The chairman of the Republican National Committee said Wednesday there should be an investigation to determine whether Obama administration officials are breaking the law by intentionally holding meetings outside the White House to keep them off visitor logs.
“We need to have a full-scale investigation so that we can in fact determine whether or not, under the facts and circumstances, that we have a crime,” RNC chairman Reince Priebus said in an afternoon conference call with reporters.
Priebus made the comments in response to a report released Tuesday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee that included records showing administration officials taking official meetings to a nearby coffee house.
“They’ve been using the Caribou Coffee shop across the street from the White House as an executive branch annex to hold secretive meetings with lobbyists and political cronies,” Priebus said.
Added the chairman: “These newly covered emails showed one White House staffer explicitly asking an industry insider to meet him at Caribou so that he wouldn’t have to appear on the White House visitor logs.”
Priebus also said officials may have broken the law by using a personal email account to conduct business.
“We also have records showing that former deputy chef of staff Jim Messina, who by the way is obviously the campaign manager for Barack Obama, was using his personal email account to conduct official government business during the Obamacare negotiations,” Priebus said.
Florida Rep. Cliff Stearns, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said in the conference call that he couldn’t say for sure whether he thinks the actions are illegal until the White House turns over more documents.
Priebus said a congressional investigation would help determine that.
Earlier Wednesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney deflected questions about the report, accusing Republicans of having political motivations in the investigation.
According to a pool report, Carney said administration officials who have used personal emails for business forward emails to their official account to maintain required records.