CA officials can use private email

hillary clinton hard choicesHillary Clinton has made headlines in recent weeks for using private email for official U.S. government business when she was secretary of state. Federal law mandates that all such business be conduced on public email systems that are archived.

The latest: “WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of a House committee investigating the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi formally requested Friday that Hillary Rodham Clinton turn over her email server for an independent review.”

However, California has no such law for its employees. As AP reported in another story:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California has no blanket policy restricting the use of personal email accounts to conduct government business, and it’s among about two dozen states that have no clear rules or precedent-setting cases addressing whether those communications are public records.

The lack of clear policy in California, advocates say, could allow officials to shield sensitive electronic communications from public scrutiny by using personal email accounts.

State Attorney General Kamala Harris, a candidate for U.S. Senate, disclosed Wednesday that she uses a private email account to communicate with senior staff in rare instances.

It quoted Peter Scheer, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, who said reform proposals would gain “no traction because the legislators don’t want to give up the ability to hide from public-record requests … which the status quo allows them to do.”

It may require a statewide initiative for voters to rectify the situation.

Keeping such records is not just for historians to check the record. It’s to make sure government is transparent and open to scrutiny.

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John Seiler

John Seiler

John Seiler has been writing about California for 25 years. That includes 22 years as an editorial writer for the Orange County Register and two years for CalWatchDog.com, where he is managing editor. He attended the University of Michigan and graduated from Hillsdale College. He was a Russian linguist in U.S. Army military intelligence from 1978 to 1982. He was an editor and writer for Phillips Publishing Company from 1983 to 1986. He has written for Policy Review, Chronicles, LewRockwell.com, Flash Report and numerous other publications. His email: [email protected]

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