At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday, a senior State Department official criticized former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email account for official business. “I think that the action we’ve taken in the course of recovering these emails [has] made it very clear what people’s responsibilities are with respect to recordkeeping,” said Joyce Barr, assistant secretary of state for administration, Politico reported. “I think the message is loud and clear that that is not acceptable.”

The hearing concerned open records laws. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a member of the judiciary panel, had asked Barr what she thought of Clinton's use of a private email account and private server during her time as secretary of state (2009-13). Cornyn was highly critical of Clinton's practices and asserted that Clinton was actively attempting to avoid open records requirements.

"What really bothers me is when people plan in a premeditated and deliberate sort of way to avoid the Freedom of Information Act and federal government requirements that require them to make public information available to the public," Cornyn said, as Business Insider reported. 

Barr said others had been warned about using private email accounts but was unclear about whether the practice was explicitly forbidden during Clinton's tenure. Barr also said she was unaware of Clinton's email practices during that time. 

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., said Clinton’s use of a private server was “a bad decision," later adding that a government employee intentionally putting records out of reach should be considered a fireable offense, Politico reported. 

Clinton, who is seeking the Democratic Party's 2016 presidential nomination, saw her approval rating jump 9 percent between late March and early May, despite questions about her email practices.