In the latest iteration of the Hillary Clinton is-it-a-scandal email story, Gawker sued her comms chief/Beacon Global Strategies founder Philippe Reines — a man best known among bloggers for telling a BuzzFeed writer to “f*ck off” in 2012.
The site officially filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit on Friday after running a story in which a source claimed that it wasn’t just Clinton herself who used a personal email address to conduct official government business: aides including Reines and Huma Abedin did so too. (Associated Press filed the same suit earlier in the week.)
The implication is that Clinton and her aides used these email addresses to avoid unwanted press scrutiny by bypassing the requirement that all such official messages be archived for review. Clinton defended the practice, in part, by claiming that all such emails would be saved by the recipient whether she used an official address or not.
Many journalists weren’t happy with that answer.
Reines later replied to Gawker, calling the original story “creepy” and naming the source (who alleged worked with him in some federal capacity) as “lying liar pants on fire.” The subsequent email thread makes for a fun case study in combative media relations. From Reines:
“You’d be surprised how many reporters deliberately email government officials to their personal accounts. You’d be equally surprised to know that when they did, I moved the exchange to my state.gov account because, between you and me, my personal account is about the last place I want to be emailing reporters or conducting work.”
He continued, arguing that “there are legitimate non-nefarious reasons” for officials using non-official accounts and claiming that he’d “be far happier with you all having a field day poring through my largely boring and tedious email” in the first place.
Given the FOIA filing, Gawker obviously did not believe him.
It’s a pretty good demonstration of why the email controversy threatens to seriously disrupt Clinton’s still-unofficial campaign. She might also benefit from some less abrasive representatives.