While serving as governor of Indiana, now-Vice President Pence used a private email account to conduct state business, including the discussion of sensitive issues and homeland security, according to a report by USA Today. The same personal account was hacked last summer.
Pence communicated via a personal AOL account with top advisers, according to emails released in a public records request. The topic of emails included the state’s response to terrorist attacks and an update about the arrests of several men on federal terror-related charges, relayed from the FBI by a top adviser.
Indiana law does not prohibit public officials from having and using personal email accounts. However, the law is usually interpreted to mean that official business conducted over private email should be preserved for records.
In a written statement Thursday, Pence’s office said that all the proper steps were taken.
“Similar to previous governors, during his time as Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence maintained a state email account and a personal email account. As Governor, Mr. Pence fully complied with Indiana law regarding email use and retention. Government emails involving his state and personal accounts are being archived by the state consistent with Indiana law, and are being managed according to Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act.”
Pence’s office said outside counsel was hired to review his private emails and make any necessary transfers to the state as he was leaving his job as governor.
Thirty pages of emails were released, and an unspecified amount were not released because of sensitive information.
Pence’s account was compromised last summer by a scammer who sent an email to Pence’s contacts claiming that the governor and his wife were stranded in the Philippines and needed money.
Pence was an outspoken critic of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, accusing her of trying to keep her emails out of public reach and exposing classified information to potential hackers, after it was revealed that she used a private server and email account as secretary of State.
Pence spokesman Marc Lotter told USA Today that any comparison between Pence and Clinton is “absurd” and that Pence wouldn’t have been dealing with such sensitive or federally classified information.