The New York Times piece by Michael S. Schmidt on Hillary Rodham Clinton using a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state has many of her supporters scrambling to justify her actions. Mrs. Clinton’s exclusive use of a personal email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department is a serious breach of federal law since these communications are considered government records.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews thinks that Mrs. Clinton not using a secure government email account is not worthy of scrutiny. He compared the use of personal email for official government correspondence with the petty violation of stealing office supplies for use at home.
I don’t know with this formal custom how often it’s honored, how often it’s not. It’s almost like don’t take your pens home and use them at home. I wonder if it’s one of those roles.
Matthews asked former campaign strategist David Axelrod if this should be a NYT front page story.
David Axelrod, you’ve got experience with this. What did you – you think this is something worth the top of the fold of the New York Times? Hillary Clinton didn’t use her email instead of her government email? Is this worthy of this kind of hootin’ and hollerin’?
Jonathan Allen, Bloomberg News D.C. Bureau Chief, explained to the Hardball host that all government letters and emails belong to American citizens.
I think what’s interesting about this story, it used to be the criticism that the Clintons wanted to re-write history. Now it seems that Hillary Clinton doesn’t want to have history recorded at all with these emails. I mean, it’s disturbing on the level, you know, as Ron pointed out today, these are our emails. This is our information and I think it goes to a larger question.
Matthews interrupted with a weak analogy that Mrs. Clinton should be able to send her husband an email to meet at a restaurant for dinner through a private email account. Mr. Allen responded that a private email is permissible for personal communications, but all government business needs to be conducted on a government email server.
You can have a private email for your private conversations. But you shouldn’t be conducting government business from your private email account. And honestly, if you look at the way this is set up, it was set up with a forethought to evade the spirit of the open records laws. I mean, it’s the pattern almost of paranoia.
Matthews interrupted Allen in an attempt to defend the former secretary of state.
What was the law at the time she did this? What was the law at the time she did this? I thought the law didn’t come into effect after…
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom