Hillary’s use of personal email while Secretary of State
This “scandal,” if you wish to call it such, is still a breaking matter but could become an issue if there is any wrongdoing found on the part of Hillary Clinton. Under the Federal Records Act, Hillary was required to either use a government email account or have any private emails archived during her time as Secretary of State. It appears neither action took place.
Report from the New York Times:
Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.
Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.
It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department. Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013.
Her expansive use of the private account was alarming to current and former National Archives and Records Administration officials and government watchdogs, who called it a serious breach.
“It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario — short of nuclear winter — where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business,” said Jason R. Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle & Reath who is a former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration.
A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, Nick Merrill, defended her use of the personal email account and said she has been complying with the “letter and spirit of the rules.”
From an open and transparent government standpoint, this does not look very good. Whether it was an intentional usurping of the rules or a mere oversight, the entire electronic record of who Hillary corresponded with over email while Secretary of State is entirely gone. The term “email-gate” hasn’t started quite yet in the media, but give it a few days.