Rep. Waxman criticizes White House for lack of transparency

The Obama administration has come under fire from Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) amid accusations that the White House failed to live up to its own ethical standards.

“The Presidential Records Act was enacted to ensure that White House records are preserved for history and are owned by the American people,” Waxman said. “Everyone who is covered by the law should follow it, regardless of which party controls the White House.”

{mosads}Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee issued a report two days ago that detailed members of the Obama White House using personal email accounts to conduct official business with representatives of the pharmaceutical industry. The report also listed occasions where the same officials met outside of the White House, apparently at a Caribou Coffee, ensuring the meetings would not be recorded in official visitor logs. One official named in the report is Jim Messina, a former deputy chief of staff, now the Obama campaign manager.

Many Democrats and interest groups that had been critical of the Bush administration’s transparency were unwilling to comment. Sen. Patrick Leahy’s (D-Vt.) office did not respond to a request for comment according to The Huffington Post, nor did Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The Republican National Committee circulated the Huffington Post piece to reporters.

Waxman had demanded that Bush administration aides preserve emails when it was discovered during an investigation into the firing of U.S. attorneys that as many as 22 million Bush administration emails may have been deleted.

The Romney campaign took advantage of the situation, echoing an Obama attack on Mitt Romney’s taxes that implied the candidate might have committed a crime.

“This appears to be a violation of the law, which requires that all official communications be preserved,” Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstom said on a conference call with reporters Thursday.

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