If Hillary Clinton runs for president, she’ll be running against a party whose chief complaint about Barack Obama is that he functions as if he’s “above the law.” Revelations that during her four years as Secretary of State Clinton chose to communicate through her own personal email–rather than a State Department account–will give Republicans (and rival Democrats) ample opportunity to characterize Clinton, too, as “above the law.”
Clinton may indeed have broken the rules with her choice. (The National Archives and Records Administration requires that personal email be used only in “emergency” situations.) But the larger problem is perception: government is accountable to the people, and for accountability to work there must be a record. Clinton’s rogue choice to communicate outside official channels neglects this basic requirement. She never even had a State Department email, according to the reports. So Clinton essentially functioned like an outside consultant at State, not an employee. Get ready for revived “Where are the Benghazi emails?” and more questions like it. And Clinton will have no one to blame but herself. Lack of transparency–in 2015–is an unappealing quality in a candidate.