Officials Using Private Email to Keep Out of Public Record

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Most people have multiple e-mail accounts, including government officials. And that's made it harder for reporters and other members of the public to shine a light on how government business is conducted. 

This week, ProPublica, the on-line investigative news agency, published a story about the use of private email accounts among some members of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's staff. Wrote reporter Justin Elliott:

Aides to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo are sending emails from private accounts to conduct official business.

I know because I got one myself. And three other people who interact with the governor's office on policy or media matters told me they have too. None of the others wanted to be named.

Government employees are not allowed to use private e-mail accounts for state business unless they receive authorization to so do, but Elliott told WNYC's Amy Eddings that when he tried to find out whether members of the Cuomo administration had special permission, they declined to comment.

“When he was running for governor, Andrew Cuomo actually put out a document that said he was actually going to use technology to bring more sunlight to the operation of government. I think the use of private e-mail accounts really is at odds with that promise,” Elliott said.