Hillary Clinton’s massive email scandal boils on, despite the best efforts of her media friends to ignore the story to death. The latest revelation is that Congress directly asked her if she was using personal email accounts for official business in 2012, and she simply ignored the question… as did the State Department.
This is huge, and completely unacceptable. If we’re going to disband Congress and abandon the separation of powers in favor of imperial rule with term limits for the despot, then let’s do it, formally and with our eyes open, following a frank debate about the pros and cons. What’s the point of spending vast amounts of time and money electing “representatives” to an almost entirely symbolic assembly that serves little purpose beyond filling the seats on Sunday-morning talk shows?
This business of dismantling the separation of powers piece by piece — a usurped power here, an executive order there, congressional oversight powers treated as a partisan joke — is outrageous, and dangerous. The people of the United States have a right to know what they’re voting for. If lying to Congress is now acceptable when the opposition party controls it, and accountability “laws” are now mere suggestions to be discarded by the aristocracy, then We the People need to understand that, before we consider ticket-splitting under the illusory belief that divided government might be preferable to giving one party all the power.
There’s nothing debatable or ambiguous about the documents obtained by the New York Times. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), then-chairman of the House Oversight Committee, was investigating the Administration’s use of email in 2012. This was controversial, although under-reported by the media, because there had been a long string of Administration officials caught improperly conducting government business using off-the-books personal accounts. None of the others went as far as Clinton did, mind you, although EPA administrator Lisa Jackson’s creation of a phony male employee as an alter ego was an impressive effort.
Issa asked Clinton — formally, in writing — if she or “any senior agency official ever used a personal email account to conduct official business.” If so, she was asked to identify the personal accounts used.
Issa also asked Clinton if the State Department required its employees “to certify on a periodic basis or at the end of their employment with the agency they have turned over any communications involving official business that they have sent or received using nonofficial accounts?”
As we now know, not only Hillary Clinton, but also her top aides, had accounts on her private mail server. She didn’t turn over anything to the State Department voluntarily at the end of her tenure – they had to chase her down and request correspondence relevant to her time as Secretary of State. And she didn’t respond with anything remotely approaching full disclosure – she eventually produced paper printouts of the email she felt like sharing, selected at her own discretion, and swiftly deleted everything else.
Clinton completely ignored Issa’s request, and all he got from the State Department – long after she left office! – was a boilerplate description of their email policies – all of which Hillary Clinton disregarded. Remember, the State Department obviously knew Clinton was using a personal account. They sent and received mail using this account, and State Department technicians went on the record advising Clinton not to use it. A great many people who very well knew the answer to Rep. Issa’s question blew it off.
The State Department also didn’t feel like answering the New York Times’ questions about why it didn’t answer Issa’s question:
“The department responds to thousands of congressional inquiries and requests for information each year,” said the spokesman, Alec Gerlach. “In its March 2013 letter, the department responded to the House Oversight Committee’s inquiry into the department’s ‘policies and practices regarding the use of personal email and other forms of electronic communications’ with a letter that described those policies in detail.”
An aide to Mrs. Clinton said in a statement Tuesday that “her usage was widely known to the over 100 department and U.S. government colleagues she emailed, as her address was visible on every email she sent.”
A Clinton flack said her usage was known to over a hundred people… and that’s an excuse for why none of them answered a reasonable, straightforward, highly relevant question from Congress? The State Department thinks it’s cool that they responded to Rep. Issa with nothing but a cut-and-paste copy of the policies they knew damn well Hillary Clinton was violating?
The NYT, incidentally, says it obtained copies of Issa’s letter and State’s response from a congressional official who wanted to remain anonymous, because he “did not want to jeopardize his access to such information.” What the heck does that mean? Congress doesn’t want to discuss the Administration’s outrageous refusal to cooperate with them, because they’re afraid of losing what little access they have left? Again I ask: does anyone remember being told that they were voting to dissolve the legislature in 2008 or 2012 by voting for Barack Obama? Was that mentioned in a single campaign commercial?
This is an utter farce, a clown show, an insult to the American people and their representative government. And even as they commendably did the digging necessary to produce today’s story, the New York Times is still cushioning the blow by leaving out vital context. They mention the questions surrounding the Obama Administration’s abuse of personal email, but not such amazing details as Jackson’s fake employee, so the uninformed reader doesn’t understand how serious Issa’s investigation was.
The Times also fails to mention that the House Select Subcommittee on Benghazi subpoenaed all of Clinton’s email last month, and has not received a response.
They blandly describe Hillary Clinton’s email scandal as “the first major test of her early presidential campaign, as she seeks to assure the public and the news media that she was not seeking to hide her correspondence,” without reminding readers that her every statement about what she was supposedly seeking to do has been a lie. It’s not cute or funny that she dumped off a pile of nonsense about not wanting to carry two email devices, when it’s been proven she wound up carrying more than two of them anyway – it demolishes the only reason she’s given other than her painfully obvious desire to hide her correspondence. The best she could do in her damage-control press conference was a farcical claim that her own autobiography disproves. Her copious assurances that she didn’t think she was doing anything wrong are also impossible to square with Clinton and her agency refusing to tell Congress about it when asked.
That’s not a test of her 2016 presidential campaign. It’s a test of her performance as Secretary of State, a test of her character, and she already failed.