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News Friday, Mar 6 2015

EXPOSED: GOP's Dazzling Display of Hypocrisy

Mar 06, 2015

Republicans have been quick to point the finger after the recent e-mail controversy. But attempts to score quick political points has only invited scrutiny into their questionable e-mail practices. They should look in the mirror before reciting their talking points.

Check out these articles calling out the GOP for their humiliating hypocrisy.

MSNBC: Jeb Bush owns his own email server

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush owns the server that runs [email protected], the personal email account he used as governor to conduct official, political and personal business.

Asked who controls the server that operates that email address, Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell responded: “He owns it.”

The server was housed in a state-owned office building during the years that Bush served as governor, from 1999 until early 2007. A Bush source familiar with the situation said there were “digital security” measures in place to protect Bush’s emails, but declined to elaborate on how the server and its data were physically and digitally kept from harm.

The existence of Bush’s private email address was widely known to the public and to the press when he served as governor, and he routinely fielded public and press inquiries himself using the address.

Under Florida’s sunshine law, Bush was required to release the emails that related to conducting state business. Those emails are available online. A Bush aide said there was a process in place to decide which emails fell into that category and that Bush staffers and his general counsel’s office decided which ones to release.

The Hill: Dem group slams Jeb for ‘hypocrisy’ on emails

The Democratic opposition group American Bridge sees hypocrisy in former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s criticism of Hillary Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email account while at the State Department, according to a memo obtained by The Hill.

“Bush’s attempt to score political points exposes him to a powerful hypocrisy attack,” Steven D’Amico, the group’s research director, writes in a memo to its president, Brad Woodhouse.

“As governor, Bush used private emails; thus far he has not disclosed them all.”

The memo highlights media reports that Bush’s team chose what emails were turned over, noting that the final release included 250,000 emails, less than half of the 550,000 emails he’s said he received on his personal account.

Bush relied heavily on his personal email address while governor, which was common knowledge, and he regularly received mail from Floridians. He released 250,000 personal emails ahead of his potential run for president.

He also criticized Clinton soon after Times report, touting his own email release.

The American Bridge memo also points to media reports that Bush may have broken the law by not immediately turning over his emails upon leaving the governor’s mansion.

POLITICO: Hillary Clinton email flap creates awkward GOP silence

If it seems like the GOP presidential field has been unusually silent this week as scrutiny mounts over Hillary Clinton’s email practices, there’s a logical explanation: Many of them are tormented by their own email demons.

At least a half-dozen 2016 Republican prospects have felt the sting of sustained negative press coverage over their email practices, with the common denominator being an attempt to sidestep public scrutiny attached to official government accounts.

But the email troubles that have dogged the GOP presidential hopefuls are also the hallmark of an upwardly mobile class of politicians whose ambitions led to sometimes elaborate attempts — often by aides — to avoid leaving a public, electronic trail.

In Wisconsin, as a result of a three-year probe of Gov. Scott Walker’s tenure as Milwaukee County executive — an investigation that ended in 2013 — prosecutors asserted that some of Walker’s aides set up a separate, private Internet network. Through that, staffers could send emails, via Gmail and Yahoo accounts, about both political and official business, and the use of private accounts took place even beyond that server. While Walker never faced charges, the private emails and the mixing of county and political work proved central to charges levied against two former staffers. Both pleaded guilty, though one is appealing.

As early as Monday, Bush called for the release of Clinton’s unclassified emails. He quickly received a comeuppance: Democratic opposition research shop American Bridge circulated a story Wednesday suggesting that, like Clinton, Bush also operated his own email server to give him a greater ability to keep some of his emails private.

Texas Tribune: Et tu, Rick? Perry Has Own Private Email Trail

While Rick Perry has joined Republicans casting stones at Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account while she was secretary of state, it seems the former governor is not without sin.

However, Perry is no stranger to using a personal email account to discuss state business, according to two lawmakers familiar with email exchanges involving the governor that surfaced two years ago. The extent to which Perry used his personal account over the years in unclear, but legislators and open-government advocates said it seriously undercuts his criticism of Clinton.

“I just think sometimes it’s wise for Gov. Perry to sort of look in the mirror before he looks at his talking points,” Martinez Fischer added.

Martinez Fischer’s account was confirmed by former state Rep. Naomi Gonzalez, who said Wednesday the situation raised a “red flag.”

“It did set off an alarm for me that Gov. Perry would be doing state business on personal email,” said Gonzalez, an El Paso Democrat who also sat on the committee.

Perry’s case illustrates the political challenge some Republicans face as they seek to capitalize on the controversy surrounding Clinton without inviting scrutiny of how their own offices use or used email. For example, even as he criticizes Clinton, Democrats are pointing out that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush had his own private email account during his gubernatorial tenure. Bush last month released a trove of emails from his time as governor, a move he was quick to point outMonday night after The New York Times revealed Clinton’s email activities.

Joe Larsen, a First Amendment attorney, called it hypocritical for Perry to criticize Clinton for apparently skirting email disclosure when he was frequently criticized for doing the same as governor. Perry’s office took heat over the years for deleting emails every seven days, a period Gov. Greg Abbott extended to 30 days immediately when he took office in January.

“Quite frankly, it’s ridiculous for Perry to be out there complaining about Clinton because his situation is no better, if not worse,” said Larsen, who sits on the board of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.–

The Daily Beast: It’s Not Just Hillary: Scott Walker’s Email Controversy

But Hillary is not the only one with an email problem. Can you say Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor and Republican 2016 frontrunner?

Before Walker was elected governor, when he was Milwaukee County executive, Walker’s staff kept a secret email system and set up a secret wireless router in Walker’s government office that commingled government and campaign business on private Gmail and Yahoo email accounts.

On top of that, county employees were doing campaign work on government time and, by extension, on the taxpayers’ dime—in violation of state law. As the story goes, one of Walker’s aides, Darlene Wink, copped to a misdemeanor guilty plea, and got off with probation for doing campaign work during office hours. Kelly Rindfleisch, Walker’s deputy chief of staff when Walker was county executive, pleaded guilty to a single felony count for spending “significant time” working as a fundraiser on government time for Brett Davis, Walker’s running mate.

But it didn’t end there. Brian Pierick, one of the secret website’s webmasters, was convicted of enticing a minor. Another Walker webmaster, Timothy Russell, was sentenced to two years in prison and five years’ probation for stealing from a veterans group, using the money for trips to Hawaii and the Caribbean, and formeeting with Herman Cain’s presidential campaign on the veterans’ tab.

Despite a public that demands transparency, more often than not politicians crave keeping us in the dark.

Published: Mar 6, 2015

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