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FOIA News: The DOJ’s Director of Public Affairs Used Gmail to Send a Work Email. Is That Legal?

FOIA News (2017)Kevin SchmidtComment

The DOJ’s Director of Public Affairs Used Gmail to Send a Work Email. Is That Legal?

By Jacob Brogan, Slate, Mar. 2, 2017

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had spoken twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 campaign. While Sessions’ objections to that news were mostly dubious, some were drawn to another aspect of his official response. On Twitter, Edward-Isaac Dovere, Politico’s chief political correspondent, noted that Sarah Isgur Flores, the Department of Justice’s director of public affairs, was using her personal Gmail account to reply to reporters.

In some cases, government officials may rely on such alternatives in an attempt to evade scrutiny. But as James Valvo, counsel and senior policy adviser for Cause of Action told me, the issue also remains widespread because it’s simply more convenient for government representatives to work through their personal accounts. “A lot of this is getting caught up in ease of response. But that’s no excuse,” he said.

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