At least four senior officials in President Trump’s White House have active accounts on a private Republican National Committee (RNC) email system, according to a new report.
Counselor Kellyanne Conway, White House press secretary Sean Spicer, chief strategist and senior counselor Stephen Bannon and senior adviser Jared Kushner — Trump's son-in-law — all have rnchq.org email accounts, Newsweek reported Wednesday.
Trump repeatedly attacked 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry negative images are defining White House Heller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll MORE last year for using a private email server during her tenure as secretary of State.
Critics argue Clinton’s storage device prevented transparency and may have exposed sensitive national intelligence.
It is not clear whether or how Trump’s staff is using the RNC accounts, Newsweek reported on Wednesday, adding that the use of separate political email accounts at the White House is not illegal.
Newsweek also reported private email accounts like those on the rnchq.org system are subject to disclosure requirements.
The “Disclosure Requirement for Official Business Conducted Using Electronic Messaging Accounts” stipulates that if White House staffers have already used private accounts like the RNC ones, they must copy or forward those communications into the government system within 20 days.
The law was passed in 2014 to prevent presidents from shielding communications that fall under the Presidential Records Act of 1979, Newsweek noted.
Newsweek added the rnchq.org email system caused controversy during former President George W. Bush’s administration.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) accused Bush White House staffers in 2007 of using the system to evade transparency.
The rnchq.org email system was involved in the loss of 22 million Bush administration emails, Newsweek reported, many from around the start of the Iraq War.
Former President Obama’s administration found the lost emails after private lawsuits were filed, it added.
Those messages are now in the National Archives, according to Newsweek, but remain under the national security shield and have not been seen by the public.