Hacked emails show U.S. Commerce Sec. Penny Pritzker used a non-public email address to communicate with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair days before she declared her candidacy.
Pritzker, who’s headed the Department of Commerce since 2013, used a non-public email account to communicate with Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta, according to hacked emails released by WikiLeaks.
Pritzker publicly lists her email as “PPritzker@doc.gov” — the typical format of Commerce Department emails. Pritzker, however, uses the email “PSP38@doc.gov” to communicate with Podesta, who is using a Gmail account.
Top Obama administration officials have been caught using secret, non-public emails to conduct government business. The Associated Press reported in 2013 that some of President Barack Obama’s political appointees used secret email accounts, which “complicates agencies’ legal responsibilities to find and turn over emails under public records requests and congressional inquiries.”
Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack, for example, used a secret email account, The Daily Caller News Foundation found. Vilsack used the email “email@example.com.” to communicate with former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson on global warming talking points.
Jackson is probably the most notable Obama appointee to use a secret email account. Jackson didn’t just use a non-public account, her email was under a completely different name.
Jackson used the alias “Richard Windsor” to conduct agency business and even communicate with environmentalists. She said the alias was based on her dog and the township where she grew up.
Pritzker is only the latest to be found using a non-public email. The White House has said “there’s nothing secret” about top political appointees using secret emails.
Former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters in 2013 using non-public emails “made eminent sense for Cabinet secretaries and other high-profile officials to have what he called alternative email accounts that wouldn’t fill with unwanted messages.”
Pritzker’s email was one of more than 43,000 released online by WikiLeaks from Podesta’ hacked gmail account.
In the April 2015 email, titled “China,” Pritzker tells Podesta she and Energy Sec. Ernest Moniz were “leading a delegation of 25 clean energy companies there next week.” Pritzker wanted to chat with Podesta regarding her trip to China.
“I was your chief touter with all the relevant senior Government officials,” Podesta responded.
“Thank you,” she replied. “I will get on your calendar for the beginning of next week for a call.”
Podesta, a Democratic power-broker, worked in the White House from Jan. 2014 to Feb. 2015, so this email came just after he had left the Obama administration. Podesta left the White House to head up Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Clinton announced her candidacy nine days after Pritzker emailed Podesta.
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