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Michele Bachmann Announces She’s Done

U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) announced today that she’s not going to seek re-election in 2014.

Last time around, the race between her and Minnesota businessman Jim Graves was very close. Mr. Graves lost by a very narrow margin. Graves had already announced his intention to take on Ms. Bachmann again next year. As the news came out on Bachmann’s decision, both camps made it clear that they think their person would have won the rematch. Just yesterday, Minnesota Public Radio explained that Graves seemed to be facing “an uphill battle vs. Bachmann.” At the same time, recent polling by the Graves campaign showed him slightly ahead of Bachmann. The race certainly would have been very close, but it was looking to be a scenario much like last time around, which, at the end of the day, Ms. Bachmann did end up winning.

So if she’s got at least a fair shake at winning, why wouldn’t she take it all the way? Well, that’s what brings us to why I’m writing about this here. It seems that Bachmann’s failed 2012 presidential campaign was accused of stealing the email list of Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators (NICHE) back in 2011. In a bit of an attempt to re-write history, they later came to an after-the-fact settlement to label the action a “rental” and NICHE received a $2,000 payment from the Bachmann campaign.

And that’s just one of multiple ethics issues Minnesota’s face of the Tea Party is facing. In March, her attorney confirmed that Bachmann is under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics for alleged misuse of campaign funds. One of her own 2012 presidential campaign staffers, Peter Waldron, filed a complaint that Ms. Bachmann’s campaign improperly used leadership PAC funds to pay campaign staff. There were further allegations regarding payment of staffers and attempting to require exiting staffers to sign non-disclosure agreements prohibiting them from talking to police or attorneys. And the FBI is now said to be involved.

I’ve consulted for multiple email service providers who have told me how challenging it can be to work with political senders. At least one ESP prohibits this kind of mail outright, out of frustration with candidates regularly playing fast and loose with permission. PACs, parties, candidates and other groups seem to buy, sell or trade lists constantly, and as a result, spam complaints and blocking would often follow. Thus, it doesn’t surprise me to see Ms. Bachmann’s campaign engaging in something email list-related that they probably thought was just common usage, when the rest of us in the email community would find that use unwelcome and unethical. (And it’s not just her party guilty of this kind of thing.)

2 comments

  1. Al Iverson says

    Yeah, political clients have been a huge challenge for us, seemingly regardless of party. List swapping, Spamhaus listings, even allegations of botnet use. It’s crazy!

  2. Catherine Jefferson says

    I was tracking political spam sent through ESPs last fall when I stumbled upon something that made the legitimate spam all appear to be small potatoes indeed: a snowshoe spam operation run on behalf of the Romney campaign. :/ So did Spamhaus, and it resulted in this ROKSO:

    http://www.spamhaus.org/rokso/spammer/SPM1241/activate-direct

    Targeted Victory, the Romney digital campaign wing, is listed as a “partner in spam”, but at least 90% of the spam that I saw from Activate Direct was for the Romney campaign. In one case they used one of their own domains for rDNS for a snowshoe range. I have no actual knowledge who owned and operated Activate Direct, but I’ve long wondered if it wasn’t somebody at Targeted Victory. The whole thing was shameful behavior for a major U.S. presidential candidate.

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