Clinton APAt what point in time do the American people wake from their XBox and iPhone induced slumber and realize that the bureaucratic masterminds in Washington, D.C. are the nightmares of our founding fathers vivified? It may not be too far off because even The New York Times is drawing attention to the fact that Hillary Clinton exclusively used — yes, exclusively — her personal email account to conduct all business as Secretary of State.

The New York Times reported March 2:

WASHINGTON — 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. …

“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.

Only a woman who believes herself to be exempt from the rules that govern the rest of us would exclusively use her personal email to conduct all official business as the Secretary of State. Most shady officials at least try to create a false veneer of transparency before finding ways to circumvent laws that inconvenience their plans — but not Hillary Clinton.

Ask yourself this question: What would be the reaction if, under a Republican president, his Secretary of State exclusively used her personal email account to conduct all official business? Now ask yourself if that individual could realistically ever run for president. The answer is simple: she would be laughed out of the room. She would be disqualified. She would be an embarrassment to everyone who ever vouched for her integrity.

The Hill reported Tuesday on what Ms. Clinton’s close friend John Podesta thought of the Bush administration’s partial use of personal email accounts in 2007:

A top adviser to Hillary Clinton’s campaign-in-waiting accused the George W. Bush administration of using private emails to skirt transparency rules in 2007.

John Podesta, who left the White House in February for an unofficial role with Clinton, criticized Bush administration officials for using Republican National Committee email accounts for official business.

“At the end of the day, it looks like they were trying to avoid the Records Act . . . by operating official business off the official systems,” Podesta said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

The Bush White House admitted that it lost thousands of emails that weren’t backed up. Spokesman Scott Stanzel told reporters in 2007 that the White House had “not done a good job” of complying with transparency laws, according to The Los Angeles Times. …

Nick Merrill, Clinton’s spokesman, said in an email that, “the letter and spirit of the rules permitted State Department officials to use non-government email, as long as appropriate records were preserved.”

Wrong, Mr. Merrill. The rules were crafted as an acknowledgement that politicians get boatloads of email every single day from a variety of sources, and that some of those emails might exist in a grey area where professional and personal life meet. Conducting zero business on an official government email account is not in accordance with the “spirit” of the law — it is anathema to the spirit of the law.

Here is Ms. Clinton’s thoughts on government transparency in 2008:

I want to have a much more transparent government and I think we now have the tools to make that happen. … For me, we’re now in an era which didn’t exist before, where you can have Instant access to information. I want to see my government be more transparent.” — Hillary Clinton on Meet the Press, 2008.

Odd how things change when you’re the Secretary of State, isn’t it? Yes, the government does have the “tools” make transparency happen — it’s called an official government email account, Ms. Clinton — coupled with the timely response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. In that regard, you have essentially spit in the American public’s face and said, “I do what I want. Deal with it.”

If the American people elect Ms. Clinton president in 2016 — a woman who thinks she is above the rule of law — then they deserve all the consequences that follow.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

7 comments

  1. This makes me particularly angry because if you’re a nobody, like a volunteer for a non profit that receives some government funds, the gov has the right to seize your personal computer, email, and all your internet traffic, anytime it wants to if you so much as send a personal email to a fellow volunteer. We actually have to teach people this so they understand they have no rights to privacy in the event of an audit. It makes me absolutely crazy when the rules are enforced against the little people, but completely bypassed by the high and mighty.

    1. That’s why I don’t understand how so many people don’t get it — the bigger the government gets, the more stuff like this happens. Politicians always find ways to exempt themselves by the rules the everyone else must abide by, and even when they get caught breaking a law nothing ever happens. They’ll get a slap on the wrist at best.

      Your point about nonprofits is excellent! That’s a great example and I’m glad you brought it up. Speaking of which, how about Ms. Clinton’s foundation taking foreign donations while she was Secretary of State? Unreal.

  2. It’s not only arrogance, or a sophist belief that they’re above the law, it’s also downright incompetence. After all, we’re talking about someone who was not only the former First Lady and a U.S. Senator on the Armed Services Committee, she was also President Obama’s Secretary of State–which means Hillary Clinton, more than anyone else, should be aware of the potential risks to national security in exclusively using a public e-mail account. Let’s not forget we had a huge story last Christmas in which the so-called “Guardians of Peace” backed by North Korea were able to leak out all the private correspondence and personal details of employees and associates of Sony Entertainment Pictures by accessing their private servers. How many anecdotal stories can be people testify to about having someone access their credit card account and bank statements, or scam artists hacking into their personal computers? Hilary Clinton using a personal email account instead a more secure one that would have been issued to her the moment she was appointed (and the thing of it is, she had this email account even before she got the job) also means it would have been far more at risk for hackers.

    As a matter of fact, the reason why this story may have come to light in the first place is because Hilary Clinton’s personal email address was broken into by a Romanian hacker going by “Guccifer” which, according to the UK Daily Mail:

    Marcel Lazar Lehel – Guccifer’s real name – breached the email account of Sidney Blumenthal, a former Bill Clinton aide who later joined Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. Blumenthal had sent emails to her at the ‘clintonemails.com’ address, according to The Smoking Gun.

    Some of the messages Guccifer leaked online consisted of intelligence reports, sent in late 2012 to Clinton’s back-channel address, and covered matters in Libya – including the aftermath of the September 11, 2012 terror attack in Benghazi.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2978290/Hillary-Clinton-s-secret-email-address-revealed-infamous-Guccifer-hack-exposed-messages-White-House-washes-hands-mess.html#ixzz3TOFMP9Dd

    So the irony here is that, in her apparent attempt hiding her correspondence from the official record, she ran an even greater risk of it being exposed than if she had just used the government assigned email address.

    1. It gets even worse, Mike. Check this out: She had her email filtered through her own server — in her house!

      The Associated Press reported Wednesday:

      WASHINGTON (AP) – The computer server that transmitted and received Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails – on a private account she used exclusively for official business when she was secretary of state — traced back to an Internet service registered to her family’s home in Chappaqua, New York, according to Internet records reviewed by The Associated Press.

      What the heck? You can’t make this up! So now the “spirit of the rules” includes getting your own email server that runs out of your house? How can any Democrat say this woman should be the president of the United States at this point?

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