In today's edition of the New York Times, Matthew Connelly and Richard H. Immerman offer perspective on the revelation that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used only a personal and not an official State Department e-mail account to conduct official business. Parenthetically, as the Associated Press reported in 2013, even keeping track of separate government accounts can be difficult for future public records requests and media inquiries.
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s decision when she was secretary of state to use only her personal email account to conduct official business was a disturbing departure from the normal practice of relying primarily on departmental emails for official business.
The State Department says there was no prohibition at the time, and there is still no prohibition, against using private email accounts to conduct official business, provided the communications are preserved as departmental records. But as Michael Schmidt reported in The Times on Tuesday, Mrs. Clinton’s aides took no action to have her personal emails preserved on departmental servers.
Only after the State Department, in the process of updating its record-keeping rules, asked former secretaries of state to provide emails that they had sent from private accounts conducting official business did Mrs. Clinton provide some 55,000 pages of emails.