By Julian Hattem – 02/17/16 10:10 AM EST
A conservative watchdog group is urging congressional Republicans to change course and mount a vigorous investigation into whether State Department officials used email accounts associated with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign for official business.
Cause of Action Institute pointed to emails seeming to show that some State Department officials continued to use their email accounts from Clinton’s campaign years after the 2008 election ended.The campaign emails, which end in hillaryclinton.com, are separate from the personal email accounts used throughout Clinton’s tenure at the State Department, which end in clintonemail.com.
The right-leaning watchdog organization pointed to a 2010 email from Clinton’s State Department chief of staff Cheryl Mills sent to the campaign account of department IT official Bryan Pagliano.
In multiple cases, people outside the department sent emails to officials’ campaign account, and then staffers responded with their State Department account. In one instance, emails to the campaign address of Clinton aide Huma Abedin appear not to have gone through, so she directs the sender to contact her at the clintonemail.com account.
On Wednesday, Cause of Action Institute wrote letters to the heads of the House Oversight and Senate Judiciary Committee urging them to investigate whether the behavior violated the law.
“The use by federal government employees of email accounts hosted by a political campaign committee has been cause for investigation in the past,” executive director Daniel Epstein wrote, citing a 2007 look into the controversial use of campaign email accounts by officials in George W. Bush’s White House.
The Clinton cases “raise a host of unanswered questions only your committees have the proper jurisdiction to investigate,” he added.
“The American taxpayers deserve to know how Washington uses their money,” Epstein claimed in a separate statement; “vigilant oversight is necessary to determine why federal officials had access to and control over campaign email accounts and whether these records should be recovered.”
Any direct investigation into Clinton’s email arrangement would be a change of pace for many congressional Republicans, who have gone to lengths to avoid a formal inquiry.
Though Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has probed some aspects of Clinton’s arrangement, Republicans in the House have taken a much more hands-off approach, potentially to avoid any hint of political meddling.