Vice-President Mike Pence is being accused of hypocrisy after it emerged that he used his private email to conduct state business as Indiana governor.
Although he didn’t do anything illegal, he did contact advisers on homeland security and terrorism via an AOL account during his four years tenure as governor.
The new Indiana governor released 30 pages of emails after a public records request; he withheld other emails.
Mr. Pence has been a vocal critic of Hillary Clinton’s private server use when she served as the Secretary of State.
Here’s a tweet from Oct 28, 2016:
“@realDonald Trump and I commend the FBI for reopening an investigation into Clinton’s personal email server because no one is above the law.”
The email account was hacked last summer when many of Mr. Pence’s contacts received an email saying that he and his wife had become stranded in the Philippines and needed money urgently.
Mr. Pence later apologized to his contacts and changed the email address.
The office of the Vice-President released a written statement on Thursday saying Mr. Pence “fully complied with Indiana law” regarding email usage and retention.
The statement read:
“Government emails involving his state and personal accounts are being archived by the state consistent with Indiana law, and are being managed according to Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act.”
The same concerns that played a part in the defeat of Hillary Clinton are now being raised for Mr. Pence; that he didn’t rigorously comply with government archiving and open-records guidelines.
There are some fundamental differences between both the cases, however. Mrs. Clinton used a private email server while Mr. Pence used American Online account. The account of Mrs. Clinton was not illegally accessed – at least there’s no evidence – whereas Mr. Pence’s email was hijacked.
Even though Mr. Pence used his AOL account for correspondence regarding state security, there are currently no allegations that he dealt with highly classified information. Mrs. Clinton server, on the other hand, had at least some top-secret information.
Eric Holcomb, Mr. Pence’s successor as governor, declined to release emails (number unspecified) from Mr. Pence’s account, stating that they contain confidential information, including that related to homeland security.
Paul Begala, former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s adviser, lambasted Mr. Pence while talking to CNN. He said Mr. Pence was guilty of “staggering” hypocrisy.
“I’m trying to choke down the vomit. I’m sickened. It’s too spectacular. Irony has not only died, it drank a gallon of antifreeze, climbed to the top of the Washington Monument and threw itself off. There is no more irony in America.”
The use of a private email account is not prohibited under Indiana Law.
According to Indianapolis Star, which broke the news, the legislation is generally interpreted to mean that official government business correspondence should be retained for public records. Government transparency campaigners say Mr. Pence’s email account messages would not be automatically recorded for public record-keeping purposes.