Indiana laws permit public officials to use personal email accounts for government business, so it does not appear that vice-president Mike Pence violated any laws when he opted to use his personal AOL account to communicate sensitive governmental information; however, he certainly thwarted the state's open records laws, and also exposed that information to hackers who made off with it.
Pence's office in Washington said in a written statement Thursday: "Similar to previous governors, during his time as Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence maintained a state email account and a personal email account. 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."
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb's office released 29 pages of emails from Pence's AOL account, but declined to release an unspecified number of others because the state considers them confidential and too sensitive to release to the public.
That's of particular concern to Justin Cappos, a computer security professor at New York University's Tandon School of Engineering. "It's one thing to have an AOL account and use it to send birthday cards to grandkids," he said. "But it's another thing to use it to send and receive messages that are sensitive and could negatively impact people if that information is public."
Pence used personal email for state business — and was hacked
(Images: Mike Pence, Gage Skidmore, CC-BY-SA)