Hillary Clinton is not the first official in the Obama administration to have been caught using private email accounts. And likely she will not be the last.
Promising the most transparent administration in the history of the universe, I’m starting to get the idea that perhaps the administration might have a whole bunch of officials – inside and outside the White House -- who are trying to skirt Freedom of Information requirements by claiming their private email addresses are privileged.
You might remember Lisa Jackson, the former head of the EPA. She got bounced in part because she cultivated various email aliases to hide her email threads.
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“Windsor.Richard@epa.gov was the controversial email alias used by former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, who resigned earlier this year amid questions about whether [she was complying] with open-records laws,” reported the Washington Times.
Sharyl Attkinson did a nice treatment of the subject of email at the Daily Signal detailing not just personal examples of officials using private emails for public business, but going deeper by showing how prevalent the practice is.
“Personal email is ‘always’ or ‘often’ used for government business in their agency,” says Attkinson, “according to 16 percent of survey respondents. One-third, 33 percent, said personal email is used ‘sometimes’ or more frequently.”
This from a government that thinks it’s okay to collect data on everything from our private telephone numbers, to journalists like Attkinson, who conscientiously reported the news.
Attkinson won awards for her reports on CBSNews about the Fast and Furious scandal, but was subsequently harassed by the administration for it.
Increasingly the government—Obama-- is demanding transparency for the rest of us—think unreasonable search and seizure—while trying the hardest to keep records from the rest of us, in direct contravention of the law.
In just about every scandal from the stimulus boondoggle, to Fast and Furious, to Benghazi, to the IRS audit disgrace, to the Department of Energy loan program the administration does whatever it can to deny the public the documents that would help shed light on the administration’s activities.
And since Jackson, attorney general Eric Holder and other members of the Justice Department along with Clinton have all been all been implicated in the practice, I think it’s only fair to surmise that perhaps this is a coordinated strategy by the administration to cover up records that should be open.
Would it really surprise anyone if the White House cultivated secret email accounts? The only thing transparent about the administration is that this is exactly what they would do. After all this is an administration that holds offsite meetings with lobbyists and demands that they sign confidentiality agreements about what they talk about.
“It allows the Obama administration to keep these lobbyist meetings shielded from public view — and out of Secret Service logs kept on visitors to the White House and later released to the public,” reported Politico. “The White House scoffs at the notion of an ulterior motive for scheduling meetings in what are, after all, meeting rooms. But at least four lobbyists who’ve been to the conference rooms just off Lafayette Square tell POLITICO they had the distinct impression they were being shunted off to Jackson Place — and off the books — so their visits wouldn’t later be made public.”
We all get that impression.
And we should. Emails have been lost, aliases have been created, hard drives have disappeared, along with witnesses.
If it walks like a crook, talks like a crook, it’s a crook.
It would be poetic if in the end the administration was undone by what they likely think is the “harmless” practice of creating private email addresses to hide public records.
But let’s ask the question and see where it leads.