3 Reasons Mike Pence's EmailGate Is Nothing Compared to Hillary Clinton's
Thursday evening, the Indianapolis Star reported that Vice President Mike Pence used a personal AOL email account for state business as governor of Indiana. The Star also reported that Pence's email was hacked. Naturally, Democrats have seized on the issue, attacking Pence for an alleged "double standard" in attacking Hillary Clinton for her private email server.
"There is an issue of double standard here," Gerry Lanosga, a professor at Indiana University, told the Star. Indeed, there are some similarities between Pence's use of a personal email and Clinton's use of a private server. Pence discussed homeland security issues and sensitive matters with top advisers using his AOL account. Among other things, he discussed Indiana's response to terror attacks and security at the governor's mansion.
Pence's account was hacked last summer, before the governor became Trump's running mate. His AOL account was subjected to a phishing scheme, when Pence's contacts were sent an email falsely claiming that the governor and his wife were stranded in the Philippines and needed money. Marc Lotter, a Pence spokesman, said the governor switched to a different AOL account with added security measures, and that he has stopped using the account since becoming vice president.
Despite the similarities between Pence's email scandal and that which plagued Hillary Clinton, Lotter called any comparisons between the cases "absurd," noting a key few key differences.
1. Pence didn't deal with classified information.
While governors do deal with important and sensitive issues, there is a key difference between a governor and a secretary of State. As secretary of State, Hillary Clinton sent classified information on her private email server — reportedly even encouraging staffers to take information classified at the highest levels and remove the markings to send them to her email.
The fact that Pence sent emails regarding the arrest of refugees charged with helping the Islamic State (ISIS) and regarding security measures at the governor's mansion, using a personal server, is a serious problem. But it is an entirely different matter from compromising information so classified that people with "Top Secret" clearance are not allowed to see it — special access programs (SAP) documents, stored separately at a Special Compartmentalized Information Facility (SCIF).
It is for this reason that Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn called for Hillary Clinton to drop out of the presidential race last February, long before he was officially connected to the Trump campaign.
2. Pence's email scandal is not illegal.
As the Indianapolis Star reported, Pence's office in Washington released a statement explaining that "as Governor, Mr. Pence fully complied with Indiana law regarding email use and retention. Government emails involving his state and personal accounts are being archived by the state consistent with Indiana law, and are being managed according to Indiana's Access to Public Records Act."