October 30, 2015

Maggie Hassan’s Private Email Problem

Maggie Hassan has more in common with her preferred presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, than a shared commitment to continuing President Obama’s failed policies. They also share a tendency to avoid transparency at all costs when it comes to their emails.

News reports show that Hassan’s office and lawyers have stonewalled and obfuscated open records requests every step of the way, only allowing scraps of information to be released to the press and public. The Concord Monitor reported in April:

A month’s worth of Hassan’s emails, released to the Monitor by her office, had all mention of Hassan blacked out.

In all the copies of emails Hassan had sent in February, her email address and her name were redacted. 

That makes it impossible to see which email address she used to send each message, and hard to verify whether she even wrote the email.

It’s also just a fraction of her emails; 47 she sent in February were not released.

Why? Here’s one potential explanation: it came to light as a result of the Monitor’s sleuthing that Hassan has used a private email account to conduct state business:

During the month of February, Hassan did use her personal email account on two occasions to conduct official state business, said Legal Counsel Mary Ann Dempsey, who reviewed Hassan’s personal account in response to the Monitor’s right-to-know request.

Hassan “inadvertently communicated about governmental business to staff on her personal account,” she said. About what exactly? It’s unclear.

Despite the fact that Hassan’s personal emails involved public business, Hassan’s lawyers refused to release them:

“Those documents constitute attorney-client privilege, drafts, notes, and/or deliberative processes under the Executive Privilege and are therefore exempt from disclosure,” Dempsey wrote in a memo.

The other 47 emails sent in February were not released to the Monitor because of similar reasons, Dempsey said.

It’s unclear what Hassan is trying to hide, and whether she is prepared for the scrutiny that will undoubtedly come with a U.S. senate campaign.