Beyond Clinton, many 2016 hopefuls have used private email

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Hillary Clinton -- last updated 10/10/2014
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Beyond Clinton, many 2016 hopefuls have used private email
INDIANOLA, IA - SEPTEMBER 14: Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to a large gathering at the 37th Harkin Steak Fry, September 14, 2014 in Indianola, Iowa. This is the last year for the high-profile political event as Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) plans to retire. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
INDIANOLA, IA - SEPTEMBER 14: Former President Bill Clinton speaks to a large gathering at the 37th Harkin Steak Fry, September 14, 2014 in Indianola, Iowa. This is the last year for the high-profile political event as Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) plans to retire. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
INDIANOLA, IA - SEPTEMBER 14: Former President Bill Clinton and his wife former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton attend the 37th Harkin Steak Fry, September 14, 2014 in Indianola, Iowa. This is the last year for the high-profile political event as Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) plans to retire. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
INDIANOLA, IA - SEPTEMBER 14: Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) greet the crowd as they arrive onstage at the 37th Harkin Steak Fry, September 14, 2014 in Indianola, Iowa. This is the last year for the high-profile political event as Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) plans to retire. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
INDIANOLA, IA - SEPTEMBER 14: Former President Bill Clinton and his wife former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton attend the 37th Harkin Steak Fry, September 14, 2014 in Indianola, Iowa. This is the last year for the high-profile political event as Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) plans to retire. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
INDIANOLA, IA - SEPTEMBER 14: Former President Bill Clinton and his wife former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton along with U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and a host of Democrats on the 2014 ballot, greet the crown at the 37th Harkin Steak Fry, September 14, 2014 in Indianola, Iowa. This is the last year for the high-profile political event as Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) plans to retire. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
INDIANOLA, IA - SEPTEMBER 14: Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to a large gathering at the 37th Harkin Steak Fry, September 14, 2014 in Indianola, Iowa. This is the last year for the high-profile political event as Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) plans to retire. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
INDIANOLA, IA - SEPTEMBER 14: Former President Bill Clinton and his wife former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Ruth Harkin share a light moment during the 37th Harkin Steak Fry, September 14, 2014 in Indianola, Iowa. This is the last year for the high-profile political event as Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) plans to retire. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
EAST HAMPTON, NY - AUGUST 16: Hillary Rodham Clinton signs copies of her book 'Hard Choices' at BookHampton on August 16, 2014 in East Hampton, New York. (Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images)
EAST HAMPTON, NY - AUGUST 16: Hillary Rodham Clinton signs copies of her book 'Hard Choices' at BookHampton on August 16, 2014 in East Hampton, New York. (Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images)
Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives to sign her book 'Hards Choices' at the Bunch of Grapes bookstore on Martha's Vineyard on August 13, 2014. Clinton on August 12 denied attacking US President Barack Obama over his foreign policy in Syria and Iraq, insisting she was looking forward to 'hugging it out' with the US leader when they meet at a party later this week. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JULY 23: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a during a round table event to launch the 'Talking is Teaching: Talk Read Sing' campaign at the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute on July 23, 2014 in Oakland, California. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched the 'Talking is Teaching; Talk Read Sing' campaign in partnership withToo Small to Fail and the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Foundation that encourages parents and caregivers to close the word gap by talking, singing and reading to children every day from the birth. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and US President barack Obama (R) are greeted by Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (C) at her residence in Yangon on November 19, 2012 . Obama arrived in Myanmar for a historic visit aimed at encouraging a string of dramatic political reforms in the former pariah state. AFP PHOTO / Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) looks on as US President Barack Obama (2nd L) speaks during a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda (2nd R) on the sidelines of the East Asian Summit at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on November 20, 2012. During the two-day East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Obama was scheduled to hold talks with the leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) along with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Japan's Yoshihiko Noda. AFP PHOTO / Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton board Air Force One at the airport in Yangon on November 19, 2012. Huge crowds greeted Barack Obama in Myanmar on the first visit by a serving US president to the former pariah state to encourage a string of startling political reforms. