Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton might have violated a federal law during her four years in office after conducting all of her state business using a private e-mail account instead of an official State Department domain.
What is a surprising is that the State Department never bothered to create an account for Clinton, The New York Times reported. Furthermore, her staff did not abide by the Federal Records Act, which requires government employees to preserve correspondence on departmental servers. Letters and emails by federal officials are considered government property and should thus remain in the public sphere, not private emails, so they can be used in the National Archives.
Only two months ago, in response to a new State Department federal record-keeping audit, Clinton’s advisers were forced to analyze thousands of personal emails. How many emails were in Clinton’s account is not clear, but as a result her aids turned over some 55,000 pages of emails that were selectively submitted to the authorities by her former staff.
According to Clinton’s spokesman, Nick Merrill, the former First Lady – and potential 2016 presidential candidate – defended her use of a personal account, claiming the 67-year-old is complying with the“letter and spirit of the rules.”
Merrill said that because the former secretary of state had been corresponding with other State Department officials at their government accounts, she had “every expectation they would be retained.” Nothing was mentioned about her correspondence with world leaders who do not use a state.gov account.
“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,” Jason R. Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle & Reath told NYT.