— NSA Nate (@NSANate) March 3, 2015
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton only used private email while holding her state department office according to a report in The New York Times.The report claims Clinton did not have a government email address during the four years she served as Secretary of State nor did her staff preserve her private email which puts Clinton arguably out of compliance with the Federal Records Act.
Under the Federal Records Act emails written and received by a federal official are considered government records and have to be preserved and archived. This archive provides the basis for review either by other parts of the federal government or the public at large. By not keeping accessible records Clinton’s work can not be reviewed – a tempting proposition for any politician that is, in theory, neutralized by the need to be compliant with the Federal Records Act.
Two months ago, in response to a new records initiative from the State Department and years after she stepped down, former Secretary Clinton’s staff submitted 55,000 pages to be part of the record. What criteria the staff used to rule which private communication should be submitted for the record – and which should not – is not clear.
Regulations from the National Archives and Records Administration at the time required that any emails sent or received from personal accounts be preserved as part of the agency’s records.But Mrs. Clinton and her aides failed to do so.
How many emails were in Mrs. Clinton’s account is not clear, and neither is the process her advisers used to determine which ones related to her work at the State Department before turning them over.
Given it was Secretary Clinton’s private email account there were obviously numerous emails sent during her tenure as Secretary of State that had nothing to do with her government work making submitting the entirety of Clinton’s private email records problematic – which, of course, is exactly the reason why government officials are supposed to have official government email accounts. This is a problem Clinton created by not following the rules.
It is no secret why Hillary Clinton is getting increased scrutiny now. She is reportedly preparing to openly announce her intentions to run for president in April though it will hardly come as a surprise to anyone. The Clinton machine has been gearing up for months and, despite some early stumbles, appears ready to grab the nomination or at least make a solid effort to do so.
The open records scandal comes after news broke about foreign governments making donations to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. A State Department spokesperson backed away from earlier claims that all donations have been reviewed by ethics lawyers to avoid conflicts of interest.