Hillary Clinton: Secretary of State Scandal

Earlier this month, Hillary Clinton was found using a personal email account to manage government business as secretary of state. In doing so, Clinton violated requirements that officials’ communication be held under government records.

During her four-year term, Clinton never created a government email, and instead knowingly used a personal e-mail without being preserved under department servers, which is required by federal law.

It was not until January that Clinton’s advisers scanned through thousands of emails and debated on which ones to release to the State Department in order to fulfill the records needed by the federal department. In total, 55,000 pages of emails were handed over to the department. The immense use of her personal email shocked not only citizens of the United States, but also officials of the National Archives and Records Administration. According to the New York Times, what Clinton did was a “serious breach” in security.

First-year and political science student Brendan Legel believes Clinton’s actions were uncalled for.

“The rule of law is a definition that comes to mind when a politician deliberately tampers with evidence and no punishment is administered,” Legel said. “My dad was a [Certified Public Accountant] and the IRS required them to keep all email and other work documents in hard files for at least seven years after the related events.”

Some people, such as spokesperson Nick Merrill, have come to Clinton’s defense claiming she was in compliance with the rules of the federal law. However, any incoming and outgoing e-mails created by any government official, such as the secretary of state, are always considered government records. In this case, they are supposed to be held by government officials so congressional committees, historians, and members of news media can easily access them.

In reaction, Clinton stated she thought it would be easier to just use one email instead of two. “Looking back, it would have been better if I’d simply used a second account and carried a second phone,” Clinton said.

Though she has not officially stated whether she will be running for president in 2016, her candidacy has certainly been shaken by scandal. Luckily for Clinton, there have not been any outstanding democratic contenders, making her overall nomination seem safe for right now. Furthermore, it is unlikely that this scandal will have any long-term consequences, considering Election Day is still far in the distance, and most candidates have yet to state if they are even running. If Clinton becomes the Democratic Party nominee, the scandal will be only a distant memory of the past.

However, due to the timing of when the emails are supposed to be released, this controversy might linger with Clinton for longer than she wants. It might take several months for the emails to be released, and the story could potentially resurface and stir up trouble for her when the information becomes available to the public.

On Friday, March 27, it was announced that Clinton deleted all of her emails on her private server. Furthermore, the Benghazi committee is no longer receiving emails from her, her scandal is now open to a third-party investigation and Republicans are not going to relent. Most of what the Benghazi committee reported, the public already knows. However, many speculate the drama will continue to unravel about what and when she knew the information over the next year. Unfortunately for Clinton, this might carry on for the next year, meaning it might carry well over into campaigning season.

“An official of the United States represents the United States and as such, the representation of us must be well documented and granted for revision in order to ensure that we as citizens are properly represented,” Legel continued. “By having her own server, she violates this trust which isn’t the best thing to do.”

Despite all the commotion, recent polls were conducted through CNN and CBS showing not many supporters have changed their mind about Clinton. According to CBS, two-thirds said that news of the email scandal did not have an impact on their already formed opinions. For fewer than 3 out of 10, opinions of Clinton have worsened.

“I think it has been blown out of proportion,” thesis student Jim Dickey said. “It’s unfortunate that this will likely have a negative impact on her campaign.”

Contrarily, Clinton’s favorability ratings were not as strong according to CBS. Only 26 percent had a positive view of Clinton, and 37 percent had a negative one. This is a 12-point drop from fall of 2013 and a 31-point drop from her favorable 57 percent rating as secretary of state.

“It’ll be one of the many spectacles that political science interested students like myself will enjoy reading about because I’m 70 percent sure that she will ultimately win this next election and I want to see how she does it,” Legel concluded.

Clearly there are months separating Clinton and Election Day, but the email scandal is far from finished and will continue to be scrutinized by many. Fortunately for Clinton, it appears this debacle will in fact fizzle out.


Information taken from npr.org, usnews.com, huffingtonpost.com and politico.com

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Allen Serrell

    “…Clinton violated requirements that officials’ communication be held under government records.”

    “During her four-year term, Clinton never created a government email, and instead knowingly used a personal e-mail without being preserved under department servers, which is required by federal law.”

    Hello, I’m a political science/public policy student who has been following this story fairly closely, and the truth is a lot more complicated than that.

    To support my claim, I’ve included a somewhat unusual article from Politifact (link below) where not even they “…decided not to put Clinton’s claim [that she fully complied with every rule] on the Truth-O-Meter, because there are a lot of unknowns.” the main takeaway from their assessment: “..the truth isn’t so clear cut.”

    I understand that no news outlet can be perfect (so don’t feel too bad, this happens!), but transparency is paramount when mistakes are made…however large or small the readership. At this point, I think it is fair to request a correction, which I hope to see in your next issue. Please contact me if you disagree and would like to discuss this further.


    1. Staff

      Thanks Allen! We will run a correction in the next issue.

Leave a Reply