Back in September, then–Indiana governor Mike Pence said Hillary Clinton’s handling of her emails “disqualify her from serving as president,” during an appearance on Meet the Press. “She either knew or should’ve known that she was placing classified information in a way that exposed it to being hacked and being made available in the public domain, even to enemies of this country,” Pence explained.
As Pence said this, he was using an AOL account to conduct state business — and he’d been hacked three months earlier.
IndyStar reported on Thursday that Pence routinely used his personal account to discuss state matters, such as Indiana’s response to terror attacks and an update from the FBI on charges in a terrorism case.
Following a public records request, IndyStar was given 29 pages of emails from Pence’s AOL account. An unspecified number of emails were withheld because they were deemed too sensitive, which raises further questions about why they were on an AOL account in the first place.
The vice-president’s office responded with this statement: “Similar to previous governors, during his time as Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence maintained a state email account and a personal email account. 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.”
It isn’t uncommon for state officials to use personal accounts for business, and it’s not against the law in Indiana. Pence’s office said his campaign hired outside counsel to determine which of his personal emails involved official business and should be transferred to the state. This is worrisome for all the reasons described when Clinton deleted what were ostensibly emails about her yoga routine and Chelsea’s wedding.
Of course, as secretary of State, Clinton’s emails were far more sensitive than those of the governor of Indiana. Clinton’s email controversy is also different from Pence’s because, as far as we know, her private server was never hacked.
Back in June, a hacker sent an email from Pence’s address to all of his contacts claiming that he and his wife were robbed and needed friends to wire them money. Pence joked about the incident, and an aide said he shut down that account and opened a new one.
So it appears the hack did not convince Pence that using an AOL account — especially for state business — was unwise, or make him more sympathetic to Clinton’s email issues.