Hillary Clinton's e-mail problem hangs around like the stink from dirty athletic socks. The State Department's Inspector General reported to Congress that the former Secretary of State violated federal rules regarding the use of private email to conduct official business. She refused to cooperate with the internal investigation by her former agency, and was criticized in the report for her failure to preserve federal records. The report focuses on how Clinton's e-mail setup was never cleared by State Department security that was concerned with hacking attacks on official communications. According to the Inspector General, Clinton, "had an obligation to discuss using her personal e-mail account to conduct official business". Her failure to do so is a violation of the public trust. Neither the Bureau of Diplomatic Security nor the Bureau of Information Resource Management approved her use of a private email account because of the inherent security risk involved. However, managers actually told two nervous staffers who raised concerns to be quiet about the Secretary's private e-mail arrangements.
Her private blackberry device was not error free. At one point the idea for Secretary Clinton to carry two devices because her personal e-mail server was was down, one for official communications and one for personal business, was considered but rejected. Her private service also had problems connecting to the State Department's own state.gov domain addresses. Apparently Ms. Clinton insisted on using the private account because an official account could be subjected to disclosure in a FOIA suit. As it turned out her private server did not afford the Secretary the privacy she craved since her private account became the subject of disclosure lawsuits too once its existence and use for official business was revealed by Associated Press.
Even more problematic for the now presidential candidate is the effect this email scandal is having on her lagging campaign. The FBI criminal investigation of Clinton's insecure treatment of classified information is expected to end soon, but legal experts say it is unlikely Clinton will be charged with a felony criminal offense. She has been unable to eliminate rival Bernie Sanders, who has enjoyed a string of primary victories lately, and her failing performance against Donald Trump in polls continues to create concern about her ability to win the general election. The Democratic convention promises to be an interesting, if not rigged, process.