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Staff Nears Deal on RNC E-mails

“We’ve received a steady stream of demands for the RNC to pay experts to conduct statistical analysis of the e-mail data,” and the RNC “has complied with all of those requests at great expense.” Several Republican sources put the price tag thus far at “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” though none could provide a more specific tally.

Meanwhile, this Republican source added: “We have been asking the [Oversight and Government Reform] committee to negotiate with us on the terms for us to actually review these documents,” but the Democrats have resisted. “It is beginning to seem like the committee is less interested in reviewing documents and more interested in racking up the RNC forensic computer expert expenses.”

Once search terms are agreed upon, the RNC still would have to take the time to run the search on the e-mails, then review each message to see whether either the party or the White House wants to assert a privilege that would prevent the release of the message, a process that could take many weeks, meaning the Oversight committee may still be months away from actually receiving any documents that are relevant to the political briefings.

The Republican Party source noted that the House Judiciary Committee has asked the RNC to search the same category of e-mails — accounts maintained by White House employees — for messages related to the firing of nine federal prosecutors, and that document production already is under way.

“The House Judiciary Committee immediately agreed to reasonable search terms, and reached a deal with us on which we are currently reviewing documents for the committee,” this source said. The Judiciary Committee did not request any statistical analysis.

A Democratic staffer with the Oversight panel responded: “The committee is conducting a responsible investigation to assess the scope of any Presidential Records Act violation that may have been caused by the use of RNC e-mail accounts by senior White House officials.”

Lurita Doan, the official whose presentation touched off this dispute, is scheduled to testify again before the Oversight and Government Reform Committee on June 13.

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