Saturday, July 21, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Clinton's terrible judgment on email server

Once again, Hillary Clinton owes the American people candid answers. Once again, she wants voters to believe her intent was pure even as she ignored the rules. Once again, she has wounded herself with arrogant decisions and feeble explanations that erode the public's trust, fuel the harsh rhetoric of her opponents and undermine her campaign for president.

The unsparing report by the State Department's inspector general on Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state is clear. She did not seek approval to use the server and private email account, and approval would not have been granted. She ignored directions to State Department employees to use only secure accounts to exchange sensitive information even if the information was not marked classified. She did not archive her emails by printing them out or storing them electronically before she left office as the law requires for preservation of federal records. The pattern of willfully acting as though she is above requirements that apply to everyone else is obvious.

In pursuing convenience and privacy for personal communications, Clinton ignored more serious considerations about national security and public records. She initially explored obtaining a department-issued BlackBerry, but dropped the idea after being warned that exchanges would be subject to public records requests. No one at the State Department told her to use a government email address, and she never asked permission to use a private account or the email server at her private home. When State Department employees raised concerns, they were told by their boss never to mention Clinton's email system again. When Clinton was sent a memo about hacking attempts aimed at State Department officials, she kept using her private email server — and the report says that server was briefly shut down twice when it appeared to be a target.

Further undermining Clinton's credibility are her own explanations. She has claimed the State Department "allowed" her to use a private email server, but the report says no permission was given. She has correctly pointed out former secretaries of state such as Colin Powell had private email accounts, but the rules had changed by the time she held the office. She has said she would cooperate with any investigations, but she declined to be interviewed by State Department officials.

Whether Clinton should be charged with anything other than poor judgment remains unclear. She has released tens of thousands of emails, and the FBI is conducting a separate investigation. That investigation should be concluded as soon as possible, because as the general election grows closer, voters deserve to know the complete picture as they make their own judgments.

Clinton has a strong grasp of public policy and is well-qualified to be president. But the State Department's report on her private email server once again calls into question her trustworthiness and illustrates her disregard for the rules at a pivotal moment in the campaign. Donald Trump on Thursday celebrated capturing enough convention delegates to nail down the Republican Party nomination and is consolidating support within his party. Clinton has yet to fully shake Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination, and her unfavorable ratings in the opinion polls are nearly as bad as Trump's.

A presidential campaign that should be focused on serious issues facing the nation is now consumed by personal attacks and questions of trust and integrity. Voters may wind up backing the candidate they dislike the least, and that is no way to choose the next leader of the world's most powerful nation.

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Editorial: NFL calls wise time-out on disciplining protests

The National Football League kept an embarrassing situation from becoming even worse by shelving its new policy clamping down on players who refuse to stand for the national anthem.The league announced late Thursday it would suspend the 2-month old p...
Published: 07/20/18
Editorial: Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s responsible budget

Editorial: Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s responsible budget

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is shoring up his final year in office with the proposed city budget he released Thursday. The plan includes no big-ticket items, opting instead to maintain ongoing investments in parks, roads and other basic public services....
Published: 07/19/18
Updated: 07/20/18

IRS making ‘dark money’ darker

Under a perverse interpretation of federal law, tax-exempt nonprofit organizations supposedly devoted to "social welfare" can spend large amounts of money to influence elections without publicly disclosing the identities of their donors. But instead ...
Published: 07/19/18
Updated: 07/20/18
Editorial: Ferry is fun but should pay for itself in long run

Editorial: Ferry is fun but should pay for itself in long run

The CrossBay Ferry appears headed for another round of rides across Tampa Bay, with local governments pledging one more year of financial support. But as more taxpayer money is steered into this project, it’s important to recognize what purpose the f...
Published: 07/18/18
Updated: 07/20/18
Editorial: Scott should order investigation of concealed weapons permitting

Editorial: Scott should order investigation of concealed weapons permitting

To his credit, Gov. Rick Scott says he is considering requests to order an independent investigation of how Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s office screens applications for concealed weapon permits. It’s a reasonable request, and the governor h...
Published: 07/18/18
Editorial: Algae blooms, toll woes and beach battles -- Florida’s fouled up summer

Editorial: Algae blooms, toll woes and beach battles -- Florida’s fouled up summer

July in Florida. The height of summer tourist season. Rental cars clog the highways and tourists crowd the beaches, motels and all-you-can-eat shrimp joints. Many of our neighbors are off to North Carolina or somewhere cooler. So it’s an awfully inco...
Published: 07/17/18
Updated: 07/20/18
Editorial: Sacrificing two kayaks and a Toyota for free speech

Editorial: Sacrificing two kayaks and a Toyota for free speech

Maggy Hurchalla joked this spring that all she could offer a billionaire who won a $4.4 million judgment against her after she exercised her free speech rights were "two kayaks and an aging Toyota.’’ The billionaire didn’t laugh. This week, Martin Co...
Published: 07/17/18
Updated: 07/18/18
Editorial: Trump sides with Putin over America

Editorial: Trump sides with Putin over America

In one of the most surreal news conferences of our time, President Donald Trump actually stood next to Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday and called the federal investigation into Russia’s meddling into the 2016 election "a disaster for our coun...
Published: 07/16/18
Editorial: A vote for preserving waterfront parks by St. Petersburg City Council

Editorial: A vote for preserving waterfront parks by St. Petersburg City Council

The St. Petersburg City Council made the appropriate but difficult decision to reject a contract with renowned artist Janet Echelman for one of her aerial sculptures. It would be wonderful for the city to have one of her signature works, but Spa Beac...
Published: 07/13/18

‘Everybody needed to know what happened’

The brutal murder of Emmett Till, a black Chicago youth, in Mississippi nearly 63 years ago went unpunished, but not forgotten. A decision by his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, to allow an open casket at Emmett’s Chicago funeral represented an act of def...
Published: 07/13/18