Hillary Clinton: Don’t give her a free pass

Hillary Clinton, a well-educated and politically established woman, used her personal, private email account to conduct federal business within one of the highest offices held in the United States. This secrecy should have completely obliterated Clinton’s chances of running for president. 

However, it has not, as she officially announced her candidacy on Sunday, turning ongoing media coverage of her potential run into distributions of her campaign video. As the media stirs with the possibility of a female president, voters should not prioritize electing a woman, regardless of her actions, for office above holding government officials to high standards. 

The public cannot conduct an independent review of Clinton’s personal email account because she has refused to turn over her server. Her advisors selected which emails to turn over for review by the federal government.

The investigation into Clinton’s emails and the discovery of the use of her personal email came last month as a result of the federal investigation of facts surrounding her involvement in the Benghazi scandal. Missing emails still cloud the facts of that day. 

In addition to using a private email server for conducting government business, the Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars in contributions from foreign governments, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, while she held office as the nation’s top diplomat. Conflict of interest? Probably. 

Foundation officials have acknowledged that they did not follow the process required by the State Department Ethics Office when accepting certain donations. One donation from the Algerian government was accepted during a time when Algeria was spending heavily to lobby the State Department on human rights issues. The foundation did not announce the donations, but The Wall Street Journal discovered them during a search of donations of more than $50,000 on the foundation’s online database.

Regardless of party affiliation, politics or gender, Clinton’s actions are unjustifiable. 

She is a public figure and should adhere to the more finely combed expectation of her position. 

The 2005 State Department policy on “sensitive but unclassified information” explains that government employees should conduct “normal day-to-day operations” through the State Department’s official email system. 

What many people do not realize is that Clinton was not just using a Gmail or Yahoo account. She used her own email server equipment, not a commercial Internet service provider. This allowed her to keep all records of her email account solely in her possession. There is no cloud holding her emails, no service provider — such as Google — that can be subpoenaed and no way that anyone will know if she has deleted emails from the server. 

The media and the public are not treating Clinton with the scrutiny that the situation deserves simply because she is on the path to becoming our first female president.

Clinton acknowledged that every federal government official should turn over emails sent through a personal account and that she has taken “unprecedented steps” to turn over her work emails.

Rachel Maddow is blaming the State Department for not collecting the emails in the first place, rather than putting the responsibility on Mrs.Clinton, as a government official and presidential candidate who should be worried about transparency now more than ever. 

During a discussion on “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on March 11, Rachel Maddow said, “The media noise and static and nonsense around her is so loud, it’s very hard to have effective reporting that people might actually care about, about what she’d be like as a national leader.” 

The story surrounding her use of a private email server is what she would be like as a national leader. The media’s coverage of this story is important because it is giving a small glimpse into the secrecy and sneakiness that is Clinton politics. 

Voting for her simply because it is “time for a woman president” is a mistake. Her actions strongly suggest that if elected she will not play by the rules as she ignored them for four whole years as Secretary of State.

Should we elect a woman who accepted charitable donations from foreign governments while holding the highest-ranking appointed position, which is principally concerned with foreign affairs?  Absolutely not.

Those who are “ready for Hillary” need to take an objective look at the situation. Otherwise, the scandals won’t just last as long as a news cycle ­— they will last 4 years. 

As a female, I would love to see a woman rise to the highest-ranking office in the United States. Several female members of Congress and the Senate have achieved great things, and we have exceptional women currently serving as governors across the nation.

Voting for a woman because she is a woman is not empowering — it’s the opposite. It does not shed light on her accomplishments but rather makes the sheer fact that she is a woman the reason for her success. Casting a vote for Hillary is not “casting a vote for women,” it is a blatant disregard of her incompetency. The presidency is meant for the most qualified, trustworthy and capable candidate, which is not Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Write to Patricia at [email protected].