Vice President Mike Pence's private workplace email account will remain a secret.
The former Indiana Governor used a personal AOL account during his four years in the office, but state officials are refusing to release an unknown number of emails tied to the account after giving The Associated Press heavily redacted emails requested under the Freedom of Information Act shortly after Pence was named Donald Trump’s running mate in July 2016.
Indiana officials would not say if they were persuaded by Pence's lawyer to redact the emails, The Associated Press reported. The 1,300 released messages contain little insight into the governor's mindset as he signed laws opposing gay rights, limiting refugee settlement and addressing an Indiana HIV outbreak as the state's top official.
Indiana's government employees are prohibited from using a statehouse-issued email account to conduct political business. But it is legal for officeholders to use private email accounts to conduct their political business — so long as they archive those emails with the state. But Indiana law allows "discretionary exemptions" to FOIA requests. It can also withhold records deemed “advisory” or “deliberative,” reported The Associated Press.
“It’s hard to justify withholding information after a governor leaves office,” Nate Jones of The National Security Archive at George Washington University, told The Washington Post. “It makes it look like they aren’t subscribing to good open government practices.”
It's somewhat ironic that email has become a controversy for Pence, given that throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, he criticized former-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for using a private e-mail account for official business. Of course, Pence did not work on national security issues as the governor of Indiana, nor receive classified information as Clinton did.
But Pence used the AOL account to discuss Indiana's response to terrorist attacks and conduct a host of purely political discussions, including possibly his opinion of rising GOP star, and future boss, Donald Trump.
Which makes those redacted portions — labeled "confidential and sensitive" by state officials — all the more tantalizing.