According to a Thursday report from The Indianapolis Star, former Indiana Governor Mike Pence reportedly used a private email account, suggesting that he didn't take proper security measures while dealing with potentially sensitive state information. The publication obtained the emails through a public records request that revealed Pence oftentimes used his personal AOL account. Though it may not seem like a big deal, Pence's use of a private account raises more than one valid concern — especially when you consider the way Hillary Clinton was attacked for her use of a private email server as secretary of state.
First of all, any information about the government Pence communicated via his own personal account could have been vulnerable to hacking. And that point has already been proven, because Pence's account was indeed reportedly hacked over the summer of 2016. Secondly, state servers, as opposed to personal accounts, ensure that a politician can be held accountable for what he or she says via email.
Despite the concerns, Pence's Washington office released a statement insisting the vice president didn't break any rules as governor of Indiana.
Technically, Pence didn't break any state laws by having a private email account as governor. However, the state maintains that all government business be recorded and made accessible to citizens who request it — something Pence's office said they are working to ensure. Email conversations that are particularly sensitive though, do not have to be released to the public.
The discovery doesn't look good for Pence, who routinely criticized Clinton for her mishandling of government business on a private email server. In a September 2016 interview with NBC's Meet the Press — months after his own personal account had been hacked — Pence spoke his mind on Clinton's handling of sensitive government information.
To be fair, however, there are some key differences between the two situations. According to The Indianapolis Star, Pence's spokesman Marc Lotter called any comparison between Pence and Clinton "absurd" because as a state governor, Pence wasn't responsible for securing federal information. Still, Pence's statement from September seems a bit hypocritical taking into account the circumstances.