The State Department said Tuesday that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn't sign a "separation form," which would have certified that she was not in possession of any government documents, when she left the government in 2013.
The question of whether Clinton signed one of these OF-109 forms has come up after it became clear that she forwarded some work emails to State last year, more than a year after she left the department. Some said that if she had signed the separation form, she could be penalized for failing to adhere to her pledge.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton never signed a separation form when she left the government — that form would have certified that she was not in possession of any government documents. Image: Yana Paskova/Getty Images
But Tuesday, State said it couldn't find any record of her signing that form, and said other recent secretaries also hadn't signed the OF-109.
"We have reviewed Secretary Clinton's official personnel file and administrative files, and do not have any record of her signing the OF-109," said spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
"In addition, after looking into the official personnel files, we did not locate any record of either of her immediate predecessors signing this form," she added. "It's not clear that this form is used as part of a standard part of checkout across the federal government or even at the State Department. So we're certainly looking into that."
While the idea has circulated that Clinton was required to sign the form, Psaki indicated that the form is instead optional in some way, and that officials are trying to figure out themselves how it's used, and who uses it.
"Required is not the accurate term," she said. "We're looking into how standard this is across the federal government, and certainly at the State Department."
Psaki said State is not away of any penalty for not signing the form, and said "it's not a violation of any rule."
She also indicated that the form might be used more commonly for lower-level officials who leave the department.
"There are differences between regulations and certainly recommendations, and I'm just getting at, there's a difference between also secretaries of State or former secretaries, and staff at lower levels," she said. "I just don't want to speak to how common practice it is."
It took State five days to answer whether Clinton signed the form. The department was first asked to look into the question on Thursday, and still had no information to share on Monday.