Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign, told reporters on a conference call this morning that Obama campaign manager Jim Messina “appears” to have broken the law, based off a series of emails Messina sent from his personal account as White House deputy chief of staff. The emails were detailed in a House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee report on Tuesday. The most explosive include several exchanges between a pharmaceutical industry lobbyist and Messina, who was then President Barack Obama’s deputy White House chief of staff.
Messina and Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) lobbyist Jeffrey Forbes exchange emails relating to a deal between PhRMA and the Senate Finance Committee on Obama’s Affordable Care Act legislation.
The emails pertain to the funding for the deal that helped PhRMA support the Affordable Care Act. In the email, Messina says he will “roll” then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to secure funding.
“It’s very troubling,” Ferhnstrom said of the emails today. “It suggests he wanted to hide something.”
“On its face, this appears to be a violation of the law,” Fehrnstrom said on the conference call.”
The emails in the House report also contained revelations that White House officials met with lobbyists off White House grounds — like at a Caribou Coffee Shop — to avoid going through official White House logs.
The Obama administration has pushed back against the Republican-led report by saying that Messina copied the correspondence of his personal emails to his official White House account.
“I can tell you that for everybody working in the White House … we all have personal email addresses and for our longstanding relationships, they often use those personal email addresses,” Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter said on CNN’s “Situation Room” Wednesday, via Politico. “But at the White House we were all instructed for official business to just forward those emails into the White House system. And so that’s what we’ve all done.”
Back in 2007, the George W. Bush administration also came under fire for millions of lost emails.
In mid-July, Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter implied that Romney could have committed a felony if he lied on SEC filings about when he left day-to-day management operations as CEO of Bain Capital.
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