One of the more curious elements of the story surrounding U.S. Rep. David Wu is the series of bizarre emails the Democratic congressman sent staffers in the early-morning hours of Oct. 30 just days before Wu's re-election.
Sent from Wu's congressional BlackBerry in the voice of his 11- and 13-year-old children, the emails were in fact written by the congressman. Wu admitted he wrote the emails after WW and The Oregonian published excerpts from them. He has said he was "joshing around" with his kids, but the content of the emails suggest far more serious topics.
"My Dad said you said he was wasted Wednesday night after just three sips of wine," one email read. "It’s just that he hasn’t had a drink since July 1. Cut him some slack, man. What he does when he’s wasted is send emails, not harass people he works with. He works SO hard for you … Cut the dude some slack, man. Just kidding.”
If Wu were a state or local politician, rather than a federal lawmaker, all of his correspondence with staffers would be public record under Oregon law. However, the federal Freedom of Information Act does not extend to the U.S. Congress, which wrote that legislation. As a result, none of Wu's emails are a matter of public record notwithstanding the public interest in the congressman's frame of mind and fitness to serve.
Last week, however, WW asked Wu to consider releasing his correspondence with staffers from October 2010 —the period now under intense national scrutiny. We made that request in the spirit of Oregon's open records laws knowing that the congressman had no obligation to comply.
Yesterday, Wu responded to that request through a spokesman, who said Wu would not share his correspondence.
"Congressman Wu has already discussed and disclosed matters far beyond the requirements of the law," spokesman Erik Dorey told WW.