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Pence used AOL email on governor business, got hacked

Use of private email for state business isn't illegal in Indiana, but it raises security concerns because, well, the account was hacked.

Vice President Mike Pence routinely used a personal email account to conduct official -- and sometimes sensitive -- business while he was governor of Indiana.
Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence routinely used a personal AOL account for sensitive state business, including discussions about homeland security issues, while he was governor of Indiana, the Indianapolis Star reported Thursday.

One of the emails, obtained through a public records request, relayed an update from the FBI regarding the arrests of several men on federal terror-related charges, the newspaper reported. While the arrangement doesn't violate Indiana law, the state requires all records dealing with state business to be retained and available for public information requests.

Use of a personal account raises questions about security, especially considering it was compromised last year. A hacker sent fake emails to his contact list last June claiming Pence and his wife had been attacked in the Philippines, the newspaper reported.

Use of a private email account for government business also raises transparency concerns since personal emails aren't automatically stored on state servers, making them invisible to public records requests. But Pence's office said Thursday that the contents of the email account are being archived in accordance with the law.

"Similar to previous governors, during his time as Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence maintained a state email account and a personal email account," Pence's office said in a statement to the Star. "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."

The newspaper reports that the Pence administration took four months to fulfill the public records requests and that there is no indication that Pence took any such steps to preserve his AOL emails until he was leaving the governor's office.

The use of private email servers by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was a major issue pressed by Donald Trump, her rival in the election.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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