Maybe Hillary Clinton should never have left the Senate.
For days, the media has been dissecting Clinton's email habits from her tenure as secretary of State, with commentary from countless pundits, outrage from Republicans and nervousness from Democrats over their nominee-in-waiting.
If she were still a member of Congress, it would all be a moot point.
That's because lawmakers have nearly full control over who sees their emails. There's no legal recourse for the public to obtain these documents, as the Freedom of Information Act doesn't apply to the legislative branch. Emails sent by presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio in the Senate likely won't ever see the light of day.
The rules on lawmakers' email accounts that do exist focus more on their official addresses than on their personal, and they have little to do with transparency. House or Senate.gov accounts can't be used for campaigning or raising charitable donations, or other business or employment purposes, according to the House Ethics Manual.
"A member can use their official resources, including personal email, if they choose to for official House purposes at least as a general matter," said Rob Walker, former chief counsel for both the House and Senate ethics committees. "These are the differences, and I think when one steps from one world into the other you have to be careful to make sure you know that different rules may apply."