Vice President-elect Mike Pence — who with President-elect Donald Trump repeatedly criticized Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server during the campaign — is in court fighting to keep the contents of an email of his secret.
The Indianapolis Star reported that while he was governor of Indiana, Pence redacted documents when challenged on his decision to hire outside counsel to join a lawsuit against President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
In 2014, Pence joined the lawsuit against Obama spearheaded by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, hiring outside law firm Barnes and Thornburg to handle the litigation.
The Texas case eventually reached the Supreme Court, which deadlocked on the issue, effectively blocking Obama's immigration actions from moving forward.
After Pence got involved in the case in 2014, Indiana Democratic labor lawyer William Groth requested documents related to Pence's decision to hire the outside firm to handle the case while getting paid by taxpayer money.
Pence produced the documents in the request "but those documents included substantial redaction," according to court documents. The 57-page response also included an email that Daniel Hodge, Abbott's chief of staff, sent to 30 recipients in various states asking them to join the lawsuit against Obama. The message included an attached white paper, but the governor failed to produce the document, according to court records. After a yearlong trial, the Superior Court held that the issue was not a matter for the courts to decide, citing a Indiana Supreme Court case decided just days before.
An initial court battle ensued after Pence redacted the white paper from the email. So far, the state courts have agreed that the issue of redacting the email is not an issue for the court to decide.
Groth has appealed and arguments are scheduled for Nov. 21.
The debate over Pence’s email comes on the heels of a contentious presidential election where Pence and Trump regularly called for the FBI to release Hillary Clinton’s emails to the public after it was made known that she had used a private email server while serving as secretary of state.
Thousands of Clinton’s emails were eventually made public by the State Department. Her campaign chair's emails were also hacked.
One week before the election, Pence went on Meet the Press and called for Clinton aide Huma Abedin to release emails that were under scrutiny by the FBI.
Pence spokesperson Kara Brooks told BuzzFeed News his office cannot comment on ongoing litigation.