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Should Politicians' Personal Email Accounts Be Off-Limits?

Should Politicians' Personal Email Accounts Be Off-Limits?

Sarah Palin's Great Yahoo Purge of '08 has left a few dangling questions, and not just the identity of the "Anonymous" who cracked her inbox. Now that we've seen the screenshots, it appears as though Palin might have been using her personal account for crossover business-type communication. But most people have more than one email account, right? And sometimes depending on what's handiest or easily web-accessible, you might switch back and forth. Do the rules on personal email accounts change if you're a public official?

Though the emails weren't found to contain anything too damaging (or interesting really) critics are now locking sites on the fact that she was using a Yahoo account to begin with, saying that the move is somewhat Rovian (as in Karl) in nature. In 2007 the White House admitted that Rove and some of the higher ups used RNC email addresses for their correspondence, and because of this, some emails were hard to find when needed for various inquiries. Apparently right after Palin took office, her aides discussed the benefit of private email accounts, noting that messages sent to Palin's Blackberry "would be confidential and not subject to subpoena." With the confidential nature of the missives coupled with the notoriously hackable platform, should public officials shun private email altogether — or do they have a right to offers from Nigerian businessmen offering them great financial gains in private, too?


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