Scott Horton is puzzled by the Palin e-mail hacker case:

Generally the Department has not acted in cases in which the result of the intrusion is merely to embarrass the target, for a fairly obvious reason. At best we’re only talking about a misdemeanor. The Palin email hacking case quite plainly falls into this category. So what is going on?

The Justice Department seems to be setting one of its amazing new rules. When a Republican political figure is damaged in her expectation of being elected to office, it is telling us, that’s a felony. And why is that the case here? Because the hacker helped establish something important: Sarah Palin has been systematically violating the Open Records Act. As David Corn has noted at Mother Jones, Palin relied heavily on private email accounts for improper purposes. As governor of Alaska, she was obligated to maintain as public records her communications with respect to her discharge of official duties. Palin skirted this obligation by turning to private email accounts for government related dealings. In fact, the hacker in question helped flush out Palin’s violations. The hacker also helped establish a motive for the illegal conduct: Palin regularly involved her husband in official business, and it’s easy to understand why she did not want to leave behind evidence of her husband’s involvement.

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