What is it with government employees and emails?
Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email account to send some State Department messages has gotten a lot of attention and criticism.
But the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate is not the only one. The commingling of business and personal email apparently is a common practice among those working for Uncle Sam.
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and other senior American diplomats there have used personal email accounts to conduct State Department business, according to a just-released inspector general report.
And back in 2007, the George W. Bush White House revealed that as many as 5 million emails over two years had been lost. Those electronic communications were sent through private accounts controlled by the Republican National Committee and included some official messages in connection with the Administration's questionable firing of eight U.S. Attorneys.
Lerner's dog's email account: Now we learn that Lois Lerner, the linchpin in the continuing investigation into the Internal Revenue Service's questionable review of Tea Party groups' applications for tax-exempt 501(c)(4) status, used a second, personal email account to conduct tax agency business.
The account was established for "Toby Miles," which reportedly is the name of Lerner's dog.
National Review says Toby is the dog's name, and Miles is the surname of Lerner's husband, Michael Miles.
Really, Ms. Lerner? Your dog?
So far, we don't know if "Toby" discussed any 501(c)(4) requests. But still, this does not look good.
Worse, it looks amateurish.
Worst of all, it's more fuel on the fire that is the IRS house slowly burning down while Congressional Republicans dance a jig to the accompanying fiddling.
Official news via court: The Lerner personal email news came in an Aug. 24 filing with the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia in connection with Judicial Watch's Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuit against the IRS.
Justice Department attorneys, who made the filing on behalf of the IRS, stated:
In the process of preparing this status report and for the August 24, 2015, release of Lerner communications, the undersigned attorneys learned that, in addition to emails to or from an email account denominated "Lois G. Lerner" or "Lois Home," some emails responsive to Judicial Watch's request may have been sent to or received from a personal email account denominated "Toby Miles." The undersigned attorneys contacted the Office of IRS Chief Counsel, and IRS Chief Counsel attorneys informed the undersigned attorneys that these denominations refer to a personal email account used by Lerner.
The Department of Justice and IRS are reviewing prior document releases in connection with the Lerner FOIA request, as well as the search parameters used in connection with processing the request, and will provide a further update to the Court by Aug. 31.
That end-of-month update, say Justice attorneys, will include:
- whether any documents need to be re-released with different redactions;
- whether any additional searches need to be done; and
- the estimated time frame for searching and/or releasing any additional emails.
Keep 'em separated: Here's a thought, folks. Do your work at work and personal stuff at home.
If you need to send an email at 11 p.m., call your driver and head back to the office.
And if it's something you think might not be wise to send on a work email, don't send it.
Don't send it on a personal account. Don't send it under your dog's name.
Just. Don't. Send. It.
Finally, if you're questioning the message's delivery method, then you probably shouldn't do what the email is talking about either.
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