Vice President Pence allegedly used a personal email account, which was hacked, during his time serving as Indiana governor, according to a report released Thursday.
The Indianapolis Star reported Pence discussed homeland security issues and sensitive matters with top advisers while using his personal AOL account. Some of the topics included Indiana's response to terror attacks and security at the governor's mansion.
The newspaper also reported Pence’s account was hacked last summer, before becoming Trump's runningmate. The AOL account was subjected to a phishing scheme last spring and Pence's contacts were sent in an email falsely claiming that the governor and his wife were stranded in the Philippines and needed money.
Marc Lotter, a Pence spokesman, said the governor switched to a different AOL account with added security measures and has since stopped using the new account since he was sworn in as vice president.
As Trump's running mate, Pence frequently criticized rival Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server as President Obama's secretary of state, accusing her of purposely keeping her emails out of public reach and shielding her from scrutiny.
Lotter said "the comparison is absurd" because Clinton had set up a private server in her home at the start of her tenure at the State Department and, unlike Clinton, Pence did not handle any classified material as Indiana's governor.
Lotter said Pence "maintained a state email account and a personal email account" like previous governors in the state. A senior official from the vice president’s office told Fox News that political activities were not permitted on state email so that activity was on his personal email.
At the end of his term Pence directed outside counsel to review all of his communications to ensure that state-related emails were transferred and properly archived by the state, the spokesman said.
Public officials are not barred from using personal email accounts under Indiana law, but the law can interpreted to mean that any official business conducted on primate email must be retained to comply with public records law. Pence’s office said he ly complied with Indiana law regarding email use and retention."
At the end of his term, Pence hired the Indianapolis law firm of Barnes & Thornburg to conduct a review of all of his communications and that review is still ongoing, Lotter said. Any correspondence between Pence's AOL account and any aides using a state email account would have been automatically archived, he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.