Uncategorized

Bush may be "confused," but he "did exactly what Hillary did"

Ahead of Governor Bush’s weekend in New Hampshire, he called in to NH Today radio bright and early this morning and said this of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails: “I don’t quite get it. I’m a little confused by it.”

That’s funny, because according to an expert quoted in today’s Wall Street Journal, Governor Bush “did exactly what Hillary did” in choosing what emails to disclose from his private account.

What’s actually confusing is why Jeb continues to hold himself up as a paragon of transparency when he released just 250,000 of the over 3 million emails he apparently sent and received during his time as governor.

But remember, Governor Bush isn’t the only GOP 2016er with questionable email practices. Per the WSJ:

  • Jeb Bush: “But much like with Mrs. Clinton, the decision over which emails should be considered official and which remain private was made by Mr. Bush. It is unclear how many emails Mr. Bush withheld because he deemed them unrelated to state business. ‘He did exactly what Hillary did,’ said Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation, a Florida-based government watchdog group.”
  • Marco Rubio: “Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who is also considering a White House bid, used a private account to send emails to reporters in 2008 when he was a leader in the Florida House. When the Orlando Sentinel filed a public-records request for the emails from the private account about the legislative session, Mr. Rubio’s spokeswoman said they had been deleted.”
  • Scott Walker: “…Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, used a private email account to conduct public business while he was Milwaukee County executive. He relied on private emails to exchange messages with his closest aides, including correspondence on county business. Mr. Walker’s use of private emails became public as part of a criminal investigation of campaign practices by the Milwaukee County prosecutor and subsequent litigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.”

So don’t let Governor Bush “confuse” the facts — he “did exactly what Hillary did.” More from today’s WSJ below:

Hillary Clinton’s Potential GOP Rivals Used Personal Email Accounts
By BETH REINHARD And REBECCA BALLHAUS
March 12, 2015 8:08 p.m. ET

Republican critics of Hillary Clinton say that the public should be able to see all of her email as secretary of state, and that she shouldn’t be the one to decide that about half of the emails from her private account could be withheld as personal.

Some of Mrs. Clinton’s potential GOP rivals for the presidency in 2016, operating under state law, wrestled with similar issues.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a likely Republican presidential candidate, primarily used a personal email account on his own computer server when he was in office from 1999 to 2007. In December, he posted online hundreds of thousands of emails from both the private and government accounts. Mr. Bush’s spokeswoman said that emails from the private account unrelated to government business weren’t turned over to the state or preserved.

There are several substantial differences between Mr. Bush’s and Mrs. Clinton’s use of private email accounts. While few people knew that Mrs. Clinton was using a private account, the address of Mr. Bush’s private account—Jeb@Jeb.org—was widely known while he was in office and was used by many government employees, members of the public and reporters to communicate with him. In another important difference, Mr. Bush frequently released correspondence from his private email account while in office to comply with requests under Florida’s open-records laws.

“He has been complying with public records laws for 15 years,” said Kristy Campbell, Mr. Bush’s spokeswoman. “A full set of Gov. Bush’s emails related to state business reside with the Florida Department of State for historical and archival value.”

“Transparency matters,” Mr. Bush said on Twitter one week ago. “Unclassified @HillaryClinton emails should be released. You can see mine here.”

But much like with Mrs. Clinton, the decision over which emails should be considered official and which remain private was made by Mr. Bush. It is unclear how many emails Mr. Bush withheld because he deemed them unrelated to state business.

“He did exactly what Hillary did,” said Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation, a Florida-based government watchdog group. In turning over emails from his private account, she said, Mr. Bush and his staff “went through those emails and decided what were public-record emails and what wasn’t.”

Mrs. Clinton, in a news conference and written statement on Tuesday, said her personal email account contained about 62,300 sent and received emails during her time as secretary of state, and that about half were provided to the State Department as official documents. The other half were “private, personal records,’’ and she said she didn’t preserve them. Federal law “puts the obligation on the government official to determine what is and is not a federal record,’’ her statement said.

Daniel Smith, a politics professor at the University of Florida, said Mr. Bush has faced less scrutiny over his level of disclosure than Mrs. Clinton because he released a trove of his emails before anyone began asking questions. “He clearly got out in front of it,” he said. “It’s perceptual as much as anything.”

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who is also considering a White House bid, used a private account to send emails to reporters in 2008 when he was a leader in the Florida House. When the Orlando Sentinel filed a public-records request for the emails from the private account about the legislative session, Mr. Rubio’s spokeswoman said they had been deleted.

The newspaper reported that emails from Mr. Rubio’s personal account had been included in responses to at least two other records requests, suggesting he used his personal account for government-related business on multiple occasions.

The law appears to have left it to Mr. Rubio and his staff to decide which material was significant enough to preserve from his private and government accounts, said Ms. Petersen of the watchdog group.

Mr. Rubio’s campaign staff referred questions on the matter to his Senate staff, who declined to comment.

Unlike Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Rubio also used a state email account for official business.

Another likely GOP presidential candidate, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, used a private email account to conduct public business while he was Milwaukee County executive. He relied on private emails to exchange messages with his closest aides, including correspondence on county business.

Mr. Walker’s use of private emails became public as part of a criminal investigation of campaign practices by the Milwaukee County prosecutor and subsequent litigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He wasn’t charged with any wrongdoing.

Some members of the county executive staff had been unaware of the private email system, preventing them from retrieving records from it in responding to public-records requests.

Jocelyn Webster, communications director for Mr. Walker’s gubernatorial office, said that “any state business conducted on personal email is subject to open records law, and our office routinely releases such responsive records.’’ She also said that staff are trained to forward emails to their official accounts for records retention purposes.