Months Later, VP Mike Pence Ready To Turn Over Private Emails, Explain What An AOL Account Is

from the as-transparent-as-he's-forced-to-be dept

Months after he left office to become Trump’s running mate, former Indiana governor Mike Pence is finally releasing emails from his personal AOL accounts. This sort of thing would normally be reserved for only the wonkiest of public records wonks, but the Trump campaign spent a great deal of time deriding Hillary Clinton for using a personal email account to handle official State Department email.

It’s slightly more of a big deal, thanks to Pence’s efforts to keep these emails from becoming public. He went to court late last year to protect the content of certain emails from being released. Pence’s lawyer actually argued the court had no business telling the governor’s office what can and can’t be redacted. So much for the idea of checks and balances.

As the result of multiple requests and multiple lawsuits, Pence is now releasing most of what [his lawyer says] is contained in his AOL accounts.

Pence attorney Karoline Jackson said in a recent email to the state’s legal counsel that “a complete electronic production of state records” from Pence’s time as governor had been delivered to the state as of June 23.

The office of Pence’s successor, Gov. Eric Holcomb, said the records consist of state-related emails from two AOL accounts Pence used as governor.

“Our office is now in the process of reviewing the records, and we anticipate being in a position to provide copies of records that are responsive to pending (public record) requests soon,” Holcomb spokeswoman Stephanie Wilson said.

So, according to his own spokespeople, Pence will finally be complying with the state’s public records law. Not that he didn’t try to be a dick about it.

Previously, Pence had only provided some of his AOL emails to the state, and those he did provide were in paper form, making them difficult to search.

Fortunately for those requesting the emails, the new, full batch will come in electronic form, which will greatly assist them in finding the contents they’re interested in. According to the WHAS11 report, there are more than 50 open records requests targeting Pence’s AOL emails.

While this doc dump will result in far more transparency than Pence is used to, there are still some concerns about what’s being withheld. Rather than have his former office review the emails before turning them over to requesters, Pence had his private lawyer take a look at them instead. That’s not really the way things are supposed to work for public officials. This will make redactions and withheld documents more difficult to challenge, as there’s another layer — a non-government layer — of vetting separating requesters from their requested documents.

There’s also a good chance whatever’s being looked at is incomplete. Public officials who use private email for official business are supposed to forward all work-related emails to government servers for storage. At this point, there appears to be no indication Pence has done that. Instead, a privately-employed lawyer has been picking through what’s left in two private AOL accounts and everyone involved is claiming, without supporting evidence, they’re living up to the letter and spirit of Indiana’s open records laws.

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Comments on “Months Later, VP Mike Pence Ready To Turn Over Private Emails, Explain What An AOL Account Is”

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46 Comments
Bamboo Harvester (profile) says:

Not quite...

“the Trump campaign spent a great deal of time deriding Hillary Clinton for using a personal email account to handle official State Department email.”

Partly. It was illegally operating a mail SERVER for the express purpose of avoiding FOIA requirements that should have put her in prison.

I realize this site is hard left, but if it had been anyone other than a high-level Democrat it would have been all over this blog, along with calls for prosecution.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Not quite...

Partly. It was illegally operating a mail SERVER for the express purpose of avoiding FOIA requirements that should have put her in prison.

It heard it was for USING a private mail server to avoid FOIA requirements. Kinda like Pence.

I realize this site is hard left,

Hah, you’re funny. But I realize that you’re a hard Team Trump alt-truther.

TechDescartes (profile) says:

Re: Not quite...

The issue with Hillary’s email server was that it contained classified information. Even PolitiFact knows that:

The results of an FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state shredded Clinton’s most oft-recited defense — that she never sent or received information marked classified.

Last I checked, U.S. classified information isn’t being handled by the State of Indiana. So is Pence a problem? Yes, but a different problem than Hillary.

As everyone knows, classified information is only supposed to be stored on classified systems. Such as Twitter.

orbitalinsertion (profile) says:

Re: Not quite...

I don’t see how it matters by what method any government official uses something other than the email servers and transport provided by the relevant government entity. They are all trying to avoid public records requests. Every last one of them.

Sure, Clinton and about every pol ever since email was a thing should go to prison for this or something else office-related. Plenty should be held accountable for non-office-related deeds as well.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: Not quite...

Indeed. The regular writers have a range of political opinion from liberal/progressive to libertarian.

“Hard left” means government control of all industry and infrastructure. Given that I’ve never seen any of the writers here call for that I can safely assume that I’m right.

This is what happens when you live in an echo chamber: everyone who disagrees with you is automatically the polar opposite. Not true.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Not quite...

