- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 19, 2015

The chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary ordered an inspector general Thursday to review former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s email practices to determine if her use of a personal server ran afoul of laws protecting classified information.

Sen. Chuck, Iowa Republican and a long-standing transparency advocate, also asked Mrs. Clinton’s successor, Secretary John F. Kerry, to provide information on Mrs. Clinton’s aide, Huma Abedin, and the work she did while employed by both the State Department and private company Teneo.

Mr. Grassley has been investigating whether Ms. Abedin should have been allowed to be designated a special government employee, which entitled her to work for both the State Department and the private firm, and he said that investigation may have been stymied by the email practices of both Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Abedin.

“Any email searches that may have been conducted in response to my letters are likely incomplete as the department apparently did not have any access to Secretary Clinton’s or Ms. Abedin’s email records on that server,” Mr. Grassley wrote in his request to Inspector General Steve Linick, who is the official watchdog within the State Department.

Mr. Grassley asked Mr. Linnick to detail when he became aware of Mrs. Clinton’s private email, whether he’s opened an official investigation, and whether the former secretary should have taken more care with regard to classified information.

He asked the inspector general to find out why Mrs. Clinton didn’t sign a separation document certifying she’d ceded all classified information back to the government, and he also asked whether Ms. Abedin signed a separation document.

“We have received the letter, and it is being reviewed,” said Doug Welty, a spokesman for the inspector general.

Mrs. Clinton acknowledged earlier this month that she exclusively used her own email server and account to conduct her State Department business. Nearly two years after she left office, she turned about 30,000 emails over to the department that she said she had determined were work-related, and she said she did not keep more than 30,000 others she ruled were personal.

She said she used her own email because it was more convenient than using both an official account for public business and a private one for personal affairs such as her yoga schedule or her daughter’s wedding plans, and she said she believed she was covered under open records laws because she tried to email other government employees on their official accounts so that the emails could be stored.

Ms. Abedin reportedly also used Mrs. Clinton’s email server.

Those practices could have compromised dozens of open records requests made by the public and Congress, since Mrs. Clinton’s emails were not available to be searched.

The State Department last week agreed in federal court to reopen one open records case involving Mrs. Clinton’s communications, in what is a tacit admission the department has not been doing proper searches.

Mrs. Clinton has said she complied with the law, which she said gives government employees the power to determine which of their communications are public business and which are strictly private matters that don’t involve their official government roles.

House Speaker John A. Boehner earlier this week demanded Mrs. Clinton turn her server over to an independent third party. He said Thursday that options include an inspector general, a retired judge or a professional archivist.

“We need the secretary to do the right thing here,” Mr. Boehner said.

Mrs. Clinton has rejected that plan, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi defended that stance on Thursday.

“Hillary Clinton should not be treated any differently than any other secretary of state,” the California Democrat said, adding that she sees the GOP poised to conduct “ongoing” investigations of Mrs. Clinton for political purposes.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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