BOUSTANY: Fear Of Accountability Is Hillary Clinton’s Real Problem

Legendary Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said: “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” With recent revelations that Hillary Clinton routed all of her sensitive emails as Secretary of State through a private email server located at her New York residence instead of through secure servers at the State Department, the political chattering class has been consumed by questions of transparency and accountability. Certainly, this situation presents alarming security risks – raising questions about whether private or even classified information was made more vulnerable to our enemies. But equally as troubling are implications that we live in a time where public servants are either afraid of transparency or believe they’re simply above the law.

I’ve experienced similar troubles with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) while leading the congressional investigation into the illegal and unconstitutional targeting of conservative groups for tax-exempt status by the agency. My team of investigators and I ran into roadblocks at every turn while trying to uncover the truth, with the IRS slow-walking the production of documents and failing to be forthcoming in testimony before Congress while under oath. The agency even concocted flimsy stories about ‘lost’ emails from former Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner that were erased in a hard drive crash – and then the hard drive was destroyed. Today, that investigation is ongoing.

Our system of laws insists the American people must be able to hold their leaders accountable – but that legal system is only as good as our will to enforce it. The Constitution impresses Congress with the responsibility to conduct oversight into activities of the Executive Branch, and subsequently agencies like the IRS or the Department of State. I take that responsibility seriously. That’s why I refuse to give up the fight to get to the truth on the matter of the IRS targeting organizations based on their political beliefs, and why I support my friend and colleague Trey Gowdy in his effort to obtain this information from the State Department.

I welcome Secretary Clinton’s admission that she will make a few hundred emails from her tenure at the Department of State public. But the American people are not easily fooled. They realize that there is a difference between following the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. As public servants, it is up to us to earn the trust the American people place in us to lead.



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