Home California Riverside Report: Benoits discussed county business in private emails

Report: Benoits discussed county business in private emails



Looks like Hilary Clinton is not the only politician caught up in a possible private email scandal.

Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit and his son, Wildomar City Councilman Ben Benoit, reportedly discussed official county business using private emails, according to the Desert Sun:

Public records requests by The Desert Sun were denied when the newspaper asked for access to John Benoit’s private emails discussing a warehouse complex the size of 700 football fields planned for Moreno Valley that is the subject of two South Coast Air Quality Management District lawsuits.

“After careful consideration, your request for my private communications is denied,” John Benoit said in an email. “It is clear under both the State Constitution and the Public Records Act that the right to access public records does not supersede an individual’s right to privacy.”

But, that may not be the case, at least according to the newspaper:

The federal government and 26 states view the use of private emails for official business as public records. California’s Public Records Act is unclear regarding the matter, now pending before the California Supreme Court in a case challenging the city of San Jose’s refusal to turn over private emails involving government business.

In addition, by shielding any discussion about the warehouse complex, called the World Logistics Center, from the public via private emails creates a void about what was said.

According to records obtained by The Desert Sun, two of the emails were forwarded correspondence from longtime AQMD Executive Director Barry Wallerstein, who was suddenly ousted in a 7-6 closed session vote on March 4. Both Benoits voted to remove him.

The Benoits both claim that using their personal emails to discuss government business is “rare” and happens mostly because of that damn autofill function on their phone.

“When you’re sending a message on your phone, you’re not always looking really closely,” Ben Benoit told the Desert Sun.

Who knows, maybe the duo did forward those requested emails to the Desert Sun – but accidentally forwarded them to the wrong email address because they just weren’t looking closely?

If only there was a 24-hour cable news network that devoted a huge amount of time everyday to complaining about a certain politician using private emails to do government business that could have served as a warning to these guys.