The rabbit hole goes a little deeper than first thought on the Clintonemail server scam run by Hillary Clinton outside of the State Department, and outside the reach of the Federal Records Act. Previously, it appeared that Congress only asked the former Secretary of State about private e-mail records in August 2014, when the House Select Committee on Benghazi began looking through State Department communications. Today, though, the New York Times’ Michael Schmidt reports that Darrell Issa had at least some curiosity on the point in December 2012, when he queried Hillary directly on the point:
The query was posed to Mrs. Clinton in a Dec. 13, 2012, letter from Representative Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Mr. Issa was leading an investigation into how the Obama administration handled its officials’ use of personal email.
“Have you or any senior agency official ever used a personal email account to conduct official business?” Mr. Issa wrote to Mrs. Clinton. “If so, please identify the account used.”
Mr. Issa also asked Mrs. Clinton, “Does the agency require 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?”
Mr. Issa’s letter also sought written documentation of the department’s policies for the use of personal email for government business. Mrs. Clinton left the State Department on Feb. 1, 2013, seven weeks after the letter was sent to her.
Hillary never responded to this letter. No one at the State Department ever got back to Issa on any of his questions until March 27th, more than three months after Issa sent the request. When State did respond, all they did was send a copy of the department’s policies — which stated in part that all State employees “should make it clear that his or her personal email is not being used for official business.”
If that was the policy for all other employees at State on March 27th, 2013, why didn’t Hillary and her aides follow it before then? We already know that the Obama administration had sent out advisories on the need to conduct official business on official accounts, and that Hillary had pushed out an American ambassador for attempting to use his own e-mail accounts and get a private Internet connection. This timeline makes it clearer that Hillary operated in contradiction to the policies she enforced, and that the State Department was reluctant even after she left to acknowledge that.
But it also makes another point very clear, too. The August 2014 request for her private-server e-mails was not the first time Congress had raised the issue with Hillary. By December 2012, Hillary was preparing to depart State and would have had a time frame for belated compliance with the Federal Records Act. Issa’s letter would have been a clear reminder of that responsibility, and a reminder that Congress had a legitimate oversight responsibility over State. Instead of complying at that time, though, Hillary chose to keep quiet, and later wipe her server rather than allow State to have access to the work product that belonged to the American people.
Kurt Bardella made the same point to Politico:
Former Issa aide Kurt Bardella said State’s response fuels questions about Clinton’s handling of her email as secretary.
“Why did the State Department wait until after Secretary Clinton left office to respond to the Issa letter? Were Secretary Clinton’s efforts to deliberately conceal her official activities through use of her private email prompted by then-Chairman Issa’s request?” Bardella asked. “As is status quo with the Clintons, there are far more questions than answers and it’s likely that these revelations of her secrecy are just the tip of the iceberg.”
Indeed. And one has to wonder how many more of these shoes are poised to drop as well.