At 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.