By Greg Smith
As a senator from New York, Hillary Clinton voted for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the government’s response to the accounting irregularities that brought down Enron, Arthur Andersen and other corporate giants.
One of the main requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley is the obligation that businesses not only maintain complete records – including emails – but the records must be maintained in a manner that allows they be searched quickly and methodically to comply with any government investigations. The only way to achieve the latter requirement is to store them electronically.
It is worth noting the Senate voted 99-0 in favor of Sarbanes-Oxley, so these requirements were and are considered quite reasonable and necessary.
When Congress began investigating the murder of four Americans in Libya including the U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, it naturally wanted to see the electronic communications that passed among government officials regarding the attack. Clinton waited years to turn over any emails, deleting them all and providing only paper copies of about two-thirds of them, saying the other third were personal.
Imagine Clinton’s response were she still in the Senate and a company CEO showed up in front of her Committee on Environment and Public Works as it investigated large-scale illegal dumping of toxic chemicals. The CEO points to an 18-foot-tall pile of paper and tells the committee his company’s IT department printed 55,000 pages of the emails deemed to be related to the query and deleted all 85,000 pages of emails from its server. She and everyone else would ask the obvious: ‘What are you hiding because there is no other reason to turn over paper instead of electronic copies?’
Clinton keeps saying she did nothing illegal – “I am not a crook” doesn’t roll off the tongue? — using her own email server, deleting thousands of emails before investigators could see them or turning over only paper copies of those she did provide. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act Clinton supported means following the law is not good enough, businesses must do so in a transparent manner.
Why is it partisan to expect as much of the secretary of state, and why does Clinton think she and the rest of our government don’t owe us at least as much transparency as Walmart? ©
Greg Smith is a freelance writer and political consultant who lives in Bantam, CT. His blog is found at www.betterfatthanfascist.com.