A top adviser to the Mitt Romney campaign on Thursday accused Obama campaign manager Jim Messina of an apparent "violation of the law" in sending emails regarding government business through a personal email account.
In a press call with reporters Thursday, Eric Fehrnstrom said the details of a House GOP report on transparency in the Obama administration are "very troubling," and he insinuated that Messina's email exchange with a pharmaceutical lobbyist while serving as a White House deputy chief of staff may have broken the law.
"When he was serving in the White House as a senior aide, he made promises to a lobbyist about obtaining billions of dollars in public funds," Fehrnstrom said, "and he did it using his personal email, which suggests he wanted to hide the conversation. On its face, it appears to be a violation of the law."
In addressing the report Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said there was nothing unseemly about Messina using his personal email account. "In an effort to comply with all the regulations pertaining to emails, he would forward emails to his White House account or copy his White House account so that those emails would be part of presidential record," Carney said.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans released the report on Tuesday. In addition to quoting emails sent by administration officials through private accounts, the report also revealed that officials held meetings off the White House grounds, such as at a nearby Caribou Coffee shop, to avoid having them documented in official White House logs. (The Obama administration isn't the first to conduct government business through private email accounts -- aides under George W. Bush were known to do the same.)
On Thursday, Fehrnstrom said the report indicates a larger transparency problem with the Obama White House.
"President Obama came to Washington promising the most transparent administration in history," Fehrnstrom said. "But they have withheld information from Congress. They routinely omit or cloud details on the White House visitor logs. And now we find out they conduct business on private email ... The only thing they're transparent on is our national security secrets."
The Obama campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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