Good questions to ask Hillary Clinton about her emails

Even though Hillary Clinton has tweeted today that she wants the "public to see her email," there are some mighty good questions that still need to be asked and answered about her (private?, secret?) account.

What difference does it make? (Chicago Tribune photo)

What difference does it make? (Chicago Tribune photo)

They come from the Sunlight Foundation, "a nonpartisan nonprofit that advocates for open government globally and uses technology to make government more accountable to all." In other words, they're for "transparency" and the right of Americans to know about what their government is up to.

 Clinton broke her silence today with her offer to, supposedly, come clean. Here's what she tweeted:

I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible.

Aside from the laughable idea the State Department reviewing her emails, the foundation notes that her private email system (including the server that she installed in her home) "does not sound like a casual undertaking, but rather, that something that would require a great deal of planning, effort and oversight."

Hence the  foundation has some pertinent questions  that she should honestly answer if she's not just covering up, again:

  •  How many advisers worked on this project? What are the names of these advisers? Who chose them? What are their backgrounds? What qualifications do they possess that made them suited to this task? Are they familiar with the provisions of the Federal Records Act, and the responsibilities of officials covered under the act?
  • What criteria where they given for determining whether an email should remain secret or be turned over to the State Department? Were these written criteria, and if so, will they be made public?
  •  Were some in positions of authority to review the work of others? Did each adviser have authority to determine which emails should remain secret, and which should be turned over the State Department? If there was a process to review the work of advisers, what was it? If a particular email caused a dispute among advisers as to whether it should be turned over the State Department or kept secret, who would resolve it?
  • Were the advisers paid for their work? How much were they paid, and how many hours did the review take? Who paid them? Did they work for the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation or the Clinton Family Foundation? If so, would such an undertaking meet the purpose for which charitable organizations are granted tax exemption? If some other entity paid for their services, please disclose its name. If you paid them personally, please disclose records documenting the payments.
  • Did the advisers volunteer their time? If so, please provide a good faith estimate as to how much their time would be worth. If the advisers volunteered their time, were they also earning income for other employers? Could you provide us with the name or names of the employers for each volunteer? Did they have to take leaves of absence from their employers to work on this task?

I guess this will be viewed as raw politics by the nasty right-wingers who are just looking for something, anything, they can use to nail Clinton.  And no doubt Fox News is gleeful about the chance. But I'm more inclined to agree with this view ("Hillary Clinton plays fast and loose with emails and democracy.")

Even the Left is upset with Clinton, although some, such as Rush Limbaugh see a leftie conspiracy to make a big deal out of this in a clever attempt to dump the "centrist" Clinton and install someone more on the wild-eyed left to run as the Democratic presidential nominee.

Whatever the politics of it--and it's quite overdone--the substantive issues remain, and I don't think (like President Nixon's 18 minutes of missing tape recordings in the Whitewater scandal) that they'll soon disappear.

For information on my award-winning historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812," visit: http://www.madness1812.com

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