Email Scandal Threatens Clinton’s Ambitions

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Benghazi has failed to gain much traction with the average American, but an explosive new scandal involving Hillary Clinton could derail her 2016 campaign before it is officially announced. According to no less a liberal resource than The New York Times, the former secretary of state used a personal email account to conduct government business while in office, possibly in violation of federal law.

According to the report, Clinton did not even have a government email address while working at the State Department. Federal law requires that the correspondence of officials like the secretary of state be retained as part of the record. Her personal emails were not preserved on department servers, despite the requirements of the Federal Records Act.

“It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario — short of nuclear winter — where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business,” said Jason Baron, formerly of the National Archives and Records Administration watchdog organization.

Clinton’s people deny that she broke the law, insisting that her use of personal email was compliant with the “letter and spirit of the rules.” They claim that Clinton assumed that all records would be preserved since she was emailing other officials at their government accounts. Of course, this doesn’t explain what might happen to emails she sent to those outside the State Department.

Though there is no evidence – yet – of criminal wrongdoing beyond the rulebreaking itself, it doesn’t help Clinton’s already-troubled reputation for flaunting transparency. After six years of one of the least transparent presidential administrations in history, liberals who bought into Obama’s promises to the contrary should not welcome another shadowy figure into the White House. Conservatives, meanwhile, have another weapon with which they can attack the presumed DNC candidate.

There is an extra layer of darkness to the allegations. Clinton was not using GMail. She was using a personal email account run from her own private server in Chappaqua, New York. While this allays some fears over the security of the emails, it is difficult to understand why she would think this kind of limited access would be permitted.

The big question that remains to be answered is why? Why did Clinton go to such lengths to ensure the secrecy of her correspondence? Did she foresee a time when the public might like to peek at her archives? What is hidden in those emails? What has been destroyed? What will her lawyers be able to keep under wraps? Even if there is an innocent explanation for all of this, the mere appearance of impropriety makes her a weak candidate for the country’s highest office.

The Clinton legacy is already one of House of Cards-style political ruthlessness. There is little to admire about either Bill or Hillary save their unrestrained ambitions. We need a president who wants a seat in the Oval Office for reasons nobler than a thirst for power.