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 06: Hillary Rodham Clinton, former United States Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady of the United States, speaks during the presentation of the German translation of her book 'Hard Choices' ('Entscheidungen' in German) at the Staatsoper in the Schiller Theater on July 6, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 06: Copies of the German translation of the book 'Hard Choices' ('Entscheidungen' in German) by Hillary Rodham Clinton, former United States Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady of the United States, stand on display at the Staatsoper in the Schiller Theater on July 6, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama(2nd-L), First Lady Michelle Obama(L) along with former president Bill Clinton(3rd-L) and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton(4th-L) take part in a wreath-laying ceremony in honour of the late 35th president of the US John F. Kennedy at Kennedy's gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery on November 20, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Commenting on the size of the drinks at Arthur Bryant's Barbecue restaurant, President Barrack Obama (middle), prepared to sit down to talk and eat with Victor Fugate (left), Mark Turner, and Becky Forrest (right) during a visit to Kansas City on Tuesday, July 29, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (Shane Keyser/Kansas City Star/MCT via Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - JUNE 20: Hillary Rodham Clinton appears on stage during 'A Conversation With Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton' at the Long Center on June 20, 2014 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - APRIL 27: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a speech during a townhall session with the Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative (YSEALI) at Universiti Malaya on April 27, 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The U.S. President is on an Asian tour where he is due to visit Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Philippines. (Photo by Rahman Roslan/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - JUNE 20: Hillary Rodham Clinton appears on stage during 'A Conversation With Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton' at the Long Center on June 20, 2014 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - JUNE 20: Hillary Rodham Clinton appears on stage during 'A Conversation With Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton' at the Long Center on June 20, 2014 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 06: Hillary Rodham Clinton, former United States Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady of the United States (R), speaks next to Christoph Amend, editor in chief of Zeit Magazin, during the presentation of the German translation of her book 'Hard Choices' ('Entscheidungen' in German) at the Staatsoper in the Schiller Theater on July 6, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 27: (L-R) First lady Michelle Obama, daughter Sasha Obama and U.S. President Barack Obama attend the Marine Barracks Evening Parade on June 27, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Marine Barracks Evening Parade is a tradition held in Washington and is in it's 57th year. (Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 27: (L-R) First lady Michelle Obama, daughter Sasha Obama and U.S. President Barack Obama attend the Marine Barracks Evening Parade on June 27, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Marine Barracks Evening Parade is a tradition held in Washington and is in it's 57th year. (Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar-Pool/Getty Images)
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waits to speak at the World Bank May 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. Former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim joined others to speak about women's rights. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama, right, walks with Hillary Clinton, U.S. secretary of state, left, and Derek Mitchell, U.S. ambassador to Myanmar, after arriving at Yangon International Airport in Yangon, Myanmar, on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. Obama hailed Myanmar's shift to democracy and urged more steps to increase freedom in the first visit to the former military regime by a U.S. president. Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) gestures as US President Barack Obama (2nd R) finishes a meeting with Myanmar's President Thein Sein (R) at the regional parliament building in Yangon on November 19, 2012. Obama met Myanmar's reformist leader Thein Sein during a landmark visit to Yangon aimed at encouraging political reforms. AFP PHOTO / Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (L) and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (2nd L) walk past US representatives including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) during a welcoming ceremony at Government House in Bangkok on November 18, 2012. President Barack Obama arrived in Asia on November 18 to intensify a US foreign policy pivot towards the fast-rising region on his first overseas trip since re-election, including a landmark visit to Myanmar. AFP PHOTO/Christophe ARCHAMBAULT (Photo credit should read CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images)
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ATLANTA (AP) - Hillary Rodham Clinton continues to catch heat for her extensive use of a private email account to conduct official business while she was secretary of state. But the Democrats' 2016 presidential favorite isn't the only White House hopeful whose transparency has come into question.

