Her Emails, Not Her Emails
Last year, Ivanka Trump, a top advisor to the president, used a private email domain owned by her and her husband Jared Kushner to send over a 100 official government emails, the Washington Post reported on Nov. 19. Established in 1978, the Presidential Records Act (PRA) requires all records from the President's administration to be preserved. In 2014, the PRA was amended to include social media practices, and stress the sensitivity of hacking or mishandling information.
The White House launched an investigation after American Oversight, a non partisan watchdog group, filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the Departments of Education, Commerce, Labor, Treasury and the Small Business Administration (SBA) seeking a paper trail of all communications between Ivanka Trump and The White House or anyone speaking on her behalf.
"The president’s family is not above the law, and there are serious questions that Congress should immediately investigate," said American Oversight Executive Director Austin Evers.
"President Trump and senior leaders in Congress have made it very clear that they view the use of personal email servers for government business to be a serious offense that demands investigation and even prosecution, and we expect the same standard will be applied in this case," stated Evers.
After a month of no response, American Oversight filed a suit against the five departments ordering them to hand over said emails and texts. The watch dog group dismissed the lawsuit against SBA after they produced the requested documents.
Ivanka Trump started using her email to communicate official White House business before she was subject to White House records rules, according to the Washington Post. However, in the emails acquired by American Oversight they revealed she occasionally used her personal server after she was an official employee.
Several of the emails obtained by American Oversight were not initiated by Ivanka Trump. In April of 2017, Treasury Department official Dan Kowalski sent an email to her personal account seeking to set up a meeting with her father, President Donald Trump.
“My apologies for reaching out to you on your personal email for this, but it is the only email I have for you. I feel it is an important enough opportunity to reach out in this way," he wrote, according to an email recovered by American Oversight
After the news broke, many drew comparisons between her and Hilary Clinton's email scandal. In a statement, Trump suggested that she was unaware or misunderstood the email policy, but vowed to stop immediately.
“There’s the obvious hypocrisy that her father ran on the misuse of personal email as a central tenet of his campaign, there is no reasonable suggestion that she didn’t know better. Clearly, everyone joining the Trump administration should have been on high alert about personal email use,” Evers added.
Since the discovery by American Oversight, several democrat congressman have vowed to launch an investigation into the scandal. House Oversite Committee incoming chairman Rep. Elijah Cumming expressed disappointment in the White House's handling of the scandal. According to Politico, the committee launched a bipartisan investigation into the White House official's email's, but were never given the information they requested.
“We need those documents to ensure that Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and other officials are complying with federal records laws and there is a complete record of the activities of this Administration” Cummings added.