When 2016 Democratic candidate for president Hillary Clinton was found to have used a private email server for government communications, Republicans would not let her hear the end of it.
However, some Republican officials have also been found to have used private email accounts since then and the outcry has been almost nonexistent. On Monday, it was reported that Secretary of Education Betsy Devos has sometimes used her personal email accounts for government business and has not always properly saved the messages, according to an internal investigation released Monday.
According to TIME:
‘The agency’s Office of Inspector General, which was investigating at the request of House Democrats, said it searched the department’s email system and found a “limited” number of messages to or from DeVos’ personal accounts. In total, it said there were “fewer than 100” emails linked to four personal accounts.’
Many of the emails were written in the first six months after Devos took office in 2017. The inquiry also found that most of them were from a single person. The person was not identified, but was writing to recommend candidates for other agency jobs.
In addition, there were emails from people who congratulated DeVos on her confirmation or offered other job advice. TIME reported:
‘In total, investigators said they identified six emails sent by DeVos on private accounts, including five that involved official agency business. The inquiry concluded there was no evidence of “active or extensive” use of DeVos’ personal accounts.’
TIME also reported:
‘The secretary’s office told investigators it was taking “additional steps to identify and preserve” emails in her personal accounts. A department spokeswoman declined to comment for this story.
Department rules forbid use of personal emails to conduct official business except under rare circumstances when work accounts are unavailable. Employees are still required to forward those emails to their work accounts within 20 days. However, Devos did not do so.
The report said:
‘We did not identify any instances where the secretary forwarded emails from her personal accounts to her department email accounts. The secretary’s emails related to government business were not always being properly preserved.’
The Education Department was urged by the inspector general’s office to improve their training on the matter. No other evidence of irregularities was found around the use of personal emails.
According to TIME:
‘During his 2016 campaign, President Donald Trump repeatedly attacked Democratic rival Hillary Clinton over findings that she used a private email server for work while she was secretary of state.
‘At rallies, Trump often called for her prosecution and led supporters in chants of “lock her up!”’
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, requested the review of the Education Department in October 2017, but it wasn’t conducted until “well into 2018” due to staffing challenges.
During March of 2015, MSNBC reported that:
‘several potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates are facing email and transparency issues of their own.’
‘(They) also leaned heavily on private emails during their time in office – and have been criticized in the past for not releasing other documents – just as they skewer Clinton for not being forthright with her personal emails.’