While governor of Indiana, Mike Pence used an AOL account for state business

Mike Pence.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

While serving as governor of Indiana, Vice President Mike Pence often used a private AOL email account while conducting official business, sometimes corresponding with top advisers about homeland security matters and other sensitive topics, the Indianapolis Star reports.

The IndyStar made a public records request, and the office of Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) released more than 30 pages from the account, but declined to make additional emails public that the state considers too confidential to share with the public. The account was hacked last summer, with a scammer sending an email to all of Pence's contacts saying the governor and his wife were attacked in the Philippines, had their money and phones stolen, and desperately needed money. There is no law in Indiana against public officials using personal email accounts, but the law has usually been interpreted to mean that any official business done on a private email must be saved for public record purposes, IndyStar reports.

Pence's Washington office released a statement Thursday saying he "maintained a state email account and a personal email account. As governor, Mr. Pence fully complied with Indiana law regarding email use and retention. Government emails involving his state and personal accounts are being archived by the state consistent with Indiana law, and are being managed according to Indiana's Access to Public Records Act."

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During the 2016 presidential campaign, Pence and his running mate, Donald Trump, were outspoken in their criticism over Hillary Clinton using a private email server while secretary of state. Cybersecurity experts say it's worrisome that there were emails sent from Pence's account that Holcomb says are too sensitive to be released. "It's one thing to have an AOL account and use it to send birthday cards to grandkids," Justin Cappos, a computer security professor at NYU, told IndyStar. "But it's another thing to use it to send and receive messages that are sensitive and could negatively impact people if that information is public."

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for TheWeek.com. Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.