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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Hillary Clinton's private email account draws a contrast to Jeb Bush

Hillary Clinton is the Democratic frontrunner in the 2016 presidential election.

[Getty Images]

Hillary Clinton is the Democratic frontrunner in the 2016 presidential election.

2

March

Hillary Clinton used a personal email account during her time at the State Department, the New York Times reports, and may have violated federal rules.

It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department. Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013.

Her expansive use of the private account was alarming to current and former National Archives and Records Administration officials and government watchdogs, who called it a serious breach.

The story brought swift contrast to Jeb Bush, who has released several hundred thousand emails from when he was Florida governor. The emails, which were available through Florida's excellent public record law while Bush was in office, provide expansive insight into his dealings with tough issues such as the Terri Schiavo saga.

Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said in statement: “Hillary Clinton should release her emails. Hopefully she hasn’t already destroyed them. Governor Bush believes transparency is a critical part of public service and of governing.”

On Twitter, Jeb Bush wrote: "Transparency matters. Unclassified @HillaryClinton emails should be released. You can see mine, here. jebbushemails.com."

But the public didn’t see everything. As Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times Tallahassee Bureau reported in January:

The former governor conducted all his communication on his private [email protected] account and turned over the hand-selected batch to the state archives when he left office. Absent from the stash are emails the governor deemed not relevant to the public record: those relating to politics, fundraising and personal matters while he was governor.

Bush's use of a private account was known at the time and the news media/public was able to request records.

Current Gov. Rick Scott also used a private account to discuss private business, despite first saying he used one only for family issues. In November, Scott turned over 197 pages from his private Google mail account after he and his attorneys previously told the court the records did not exist. (Background here)

The Clinton story raises big questions.

“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,” Jason R. Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle & Reath who is a former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration, told the New York Times.

[Last modified: Tuesday, March 3, 2015 10:42am]

    

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