Hillary was asked by Issa committee about private e-mails in 2012, refused to answer

Letters leaked to the New York Times reveal that Hillary Clinton was asked while still in office as secretary of state whether she used a personal e-mail account to conduct official business, and she never answered.  Michael S. Schmidt writes:

The query was posed to Mrs. Clinton in a Dec. 13, 2012, letter from Representative Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Mr. Issa was leading an investigation into how the Obama administration handled its officials’ use of personal email.

“Have you or any senior agency official ever used a personal email account to conduct official business?” Mr. Issa wrote to Mrs. Clinton. “If so, please identify the account used.”

Mr. Issa also asked Mrs. Clinton, “Does the agency require employees to certify on a periodic basis or at the end of their employment with the agency they have turned over any communications involving official business that they have sent or received using nonofficial accounts?” (snip)

When Mr. Issa received a response from the State Department on March 27, all he got was a description of the department’s email policies. According to the letter, any employee using a personal account “should make it clear that his or her personal email is not being used for official business.”

There is no legal penalty for failing to respond to congressional question to the executive branch, but the letters establish that Mrs. Clinton was on notice that her use of a personal e-mail account contrary to State Department rules was an issue of interest to Congress.  And it thereby establishes motivation for her subsequent erasure of the hard drive as evasion of the constitutional requirement of congressional oversight.

Leaking the letters to the New York Times places the question on the news agenda of the mainstream media, no matter how anxious they are to avoid anything that reflects badly on the Democrat likely nominee.  Unquestionably, the Team Hillary strategy will be to stonewall and then deride the question as old news as the prsidential debates near.

Hillary’s defenders are falling back to the claim that this revelation will not sway anyone who is already committed one way or another on Hillary, but that’s a weak salve for the morale and momentum of her campaign.  It also means that in her Iowa debut, she will continue to evade anyplace where questions can be posed to her by serious people.