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The Top Five Obama Administration Officials Who Used Secret Email Accounts

Last year, David Usborne of The Independent said of the Trump administration, “This may, in fact, be the most transparent White House ever – and the most transparent President.” A few days ago, Reuters gave Trump kudos for “bringing television cameras into normally private White House talks with lawmakers that feature sharp debates and, seemingly, policy-making on the fly.”

Trump’s transparency is not universally lauded, and there are certainly some things that earn legitimate criticism, but, while the results may vary, Trump’s approach to transparency is a welcome change from the overwhelming secrecy that plagued the Obama administration. This was after Obama promised transparency. “This is the most transparent administration in history,” Obama said back in 2013.

Yeah, well, not really.

Hillary Clinton’s private email scandal alone would be enough to prove that transparency simply wasn’t a core value of the Obama administration. But, Hillary’s trouble with her email is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Obama administration officials looking to skirt federal disclosure laws.

This issue first became a big problem for the Obama administration when his former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson was caught using a secret email account under the alias of Richard Windsor to conduct official business. Richard Windsor, despite being a fictional EPA official, earned training certificates; he was even recognized, ironically, as a “scholar of ethical behavior.” Jackson ultimately resigned due to the scandal, but the Obama administration’s troubles with phony email aliases persisted, without any accountability.

And it wasn’t just Hillary Clinton and Lisa Jackson having all the secret email fun. Using secret accounts was, in fact, standard operating procedure. I’ve compiled a list of five other high-level Obama administration officials who were using secret accounts that you might not know about.

5. Kathleen Sebelius

We all knew that negotiations over Obamacare were conducted behind closed doors, but did you also know that Kathleen Sebelius, Obama’s Health and Human Services secretary, used three different email accounts, one of which the department tried to keep secret. The email addresses were discovered during an Associated Press investigation in the wake of the EPA email scandal. That’s not to say the Obama administration didn’t fight hard to keep these emails under wraps. According to the AP, Obama’s Labor Department tried to charge them $1 million for the email addresses! The AP’s investigation revealed that secret and private emails were a common practice in the Obama administration and experts say the practice significantly complicates the process of disclosure for lawsuits and investigations—making full transparency very difficult to achieve.

And Sebelius is certainly one who would want to thwart federal disclosure requirements. Her tenure as HHS secretary was controversial from the start. From tax troubles that cast a dark cloud over her nomination, to a major violation of the Hatch Act, to overseeing the implementation of Obamacare, including the disastrous rollout, she spent her entire term embroiled in embarrassing scandals. She also got into some trouble for soliciting support and money from companies for Obamacare—possibly to circumvent congressional spending limits.