The House of Representatives is officially going to launch an investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server. Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) confirmed on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, that the committee is going to launch a probe into federal recordkeeping, revolving around the problems of Clinton’s server. The investigation is not supposed to target just Clinton but all federal record keeping. Speaking to the Hill Thursday, Chaffetz said, “If there are problems, noncompliance, we’re going to dive into that.”
Chaffetz discussed the proposed investigation in an interview last week, “The Oversight Committee has jurisdiction on the Federal Records Act, and we intend to pursue that. We also have jurisdiction on FOIA [the Freedom of Information Act], so if you’re not providing emails, it begs the question of your compliance under FOIA. So, I’m not specifically trying to target the secretary, but when she creates her own private email system, she’s ensnarled herself. I’m trying to be as cautious as I can. I don’t think we should be any harder on her, but I don’t think we should be any easier on her. It’s bigger and broader than just Hillary Clinton.”
Previously the House of Representatives stayed out of directly involving themselves in Clinton’s email scandal. House Republicans avoided any probe until now out of fear that any investigation into Clinton’s emails would result in partisan attacks about their intentions especially in an election year with Clinton the Democratic frontrunner.
To avoid conflict, the House left the FBI to conduct any investigation into Clinton’s possible misconduct by sending sensitive national security information through an unsecured email server. Chaffetz promised that his committee’s investigation is not about partisanship since the Federal Records Act and Freedom of Information Act is under their jurisdiction. Chaffetz said the problem is more than about Clinton, saying it is “bigger and broader than just problems at the State Department.”
Continuing, the chairman explained, “They seem to be the worst offender, but you also have this problem at the Department of Defense. Anybody who would use a nongovernment server to interact on government business is in violation. That’s just been known for a long time, that is the law. [Clinton] is by no means the only violator. I’m still looking at it from 60,000 feet, and wondering who’s violating it, how are they doing it and how do we get them to be in compliance. The inspectors general keep issuing reports, and we’re not ignoring those.”
The committee, however, plans to go beyond the FBI’s investigation, not only looking at Clinton’s email but general federal recordkeeping problems. Committee member and supporter Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) explained, “Certainly the FBI, they should do their investigation. There are all kinds of questions – and again, not just about Secretary Clinton, but in general. So of course that’s something we should look at.”
Speaking about Clinton’s email Jordan justified, “Look, we have jurisdiction over [the] Federal Records Act. And if it’s appropriate, and I think it is, for us to look at that, I think we should do it in a professional way. Look, there were 60,000 emails. She got to decide which ones were private and which ones went to State Department. Then the State Department got to further screen. We have yet to learn the date parameters, search terms, who had the final say.”
The Senate is operating a similar probe under the Homeland Security Committee and Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, (R-Wisc.) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) are cautioning against the investigation and stepping into a partisan quagmire, preferring to leave the investigation to the FBI. Former Speaker of the House John Boehner, (R-Ohio) felt the same not allowing Chaffetz to start any inquiry.
The probe comes days after the State Department revealed that they have retroactively classified 22 of Clinton’s emails, and news that Secretary of State John Kerry sent secret information to Clinton from his iPad and private email when he was Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.