From the Department of “Imagine If Republicans Did this Kind of Thing”


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) is riding a compelling Hillary Rodham Clinton story. It’s not so much about her quite-possible presidential run. Nor is it about the Clinton family’s foundation. Nor Benghazi. It’s about how Clinton is attempting the impossible: Turning a speech into something approaching an off-the-record occasion.

This morning, the former secretary of state was in Atlanta for a speaking engagement before the National Association of Convenience and Fuel Retailing (NACS). As the AJC reported yesterday, members of the media were barred from the session. Today it reported that a “cone of silence” had descended on her remarks. “Convention officials banned all video and sound recording, social media, and naturally, journalists,” wrote the AJC’s Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway.

I am pretty sure that Hillary Clinton will indeed run for president again in 2016. I am also pretty sure that lots of people in the media share my assessment. Shouldn't they be calling Clinton out on her lack of transparency?

Another Blow Against Government Transparency

I can understand rather easily the problems that come with an overwhelmed e-mail account--you should take a look at what my Gmail inbox has become--but secret government e-mail accounts  for "top Obama administration appointees" is a bad idea. One cannot issue a comprehensive FOIA request if one does not know which e-mail accounts those FOIA requests are supposed to cover, after all, and while it may never have been the intention of the Obama administration to frustrate FOIA requests, that is functionally what they are doing by handing out secret e-mail accounts to members of the administration. And secret e-mail accounts obviously have the capacity to frustrate a great many congressional oversight efforts.

Of course, no one should really be surprised by the fact that secret e-mail accounts are proliferating inside the administration: 

Late last year, the EPA's critics - including Republicans in Congress - accused former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson of using an email account under the name "Richard Windsor" to sidestep disclosure rules. The EPA said emails Jackson sent using her Windsor alias were turned over under open records requests. The agency's inspector general is investigating the use of such accounts, after being asked to do so by Congress.

An EPA spokeswoman described Jackson's alternate email address as "an everyday, working email account of the administrator to communicate with staff and other government officials." It was later determined that Jackson also used the email address to correspond sometimes with environmentalists outside government and at least in some cases did not correct a misperception among outsiders they were corresponding with a government employee named Richard Windsor.

Remember when the Obama administration boasted about being open and transparent? That was funny.