March 3, 2015 / 4:01 PM / 5 years ago

Democrats defend Clinton email use after Jeb Bush calls for transparency

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush called for more transparency from Hillary Clinton after revelations that she used her personal email while at the U.S. State Department, but Democrats said on Tuesday that she followed protocol.

The New York Times reported on Monday that Clinton may have violated federal records laws by using a personal email account instead of a U.S. government one while she was secretary of state.

Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Clinton, acknowledged she used a personal account but said she followed both the “letter and spirit of the rules.” And the State Department said Clinton last year turned over emails from the period after a records request.

Still, the dust-up adds to scrutiny of Clinton from Republicans and others who want to ensure she does not coast to an expected Democratic nomination for president in 2016.

They are eyeing her time as secretary of state, the nonprofit foundation she runs with her family and other aspects of her public service.

Bush, a likely 2016 presidential contender on the Republican side, hinted that the revelations could show a lack of transparency from Clinton.

“Transparency matters. Unclassified @HillaryClinton emails should be released,” Bush wrote on Twitter late on Monday, pointing to his own release of a trove of emails from his time as governor of Florida.

The Republican group America Rising said on Tuesday it was filing a Freedom of Information Act request for Clinton’s emails.

Democrats came to Clinton’s defense, saying previous secretaries of state used personal accounts.

The left-leaning group American Bridge put out a statement explaining that numerous past secretaries of state were asked by the State Department to turn over personal email records from their times in office.

“It has been public for several years that Secretary Clinton used her personal email account, apparently following the pattern of previous secretaries of state,” Representative Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Reporting by Emily Stephenson; Editing by James Dalgleish

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