Senate President Bill Cadman (R).
9NEWS’ Jeremy Jojola reports on something you might not know, but has actually been uncontroversial standard operating procedure at the Colorado General Assembly for years:
A 9Wants to Know review of email use among public officials reveals all 100 members of the Colorado General Assembly use private accounts to conduct state business.
The policy and practice has been in place for many years, giving each individual lawmaker full control of what emails will be released when their emails become the subject of records requests under the Colorado Open Records Act…
9Wants to Know found the “state.co.us” address used by some legislators is not an actual email account, but a way for the state to re-direct all incoming emails to a private account, like Gmail or AOL.
As 9NEWS reports, the forwarding-address email system for state legislators, delivering messages to any number of private email systems, differs from other government bodies (9NEWS cites the city of Aurora as an example) with much more stringent email retention policies–and control of the email servers by an impartial public employee, whose job it is to respond to Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) requests. An email server managed by government IT staff could be configured to automatically retain copies of all emails sent and received for an appropriate length of time, and help assure that requests for open records are honestly handled.
But–surprise!–we have bipartisan consensus in the General Assembly that there’s nothing to see here.
[House Speaker Dickey Lee] Hullinghorst and [Senate President Bill] Cadman stood by the current policy, claiming it’s been working and that they can be trusted to turn over all releasable emails under the Colorado Open Records Act – even messages that may be controversial. [Pols emphasis]
“We’ve had a system in Colorado that’s worked for us for a very long time,” Hullinghorst said. “Yes, I hand it all over.”
“We’ve been CORA’d, and have provided everything that has been asked of us,” Cadman said.
It’s not like anyone would admit otherwise, right? The point is, you don’t really know. Under the present arrangement, at a certain level we just have to trust them.
Now, we’re pretty sure that Bill Cadman follows the national news, more specifically FOX News, and is therefore aware in great detail that fellow Republicans are trying desperately to gin up a scandal over exactly this sort of arrangement–a public official using a private email server with no formalized records retention policy. So, either Cadman just exonerated Hillary Clinton from the “Emailgate” controversy that the GOP is milking for all it’s worth, or…
On second thought, how much would a state-owned server for legislative emails cost again? Because that would probably be the best way for Cadman to save face. That, or Hillary Clinton appreciates Bill Cadman’s vote of confidence!
Have fun explaining this one at the next ALEC happy hour.