A US Congressional committee will investigate Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s daughter and a White House adviser, following reports she repeatedly used a personal email account for government work.

A White House review of her emails found she used her personal account up to 100 times last year to contact other Trump administration officials, the Washington Post reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the review.

Use of a personal account for government business potentially violates a law requiring preservation of all presidential records.

Are private emails illegal?

It is not illegal for White House officials to use personal email accounts for government business.

However, under the Presidential Records Act and Federal Records Act, government officials must forward any official correspondence to a work account within 20 days for preservation

.If this is not done reliably, the use of private accounts can put official records beyond the reach of journalists, lawmakers and others who seek publicly available information.

There are also rules against sharing classified or privileged information on personal email accounts.

White House to Investigate 

President Trump, a Republican, repeatedly criticized his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election campaign over her use of personal email and a private server while she was secretary of state.

The panel will investigate White House communications when Democrats take over the US House of Representatives in January.

“We plan to continue our investigation of the presidential records act and federal records act, and we want to know if Ivanka complied with the law,” said a spokesperson for Representative Elijah Cummings, who is the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee.

The current House Oversight committee chairman, Republican Trey Gowdy, also asked the White House for information related to Ms Trump’s use of private email in a letter yesterday. Republican Senator Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate’s Homeland Security committee, also asked for a briefing on the topic.

Mr Trump said his daughter’s use of her personal email account was different from Mrs Clinton’s.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Evan Vucci/AP/REX/Shutterstock (9896574k)

“For a little period of time, Ivanka did some emails. They weren’t classified like Hillary Clinton. They weren’t deleted like Hillary Clinton … She wasn’t doing anything to hide her emails,” Mr Trump told reporters. His daughter did not have a private server as Mrs Clinton did, he said.

Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Ms Trump’s ethics lawyer, Abbe Lowell, told The Washington Post the emails occurred before she was aware of government record-keeping regulations.

Since then, she has turned over all her government-related emails to be stored with other White House records, the newspaper reported.
Ms Trump’s emails came to light when White House officials began reviewing them in response to a lawsuit from watchdog group American Oversight, according to the newspaper.

What about #LockHerUp

Mrs Clinton’s email practices as secretary of state prompted a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe in the run-up to the 2016 election that still draws ire from Mr Trump and calls from some of his supporters to “lock her up”.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton checks her PDA upon her departure in a military C-17 plane from Malta bound for Tripoli, Libya, in this October 18, 2011, file photo. An investigative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives will subpoena Clinton’s personal emails regarding the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the Washington Post reported on March 4, 2015. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/Files (LIBYA – Tags: POLITICS)

The FBI concluded that Mrs Clinton’s actions were extremely careless but did not recommend any charges be filed. Mrs Clinton expressed regret for her decision to use a private server but said she violated no rules.
Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat on the Senate judiciary panel, said there was “no way” Ms Trump did not know the rules after the 2016 campaign.

There were also larger questions about the Trump family’s mixing of private enterprise and government duties, Mr Blumenthal said.
“It raises the issue of whether there has been anything improper. There should be some kind of investigation” either by Congress or the White House ethics office, Mr Blumenthal told CNN.

The White House began reviewing senior aides’ email use last year after reports that Ivanka Trump’s husband Jared Kushner, also a top White House adviser, used private email for government work.