SAINT PAUL, Minn — On Thursday, news broke unveiling that Vice President Mike Pence used a personal email during his time as Governor of Indiana. The term “Mike Pence” was the top trending story on Facebook throughout the day on Friday. News also suggests Pence’s email server was hacked. According to the Indianapolis Star, Pence emails were housed with AOL.
Pence was not the only Governor to use a private email server. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has and still uses his personal AOL account. According to a 2015 report by WCCO’s Pat Kessler, Dayton has not used the government account assigned to him since his election in 2008. According to a statement from the Governor’s office in 2015, “[Dayton uses] one email account for his government service, political, and personal emails. He is financially responsible for all costs associated with all of its uses.” According to Kessler’s article, “Dayton’s government emails are encrypted and he has two spyware programs for additional security.”
“It’s been simpler for 15 years to just be able to do it straightforward,” Dayton told WCCO at the time, “I pay the cost and there’s no question about whether I’m using government property for personal or political purpose. And for 15 years no one has raised a question about it.”
However, the administration has the right to delete emails at will. According to a Star Tribune report in October 2016, only emails deemed to record official transactions must be kept. Anything falling outside of the scope may be deleted by the Governor’s office. Dayton’s emails are part of public record, however, there is no telling whether all government emails sent via AOL are accounted for.
Dayton and Pence are not the first people to use a private email. Hillary Clinton came under fire during her campaign for using a personal email and withholding them from public record. Many government officials have been caught using personal emails.
While there are critics of Dayton’s private email, lawmakers have not proposed new legislation to change the current handlings of his emails.