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White House Says Official E-Mails May be Lost in Private Accounts

The White House has revealed that some Bush administration staffers may have used their private Republican Party e-mail accounts to conduct government business, and it says those messages may have been improperly deleted.

Congressional Democrats have been seeking the e-mails as part of their inquiry into the dismissals of eight federal prosecutors. White House spokesman Scott Stanzel says that some of those lost e-mails may have discussed the firings.

Dozens of administration aides, including chief political advisor Karl Rove, had e-mail addresses set up through the Republican Party to use strictly for political work.

Federal law prohibits government employees from engaging in political business using government-owned property. Another law requires the White House to maintain all records involving presidential decision making.

Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman, who chairs a key congressional committee, says the acknowledgment by the White House raises serious legal and security issues.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.