Comparing Mike Pence and Hillary Clinton's Personal Email Use

Revelations that Vice President Mike Pence occasionally used a personal email account to conduct state business as governor of Indiana has prompted comparisons by some to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email server for official communications during her tenure.

Her email problems plagued her presidential campaign and came to a dramatic conclusion when FBI director James Comey called her handling of classified information "extremely careless," though he declined to pursue criminal charges.

Comey briefly reopened the investigation just days before the 2016 election, a move that infuriated the Clinton campaign and ultimately did not alter his recommendations to drop the matter. Some blame Comey’s actions right before the election for Clinton’s loss.

Here are the similarities and differences between the two situations:

1. Government email addresses

Pence: Pence used both a government email address and a private email address, according to his office.

Clinton: Clinton did not have a government email account, opting to use a personal email address exclusively for all her government business.

2. Classified or sensitive information?

Pence: While Pence didn't send classified information on his personal email address, his emails did contain discussions of sensitive matters like homeland security and terror attacks, as well as how the state was responding to them, according to the Indianapolis Star, which obtained the records through a freedom of information request.

Generally, governors don’t have regular access to classified information via traditional security clearances.

Clinton: Comey told reporters that his investigation found 110 emails in Clinton's personal email account that contained classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those emails chains, Comey said, contained information that was Top Secret.

3. Private server

Pence: Pence used a personal AOL email address, not setting up his own separate server.

Clinton: Clinton set up her own personal server that was housed in the basement of the Clinton's home in Chappaqua, New York.

4. Clinton's email is not believed to have been successfully hacked

Pence: The Indianapolis Star reported Thursday that Pence's personal email account was hacked "by a scammer who sent an email to his contacts claiming Pence and his wife were stranded in the Philippines and in urgent need of money."

Clinton: The FBI said it found "no direct evidence of an intrusion" into Clinton's server, but it did find evidence of "unsuccessful attempts," and "it's possible" skilled hackers breached the system without leaving any trace, he said.

5. Preserving records

Pence: The vice president's office says Pence complied with all Indiana state laws: using a personal email account was not illegal. They also say Pence's emails are being archived according to Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act.

Clinton: Clinton’s use of private email also did not break any laws. But a State Department report examining the email practices of Clinton and five past secretaries of state determined that she, along with some of her predecessors, violated the government’s policy on email use and records retention.

Specifically, the report found there was "a limited ability to retrieve email records, inaccessibility of electronic files, failure to comply with requirements for departing employees and a general lack of oversight." In the end, Clinton turned over thousands of work-related emails to the State Department in compliance with public records law, but a Justice Department investigation found thousands more work-related emails that were not turned over.

Despite that, FBI Director Comey said his investigators found no evidence Clinton or her staff had intentionally deleted work-related emails in an effort to conceal them.



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