In reading about the State Department inspector general’s report on Hillary Clinton’s violations of long-established rules of government records management, I recalled a briefing from President George W. Bush’s chief of staff when I joined the president’s administration as one of his appointees.
Andrew Card was talking about all the rules of procedure, conflicts of interests to avoid and loyalty to the president. He said there were volumes of data to inform the conduct of senior government officials.
In trying to understand it all, he said, an even higher standard could be a good guide: “Listen to your inner voice — that moral authority inside all of us. When faced with a decision about your conduct, you will instinctively know right from wrong. Follow that voice.”
In Clinton’s latest appearance on ABC’s This Week, stubbornly defending her unauthorized use of her private email setup designed to conceal her communications from public view, she asked, “I mean, what do people want?”
I’ll answer her question, but first let’s consider responses from her opponent, Bernie Sanders, and indulgent mainstream media following the latest revelations.
For those not familiar with the role of inspectors general — there’s an office like this in almost every department of the federal government — here’s a brief description:
The nonpartisan watchdog was designed by Congress to identify and investigate fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement of any kind within the government.
During my years of service inside the federal system, I developed a respect for the dedication of these men and women, who take their assignment very seriously.
It’s the high calling of informing the American people of what the nation’s elected, appointed and career servants are doing in carrying out their oaths to “preserve, protect and defend” our liberties.
As you surely must know by now, the State Department’s IG has found Clinton in violation of the important rules of managing public information contained in about 60,000 emails concealed on her private server inside her home.
She eventually released some of those emails for the public record, including more than 2,000 containing classified material, but we still don’t know what was in those she erased.
The IG report cites State Department officials responsible for ensuring the security of electronic information as saying “the use of non-Departmental systems creates significant security risks.”
Sanders, who once famously declared that neither he nor anyone else cared about her “damn emails,” has changed his mind.
He now believes her actions in violation of agency policy should cause super delegates who hold the key to her nomination to reconsider their support of Clinton and come over to his side.
Meanwhile, even The New York Times, in a May 26 editorial, issued rare criticism for her continued declarations that she has done nothing wrong.
“Contrary to Mrs. Clinton’s claims that the department had ‘allowed’ the arrangement, the inspector general also found that she had not sought or received approval to use the server.”
The Clinton-adoring Washington Post editorial writers also weighed in, describing the IG’s exposure of her lies about having gotten permission for her unique arrangement with herself and calling her behavior an inexcusable, willful disregard for the rules.
I don’t know if Hillary Clinton has deafened herself to her inner voice of honorable authority or if she even has one.
She has confessed she made a mistake. I’m betting she knew it when she did it. And, then did it anyway.
So the answer to her question I cited at the start of this column, for me at least, is to recognize that she is wholly unsuited to be our president and should shut down her attempt to gain that office.
Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor and served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.