A White House spokeswoman on Friday said that US Vice President Mike Pence “did everything to the letter of the law” after public records revealed that he used a private e-mail account to conduct public business as Indiana’s governor.
The Indianapolis Star reported that e-mails provided through a public-records request show that Pence communicated with advisers through his personal AOL account on homeland security matters and security at the governor’s residence during his four years as governor.
The governor also faced e-mail security issues. Pence’s AOL account was subjected to a phishing scheme last spring, before he was chosen by US President Donald Trump to join the Republican presidential ticket. Pence’s contacts were sent an e-mail falsely claiming that the governor and his wife were stranded in the Philippines and needed money.
As Trump’s running mate, Pence frequently criticized rival Hillary Rodham Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server as then-US president Barack Obama’s secretary of state, accusing her of purposely keeping her e-mails out of public reach and shielding her from scrutiny.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said to reporters on Air Force One that state and federal laws are different.
Efforts to turn over the messages to be archived are “why anybody even knows about the account,” she said.
“He did everything to the letter of the law,” she said of Pence.
Pence spokesman Marc Lotter said that “the comparison is absurd” because Clinton had set up a private server in her home at the start of her tenure at the US Department of State and, unlike Clinton, Pence did not handle any classified material as Indiana’s governor.
The governor moved to a different AOL account with additional security measures, but has since stopped using the new personal account since he was sworn-in as vice president, Lotter said.
Lotter said Pence “maintained a state e-mail account and a personal e-mail account” like previous governors in the state.
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