Hillary Rodham Clinton used a personal email account during her time as secretary of state, rather than a government-issued email address, potentially hampering efforts to archive official government documents required by law.
Clinton’s office said nothing was illegal or improper about her use of the non-government account and that she believed her business emails to State Department and other official accounts would be archived in accordance with government rules.
For Clinton, the new developments, first reported by The New York Times, place a spotlight on her tenure in the Obama administration as she prepares to launch a widely expected 2016 presidential campaign that Republicans have already started to deride as a third Obama term.
They also come after recent examinations of the fundraising practices by the charitable foundation started by her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
“Like secretaries of state before her, she used her own email account when engaging with any department officials,” Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said.
“For government business, she emailed them on their department accounts, with every expectation they would be retained. When the department asked former secretaries last year for help ensuring their emails were in fact retained, we immediately said `yes’.
“Both the letter and spirit of the rules permitted State Department officials to use non-government email, as long as appropriate records were preserved.”
Republicans quickly pounced on Clinton’s use of the personal email account, arguing that she failed to comply with the law while serving in the State Department.
Deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the agency asked former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Clinton last year for records that should be preserved.
Harf says Clinton’s successor, John Kerry, is the first secretary of state to primarily use an official state.gov email account and that the department is now updating its records preservation policies to bring them in line with current regulations.
That includes regularly archiving all of Kerry’s emails.