Several current and former governors who are considering a presidential run have found ways to delay or prevent public scrutiny of their communications while in office. That includes Republicans who have criticized their potential Democratic rival.

"Hillary Clinton's potential evasion of laws is something she should answer questions about," said Kirsten Kukowski, spokeswoman for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who once used a private email system as executive of Milwaukee County.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, both Republicans, also criticized Clinton, even though they each used private emails when they held the post as their state's top executive.

A "patchwork" of federal and state public information laws was written "for the era of paper records" that now "aren't serving us well" in the digital age, said Charles Davis, journalism and communications dean at the University of Georgia and an expert on public information laws.

"This is the bedeviling thing: It's good-government law that rests on the honesty and transparency of public officials," he said. "If a government official sets out on a mission to lie to the public or withhold from the public by using private email or some other means, there's not much we can do about it."

Potential White House aspirants now in Congress - including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders - play by a different set of rules than governors. The federal Freedom of Information Act applies only to executive agencies. A request to an agency subject to the act could turn up a letter from a member of Congress, but those members do not have to turn over the documents themselves. Nor do they have to make public any other correspondence, office visitor logs or telephone call sheets that might open a window about who wields influence in their office.

Here's a closer look at how some of the potential 2016 candidates have handled access issues:

JEB BUSH

The former Florida governor, a Republican, made a splash recently by releasing thousands of emails from his two terms, a move that was required under Florida law. Bush also used a private email account, although not exclusively, and he acknowledged that while in office. Like the former first lady, Bush owned the server. And, just as with Clinton, there are questions over the methods he and his associates used to decide which emails to disclose.

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CHRIS CHRISTIE

New Jersey law exempts from disclosure agency records that are considered "advisory, consultative or deliberative material," an exception that exists in some form for most governors.

Christie, the current Republican governor, follows an executive order, issued by a Democratic predecessor, that emphasizes the privilege for the chief executive: "All portions of records, including electronic communications, that contain advisory, consultative or deliberative information or other records (are) protected by a recognized privilege."

The Christie administration has applied that exception widely, prompting several ongoing lawsuits. An example: The administration cited security concerns as a reason to deny requests for expense records for his travel outside New Jersey.

Ed Barocas, legal director of the ACLU of New Jersey, said the broader exemptions are important to allow government workers to give advice but also said it is used as a way to shield information from the public. Barocas said courts have held that government emails purely involving facts should be made public.

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BOBBY JINDAL

The Republican governor, who campaigned on a platform of providing more transparency in government, uses a private email account to communicate with immediate staff. Those conversations are exempt from public disclosure under a sweeping public records exemption granted to the governor's office under state law.

In 2012, top Jindal aides and some cabinet agency officials used private emails to craft a public relations strategy for imposing $523 million in Medicaid cuts, but the communications did not turn up in an Associated Press records request. Instead, an administration official revealed them anonymously.

It's not clear whether the documents would have been public, anyway. The Jindal administration has often interpreted the governor's "deliberative process" exception to extend beyond his inner circle to all documents generated by any agency for Jindal's office.

Louisiana also has no archiving requirement at all for the governor, making it an outlier nationally. That means records now sealed under that executive privilege may never become public, even after Jindal leaves office.

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MARTIN O'MALLEY

The Democratic former governor of Maryland used private emails and his personal cellphone to conduct state business. But his administration also turned over related documents as part of public records requests, sometimes leading to criticism.

In 2012, an environmental group obtained correspondence between O'Malley and a corporate attorney for a poultry producer subject to state regulations.

"I'm guessing you don't have the personal email of governors of DE or VA (Delaware and Virginia), so let me know when (Secretary of Agriculture) Buddy (Hance) can/should be doing more to help you push stuff," O'Malley wrote to Herb Frerichs, who represented Perdue Farms Inc.

The group Food & Water Watch said the exchanges showed a relationship that was too cozy. O'Malley's staff said the activists misinterpreted the governor's tone as uniformly deferential and noted that O'Malley and Frerichs attended law school together.

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RICK PERRY

In 2013, amid the then-Texas governor's feud over leadership at the University of Texas system, a Democratic lawmaker's request of university records turned up emails Perry sent from a previously unknown account identified as "R P." In one exchange, the governor used the account to blast as "charlatans and peacocks" critics of his appointees to the university system's governing board.

The Texas attorney general has determined that emails from private accounts are public if they concern state business.

The Perry administration, meanwhile, scrubbed the state email servers every seven days. Perry's successor, Greg Abbott, took office in January and has since widened that frequency to every 30 days.

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SCOTT WALKER

Kukowsi, the spokeswoman for Wisconsin's Republican governor, touted the state's "strong open records laws" and her boss's "very specific policies in place in his office" to ensure compliance.

But Walker previously ran Milwaukee County as chief executive using a private email system, which Walker and aides used to discuss government business, campaign fundraising and politics. Two of the aides were eventually convicted for campaigning on government time as part of an investigation that resulted in disclosure of thousands of emails generated on the initially secret system.

Walker's gubernatorial aides say no such system exists in his current office.

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Associated Press writers Gary Fineout in Tallahassee, Florida; Michael Catalini in Trenton, New Jersey; Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Brian Witte in Annapolis, Maryland; Paul Weber in Austin, Texas; and Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin, contributed to this report.

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