Many people are confused about the breadth of the political spectrum, to them anything not conservative (right) is left, totally ignoring any middle ground and completely ignoring the actual left … this (seemingly) leads to some pretty amazing silliness.

There are some out there who attempt to perpetuate and/or exasperate this situation to their advantage – and they get real mad when this is pointed out.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Not quite...

Here’s the fun part: “conservative =/= “right wing,” no matter how much they insist it does. “Conservative” means “maintaining the status quo.” Basically, we value tradition, don’t like change, and tend towards pragmatism. This is why many conservatives today are being labelled “left wing:” we don’t like that hard shift to the right in political discourse, we’d prefer to keep the boundary lines where they were thirty years ago.

“Right wing” is generally authoritarian might-is-right and racist/nativist/nationalist.

“Left wing” =/= “liberal.” Follow Dan Kervick on Twitter to find out why; basically the liberals are all about personal freedom and they swing from left to right depending on whose job you think it is to provide social services. They self-identify as either progressive or libertarian.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Not quite...

Here’s the fun part: "conservative =/= "right wing," no matter how much they insist it does. "Conservative" means "maintaining the status quo." Basically, we value tradition, don’t like change, and tend towards pragmatism.

I describe myself, when the occasion arises for it, as "a conservative liberal".

I am temperamentally conservative: as a baseline default, I am disinclined to take chances, and I favor shoring up the place where I stand before reaching out to take a step into less established territory.

But I am not a conservative, or indeed at all politically conservative, at least in the way that term is currently used; in the modern conservative-vs.-liberal parlance, I am more liberal than any US politician I know of, even including Bernie Sanders.

basically the liberals are all about personal freedom and they swing from left to right depending on whose job you think it is to provide social services.

While this may be an accurate representation of the political range which is called "liberal", I suspect that it is not what the term originally meant.

I came to a realization a while back, in considering a rarely-asked question: how did the terms "conservative" and "liberal" come to be applied to the major political factions?

If you start with "conservative", you could easily be led to the idea that it started with "we don’t want to risk change" / "we want to preserve the status quo", and then later developed into "we want to go back to the old status quo, since we’ve been for that set of policies for so long". But I don’t think that’s the correct explanation.

If you look at the historical usages of the word "liberal" outside of a political context, you find that it crops up in phrases like "he spread butter liberally over his toast" and "he poured out the drinks with a liberal hand". The sense of the word here seems to be something like "unstinting".

I suspect that what happened is that one group of people wanted to spend the community’s available resources liberally, in an unstinting (or, to use a word with more negative connotations, spendthrift) fashion, for the benefit of society – and that the policies which would do that came to be called "liberal".

And then another group of people said "If we spend our resources now, we won’t have them in the future when we might really need them. Instead of spending them, we should conserve them – husband them against future need." – and the policies corresponding to that restraint came to be called "conservative".

And then, of course, both factions developed in directions that don’t necessarily match up with the descriptions of those original policies – but the labels stuck.

Even today, a lot of the stated policies of the two factions seem to match up relatively well with this origin; for example, the idea of the (presumed liberal) Democrats as the ones who want lots of government spending and taxes to match, and of the (presumed conservative) Republicans as the party of fiscal responsibility even at the cost of individual hardship.

(Neither of which is a really good representation of the truth, of course, but that’s another discussion.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Not quite...

calls for prosecution

With Trump as "president" and Republicans controlling both houses of Congress, one can only wonder why none of them have taken the initiative to do something, given how significant an issue it is.

Any reason why you’re pissed off at Hillary, yet not pissed off that the people you support and elected are too lazy to actually do something about it?

Jim says:

Huh?

Where is it illegal for a federal person to have another email address? Then, logically, Trump and pence have to be taken out of office. They have more then the law allows. It is not illegal. Or they would be in jail. Right. The people who should be in jail, are those who email secret documents to non government servers. They have not been looked at. Unfortunately, most of them are still high in the government, and still control our fate.

John85851 (profile) says:

Re: Huh?

It’s not illegal for a federal person to have another e-mail address as long as that e-mail isn’t used for federal business.
The line starts to get very gray when a federal person uses a private company as his official communication channel. This would include using a private e-mail address or server and believing it was secure enough. And it would include Trump usinghis own Twitter account to send out official Presidential communications rather than using the official @POTUS Twitter account.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Huh?

The people who should be in jail, are those who email secret documents to non government servers. They have not been looked at.

I’m assuming it’s a certain female democrat you’re talking about?

Perhaps you should wonder why the republican president and republican congress have not done so.

Or have you forgotten that you won?

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