“The dog ate my email”

Time to subpoena Karl Rove and ask him just what the $#%@ happened to those emails and what was in them. And let’s do it quickly, while he’s still uncertain about how much is going to be recoverable off the various servers in the EOP and the RNC.


Bunches of the emails White House staffers sent using Republican National Committee and Bush campaign email accounts have been deleted.

We already knew from the emails released by DoJ that some of the White House communications to DoJ on the Overblown Personnel Matter came from those political accounts, as opposed to official accounts.

There’s a law requiring that all White House emails be archived. But apparently the Bushies decided that they could just go ahead and delete emails concerning public business sent from their White House offices. The RNC, like any properly-run racketeering enterprise, deletes all emails after 30 days; that makes crimes harder to prosecute, without having any other obvious justification.

Naturally, it’s going to be very hard for even this White House to claim “executive privilege” over communications nominally not sent from the Executive Office of the President in the first place. That just wouldn’t pass the giggle test.

But now that some at least of the actual emails have disappeared, the two Judiciary committees have an even stronger case than they had before for demanding live public testimony under oath from anyone who had such an account, including especially Karl Rove. Somehow I doubt there would be much public sympathy for him if the House or Senate Sergeant-at-Arms finally gave him his long-delayed frog-march.

It’s crucial to get Karl and the rest of his playmates under oath as soon as possible, while they’re still unsure which of their emails might be recoverable. That way they won’t have carte blanche to lie.

The other cheerful aspect of this latest outrage is that it may finally awaken the mainstream media from its Rip van Winkle act. The Washington Post editorial page has finally caught up with the bloggers on this one, though of course without any indication of having changed its mind. (Being an editor means never having to say you’re sorry.)

Josh Marshall doubts that even disappearing emails will be enough to push this finally and definitively onto the front page. I’d take the othe end of that bet.

Update Well, it’s on the front screen at NYTimes.com, though not being played as especially big news. No indication whether it will be on the front page of tomorrow’s paper.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com