Why Hillary’s emails matter

Character counts in the race for the White House.

Jacqueline Lewis, Writer

On March 2, the New York Times revealed that possible 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state. Clinton’s actions violates the the Federal Records Act which states that government emails must be preserved on department servers, according to the New York Times. This is because emails written and received by government officials are considered official records and should remain available to historians, congressional committees and news media. The former secretary of state was not the only one to use a personal account for government business, but her exclusive use of it does appear unusual.

Although Clinton stated she simply used a personal email out of convenience and now regrets not using a government one  as recommended by the Obama administration, her lack of discretion has more negative implications than simply violating the records law. Using a personal email rather than a government-protected one as Secretary of State leaves her emails, with potentially sensitive information, open to hacking and possible espionage, especially since cyber security experts found gaps in the Clinton email security.

However, I believe the situation became even more disconcerting when she revealed that she also deleted 30,000 of her emails she deemed personal, which raises a high amount of suspicion as to what she may be attempting to conceal from those investigating the situation, as well as the American people. She claims she has nothing to hide, but her deletion of over 30,000 emails does not reassure me that she is as trustworthy as she claims. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina representative and chairman of the special committee created to investigate the Benghazi attack revealed that he found “gaps of months and months and months” in Clinton’s email record. Still, what was missed in these gaps in the record have not yet been confirmed.

The American people also rightly agree that we should not take this email scandal lightly. Since the report broke, Clinton has dropped approximately 15 points in support among Democrats.  Although the Democratic Party chairman speculates this decline in popularity will not linger for long as it continues to dissipate in the press, the email situation surrounding Hillary Clinton indicates a great lack of discretion on her part as well as a lack of respect for the law and for the integrity of public office.

American citizens must consider the honesty of potential candidates for the presidency as relatively limited lapses in judgment as secretary of state could mean much larger lapses in judgment as a president. Her lack of transparency now could mean an even greater divide between the government and the people later. We cannot allow ourselves to brush off the issue now and live to regret it later.

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