David Brock: The story is another example of GOP efforts to create a phony controversy
Hillary Clinton's email practices didn't break the law, he says
Editor’s Note: David Brock is founder and chairman of the Democratic super PAC American Bridge and Correct the Record. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.
How do Republicans try to breathe new life into an old scandal? We’ve seen it time and time again. Here’s how it works:
Step One: Republicans, with nothing in their arsenal to use against Hillary Clinton, selectively leak to reporters a “scandalous” tidbit – often one that has been previously reported.
Step Two: The new media bites.
Step Three: The media hyperventilates and suffocates the airwaves with repetition of the same story.
Step Four: Upon further examination, the story falls apart.
This is exactly how the latest media hype, this time over Hillary Clinton’s use of emails at the State Department, has played out. And it presents yet another chapter in the Benghazi hoax.
The New York Times story about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account at the State Department is a perfect example of “gotcha” journalism, where reporters will take any bait the Republicans give them without proper vetting. The New York Times has a history of this. (Whitewater, anyone?)
Yes, Clinton used a private email account to communicate while she was secretary of state. But so did secretaries of state before her. According to the State Department spokesman Marie Harf, John Kerry is the first secretary of state ever to rely primarily on official State Department email.
In October 2014, 18 months after Clinton left, the State Department was engaged in the process of updating its records preservation policies. The State Department asked every secretary of state dating back to Madeleine Albright to provide records, including emails, from their time in office. Clinton responded to the State Department’s request for emails, providing the department with over 55,000 pages of emails. She did so months ago. Clinton has been fully transparent and has asked the State Department for these emails to be made public.
Republican investigators seeking to hype the current Benghazi investigation leaked the issue to keep a dying investigation alive.
And once again, reporters bit. In the days since The New York Times posted its story, there have been dozens and dozens of stories written on the topic. Why?
Because the Clintons are held to a double standard when it comes to media scrutiny. Their perfectly usual, above board behavior is spun as secretive and unaccountable – while Republicans are left relatively unscathed.
Scott Walker’s County Executive’s office used a secret email system, which investigators determined was being used to engage in campaign work on county time and to avoid public records disclosure laws.
Mike Huckabee’s office had files, including emails, cleaned and physically destroyed, including “travel records, calendars, call logs, and emails.”
Why hasn’t their behavior been scrutinized over and over again? Because their last name isn’t Clinton.
In the end, all we are left with is the benign fact that Hillary Clinton used a personal email account at the State Department. This isn’t even a revelation – it has been known for years. Looks like the Republicans wasted their breath, once again, for nothing.