What does Palin and Obama have in common?

Sarah Palin Used Alternate Email Addresses, Too

Multiple top Obama administration officials have been using secret alternate email addresses to conduct government business, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. Conservatives were already outraged by former Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson’s previously revealed use of an alias, Richard Windsor, to send emails, so this latest news has the potential to create a firestorm on the right.

The Obama administration claims there’s nothing to see here, and that officials were using the alternate addresses so they could do their jobs without having to wade through a deluge of spam. The alternate email addresses uncovered by the AP have all been governmental—the alternate email for Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of Health and Human Services, was KGS2@hhs.gov, not sebelius@gmail.com, to cite one example. Several government agencies told the AP that the alternate email addresses “are always searched in response to official requests and the records are provided as necessary.” Although the addresses themselves may be secret, the emails that are sent to and from those addresses are subject to normal government recordkeeping and public disclosure rules—at least according to the Obama administration.

The AP, however, notes that it “could not independently verify” that the Obama administration did in fact search officials’ unlisted email accounts in response to public records requests. In fact, the news agency found only one example of an email from an official’s unlisted account being disclosed in response to such a request.

Figuring out whether or not these emails are being properly archived and searched is crucial. During the presidency of George W. Bush, a scandal erupted over Bush aides’ use of private, non-governmental email accounts to conduct government business. All emails from federal employees conducting government business are usually subject to public records laws, regardless of what addresses are used to send them. But the Bush-era accounts were, unlike the Obama administration accounts, non-governmental—some, for example, were operated by the Republican National Committee. That means those emails were less likely to be archived and maintained for posterity than emails sent or received by governmental addresses.

If Obama administration officials’ secret-address emails are being archived under federal records laws and being properly searched in response to public records requests, they’re likely above board. (The administration claims that using alternate email addresses was common under past presidents, too.) If that’s the case, the secret email addresses are no more than a modern day equivalent of an unlisted phone number. But if these private emails aren’t being properly archived and searched, it may—and should—be a real scandal.

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Syrin
    Jun 06, 2013 @ 07:51:35

    So we have Obama taking a page from unethical Government by Palin.. Vindictive towards political opposition and using government entity to attack, that IRS scandal! And using private emails to conduct, essentially decieve Americans while doing government business.. Geez!


  2. lisab1138
    Jun 06, 2013 @ 08:12:08

    I think there’s a huge difference. Palin moved her emails to Yahoo, a non-government, non-secure entity. These are government addresses on government servers. That means they’re being back up because you back up entire servers, not individual addresses. The fact we’ve already seen one in response to an FOI request shows they know they exist and are looking. The fact it’s just one doesn’t necessarily mean anything more than there was just one email that pertained to the request.

    The IRS is not an White House scandal; it’s an agency scandal. Sad, to be sure, but Congress–rather than FIXING the problem by clarify statutes instead wastes our time and money by refusing to accept there is simply no evidence to tie this baby to the White House.


  3. climber357
    Jun 06, 2013 @ 08:43:26

    There is no commonality between President Obama and Sarah in this matter.

    No evidence is presented proving President Obama, himself, maintains a separate account on which he conducts official and classified White House business.


  4. Pat in MA
    Jun 06, 2013 @ 09:17:51

    grammar police: what DO Palin and Obama have in common. Alteratively, what DOES Obama have in common with Palin

    answer: nothing


  5. Jeanabella
    Jun 06, 2013 @ 09:48:18

    Wow, too much Fox or Drudge or what? There is nothing that palin has in common with our POTUS.


  6. Syrin
    Jun 06, 2013 @ 10:37:20

    Wow is right! It’s my opinion that at the very least President Obama is loose in his leadership and placing or relying on incompetent people. I don’t know, what I’m reading these days is very similar to the shenanigans that Palin and her cronies were doing! From charging millions for gov FOIA docs to using government entities to attack opposition.. Good government is good leadership! Good leadership comes from the top! IMHO Palin of course is on a much smaller scale mind you but frighteningly similar. Thanks for the grammar fix. I’m pretty sure had the content been different, it wouldn’t have matter.. Oh FYI I don’t watch Fox, thats been stated many times in the last 6 years. But, to be balanced, I will start today! The accusation that I’m intellictual less than you because of what I read or watch is old and is not necessary to make your point. Maybe it is.


  7. ivyfree2
    Jun 06, 2013 @ 11:24:59

    So they have a public email address and a private email address that is fully backed up because it’s a government server. I’m not seeing the problem here. I’ve emailed the President numerous times (and the First Lady) and while I usually click the box that says, “no answer required” on the times I’ve omitted that, I’ve received an answer. No, it’s not personal and I don’t expect it to be.

    Seriously, Syrin, what idiot would EXPECT public email addresses to be everything they use? Can you imagine the kind of spam they’d get from repugs? How many million idiots have access to the internet and would send everything they have? Move along, people… nothing here…


  8. Rosie
    Jun 10, 2013 @ 13:50:17

    People need to chill out. I guarantee you EVERY human has a work account and a personal account. I have 4 total. Junk, work, family/friends, and the one I use for the Boards I am on.

    I am not saying shady shit doesn’t happen, but it’s isn’t natural toonly have one account. Especially, if you’re me and receive literally 10000 emails a day.


  9. Barbara
    Jul 06, 2013 @ 17:59:03

    For the love of God, please either learn to use spell check or consult a dictionary. Your grammar is atrocious and you spelled intellectual as “intellictual”.

    Your hatred and bias toward President Obama is showing yet again. This is a non-issue and you know it. You’ll feel right at home watching Fox news, except you’ll have to learn to love Sarah. But you’ll get there, you are both racists at heart.


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