Byron York questions who could hold her accountable if Hillary Clinton becomes President.
We already know that Congress seems to have no way of holding a President accountable. But Byron York points out in the Washington Examiner that when it comes to dealing with Federal email, Congress is especially impotent. Ironically, this is partially because of a law they passed.
The Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014 clearly states that email used to conduct government business is part of the Federal record. No Federal office holder is supposed to conduct government business using a private email account that isn’t recorded.
Obviously, this is exactly what is at issue with Hillary Clinton’s State Department emails.
But there is a problem. Byron York writes,
That’s pretty clear. All presidential communications must be preserved in a timely fashion.
The next paragraph of the law stipulates that federal employees who intentionally violate the Presidential Records Act are subject to “disciplinary action” as determined by the “appropriate supervisor.” Such punishments can include suspensions and cuts in pay and rank.
None of that, of course, applies to the president of the United States. As far as the chief executive is concerned, there’s no enforcement mechanism in the law.
“The Presidential Records Act is set up on the notion — like all of our laws — that people are going to comply,” notes a lawyer who follows these issues after service in the Justice Department in both the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations. “There isn’t really a clear legal way to hold the president accountable for this stuff.”
I really doubt this fact was missed by Barack Obama or his attorneys. But if, by some small chance, he is not doing Presidential business on a secret server, we can be quite sure that will be the practice of Hillary Clinton once she becomes President. If she was willing to do it as the Secretary of State then she will obviously be willing to do it when she gets an even more powerful position. Who would stop her? The only thing she might try to avoid is letting the public find out.
“Ultimately, this relies on the presence of some ethical people around the president, who feel obliged to blow the whistle on wrongdoing they can’t rectify internally,” says Bradford Berenson, who served in the George W. Bush White House counsel’s office, “plus congressional overseers (dependent upon the opposite party having one house of Congress), and finally, the press.”
I really doubt any of that will do much to stop her.