Remarkably, a US Court found a completely sensible, obvious answer (and it only took two and half years) — government agency heads can’t hide their work emails on a personal computer. (Life could get tough for Hillary.)
The DC Circuit court today ruled that agency records including “departmental emails on an account in another domain” must be searched or produced in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. In the FOIA case brought by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) against the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) over OSTP Director John Holdren’s use of non-official email accounts for work-related emails, the DC Circuit overturned a district court ruling, and remanded that case back to the district court for further proceedings.
Imagine if tax invoices, receipts, and other bank accounts could be stored in “my other car” and not available for the IRS?
For the sake of the environment, people need to be able to see the emails of the people supposedly looking after it.
“While today’s ruling is a major victory for government transparency, it’s stunning that it takes a court decision for federal employees to be held accountable to the law,” said Marlo Lewis, CEI senior fellow. “The ‘most transparent administration in history’ has proven over and over that it has no intention of actually letting the American public know what it is doing. Just think, if today’s ruling had gone the other way, the implication would be that all government business could be transacted on private email and be invisible to citizens, completely gutting FOIA – absurd! Director Holdren is not the first agency head to be found using private email for his government work, but as we continue our legal battle in this case, we seek for this unlawful behavior to come to an end.”
The CEI deserve a medal for pursuing this.
As for Hillary Clinton — she might have escaped criminal charges today, but the FOI monster may yet get those messages. The FBI found that she might have violated statutes and been “extremely careless” but “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” (It’s not like she held an important public office or anything.)
h/t Darren N.