A long-time Hillary Clinton supporter who heads the nation’s second largest teachers’ union says she was aware of the former Secretary of State’s personal email address before the New York Times reported its existence two weeks ago.
Randi Weingarten, a donor to Clinton’s previous presidential run and to the Super PAC backing her likely 2016 bid, said on Twitter over the weekend that the existence of the email account was not "secret."
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Asked if she was aware of the personal email account, firstname.lastname@example.org, before the Times published its scoop, Weingarten gave a one-word reply: "yes."
Weingarten did not respond to emailed follow-up questions, making it difficult to know whether she had personally emailed Clinton or whether they discussed official business or personal matters.
However, her admission suggests that Clinton allies were aware of her use of a personal email address—run on a custom, self-hosted web domain—even as the State Department stonewalled reporters and congressional investigators seeking Clinton’s emails.
State’s refusal to turn over those emails has resulted in two lawsuits by news organizations, additional legal action by conservative groups, and a subpoena from a select House committee investigating the 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi.
Investigators involved in the latter effort first requested emails to and from Clinton a week after the attack took place. More than a year and a half later, State turned over a number of documents—but no emails to or from Clinton.
Subsequent document requests turned up emails from Clinton’s personal address. But State was telling reporters in the meantime that it could not locate emails between Clinton and some of her top advisers.
However, even political supporters such as Weingarten appear to have corresponded with Clinton, or at least been aware of her personal email address.
Asked last year whether she would support Clinton’s candidacy, Weingarten played coy. "Frankly, I don’t know whether she’s running or not," she told the Educational Writers Association.
However, she has heaped praise on the likely Democratic nominee. AFT members "feel like she’s their colleague, that she’s their champion, that she is someone who worked doggedly in 2008 or worked doggedly as their senator."
The union itself is a major donor to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, the former secretary of state’s primary means of staying in the political spotlight since leaving her post.
AFT has donated between $1 million and $5 million to the foundation, according to the foundation’s website, including a $250,000 contribution last year. The AFL-CIO, with which AFT is affiliated, has donated as much as $50,000.
Weingarten is also deeply involved with the Democracy Alliance, a shadowy left-wing donor club that includes a number of high-profile Clinton supporters. DA donors Steve and Amber Mostyn are founding members of Ready for Hillary. Another DA donor, Susie Buell, has given the group $25,000.
Weingarten has cited DA-supported groups pushing back against criticism of Clinton over her private email. She has promoted work by Media Matters, a pro-Clinton research outfit backed by millions in DA funds, to try to stem criticism of the former secretary of state.