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White House Not Adhering to Presidential Records Act?

4:40 PM, Jun 11, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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The Daily Caller's Jonathan Strong reports:

e-mails recently released by the White House show Andrew McLaughlin — a former Google lobbyist and now deputy chief technology official for the administration — e-mailing his former employer from his personal gmail account on policy matters.

On one occasion, a lobbyist for Google asked McLaughlin and Susan Crawford, then a telecommunications advisor in the National Economic Council, for a meeting on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Internet privacy policy. McLaughlin and Crawford worked with Becky Burr, the lobbyist, to set up a meeting time.

The FTC is an independent agency supposedly immune from White House meddling. While it’s unknown what was said at the meeting, Burr’s request for the meeting noted the “worrisome implications” of stricter privacy controls on innovation and said “it seems important for the FTC to have administration input on this.”

The issue is especially concerning to privacy activists like Consumer Watchdog who fault Google for its privacy policies.

In other instances, McLaughlin coordinated public relations strategy with Google employees.

The White House formally reprimanded McLaughlin on May 18 for breaking the president’s ethics pledge taken by his appointees not to discuss policies they lobbied on with previous employers — as well as “inadvertently” bypassing his official e-mail account — and the legally required archiving.

Consumer Watchdog’s John Simpson said McLaughlin should resign. “McLaughlin received a mild slap on the wrist. With his background as Google’s lobbyist he is simply the wrong man for this job.”

The e-mails have also drawn the ire of Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican, top GOP oversight official and Obama’s chief congressional tormentor.

The e-mails “[beg] the question who does McLaughlin work for, the United States or Google,” Issa said in a June 9 e-mail to White House counsel Bob Bauer. Issa’s letter demands further information from the White House including whether McLaughlin is bypassing his official e-mail account on other matters. [...]

The source who worked in the White House for approximately the first six months of the administration said the use of personal iPhones, Blackberries and other smart phones is ubiquitous in the White House.

“A lot of the political staff have two Blackberries. One that’s issued by the government and then their other Blackberry. Which they’re using their personal Blackberry while they’re in the office to talk to other people, probably about official business,” the source said.

Are they using their iPhones for official business? “You would think so,” the source said. An “example would be somebody in the political staff texts their counterpart over at the [Democratic National Committee (DNC)] and says, ‘Hey what should we do about this?’ and the person at the DNC says, ‘Well, here’s what we’re doing.’ That’s, obviously, the worst case scenario where you’ve got the actual sort of political collusion which is strictly prohibited by the Hatch Act and then also the violation of the records act at the same time.

“I can say with pretty good certainty that that sort of thing does happen. And that’s exactly what got people started in the Bush administration was that same kind of thing going on between the RNC and the White House,” the source said.

More at the link. Good to know there will be a record of your "fishy" emails about Obamacare in the National Archives but not of White House lobbying or political collusion.

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