Politics

Hillary Clinton Email Flap Creates Awkward GOP Silence

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker acknowledges people in the gallery during Governor's State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature in the Assembly chambers at the state Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker acknowledges people in the gallery during Governor’s State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature in the Assembly chambers at the state Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

 

(Politico) – If it seems like the GOP presidential field has been unusually silent this week as scrutiny mounts over Hillary Clinton’s email practices, there’s a logical explanation: Many of them are tormented by their own email demons.

At least a half-dozen 2016 Republican prospects have felt the sting of sustained negative press coverage over their email practices, with the common denominator being an attempt to sidestep public scrutiny attached to official government accounts. While the scope and scale of the controversies range widely — and they’re not comparable to the Clinton circumstances — their histories with electronic communications have left them with their own unique vulnerabilities on the issue.

In part, it’s a reflection of the governor-heavy nature of the field of Republican 2016 prospects: Gubernatorial offices tend to be subject to rigorous open records requirements, making email standards and practices a politically combustible part of their portfolio. Senators, by contrast, don’t face similarly demanding transparency standards.

“My approach as chief of staff was to try to minimize [email], period, and certainly minimize email exchanges with the governor,” said Ray Sullivan, who worked for former Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry. Asked whether that was out of concerns about how the emails would look to the public, he laughed and replied, “Yes. Look, when you’re in the heat of decision-making, in the heat of crisis communications or natural or manmade disaster situations, it is easy to be really blunt, or use shorthand, or use language that can be misconstrued, or could offend people.”

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