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May 17, 2010

Updated: You've got mail

*** See below for Tuesday update. ***

A campaign solicitation from the Democratic governor has landed in the e-mail accounts of at least a couple of state employees, prompting Republicans to wonder whether it's part of a larger pattern.

Gov. Martin O'Malley's campaign says it is scrubbing its mass e-mail list to remove any state addresses. The Maryland Republican Party on Monday accused O'Malley of "harassing" state workers for campaign contributions. Reporters were provided a single e-mail -- an O'Malley blast sent April 30 to "Martin." The e-mail address is blacked out except for the ".state.md.us" ending.

Ryan Mahoney, the state GOP political director, said in an e-mail that there have been "a few complaints about this," all from people who claim not to have signed up for O’Malley e-mails.

In early April, a Republican lawmaker showed this reporter copies of two e-mails. In each case, the O'Malley campaign had asked a state employee for a donation.

For context, there are 60,000 state employees, not counting court or legislative employees. Rick Abbruzzese, O'Malley's campaign spokesman, explained in an e-mail how people end up on O'Malley's campaign e-mail blast list. "In most cases, individuals are added after signing up to receive updates or more information about certain issues," Abbruzzese said. "We are in the process looking through list to ensure that this does not happen again." Each e-mail from the O'Malley campaign includes a link to unsubscribe.

Still, Maryland Republicans are questioning whether O'Malley is padding his mass e-mail list. In the Monday press release, Republican Chairwoman Audrey Scott calls any O'Malley e-mails to state employees "inappropriate" and said it "border(s) on workforce intimidation."

One theory of what happened: State workers angry about something -- perhaps furlough days -- e-mailed complaints to the governor's campaign, thereby ending up on his blast list.

*** Tuesday update ***

Abbruzzese reports: "After a thorough review of the campaign's database, we located some addresses with a md.us extension. Those email addresses have been removed from the campaign's email list." He described the number of md.us emails as "just a handful, compared to tens of thousands of emails in the database." He said it appears people from those accounts had signed up to receive updates in the past.

Mahoney has not responded to my request for an exact number of complaints the party has received.

From Mahoney: "We received complaints or forwarded emails from a half dozen State employees with the courage to come forward.  In all cases we are told they are unsolicited and that they had not signed up for O’Malley emails.  In any case the list should have been screened for State workers, who serve at the pleasure of the governor, before any solicitation for funds was sent." Mahoney adds that the complaints were brought to his attention last week.

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 6:49 PM | | Comments (17)
Categories: Candidate Watch 2010
        

Comments

Bob Ehrlich's state party chair calls a handful of emails mistakenly sent to state employees "workforce intimidation," but she has no problem with Bob Ehrlich criss-crossing the state getting business owners to require their employees to listen as Mr. Erhlich lectures them on why they must vote for him.

Does Mr. Ehrlich ask his captive audience to "volunteer" to take bumper stickers and signs--under their supervisors' watchful eyes?

It looks like Bob Ehrlich figured out the only way regular people will listen to him is to intimidate them where they work.

- Steve Lebowitz, Annapolis

PS - True, Gov. O'Malley is scheduled to visit a business today, as Mr. Ehrlich did when he was governor, and countless elected officials have done while in office. That's not the same as Mr. Ehrlich's lectures, saying, in so many words, vote for me if you want to keep your job. - SL

(From Julie: I have been to Ehrlich's talks with business owners and asked them how the former governor came to be there. In each case, the owner had contacted Ehrlich's campaign about an issue, and the campaign had later sought a visit. In my experience, the owners are longtime Ehlich supporters who are eager to chat with him.)

To the poster. If it was bob ehrljchs campaign u wod have been on it like white on rice. And by the way, it's more than just a few, it's more hundreds who have yet
come forward and I also know hr easing afscme to do the same on omalleys behalf. Maybe u should have the facts before u respond. I have the facts and I save seen the emails and their
content. Infact, I also have on good knowledge and resource that omalley instructed the Maryland teachers union to force them to phone bank for him during his last campaign and I have the proof. Omalley uses every political trick in the
book. I guess the dnc
accusing ehrlich of using his radio show for his campaign is true as well, right? I expect nothing less from the
supporters. He gets caught and the democraps try
to cover it up. Typical omalley hanger on's unable to see his failures and
corruptness. Wake up. Infact, I have direct dialogue with omalleys spokes person. Again, until u have the facts, don't assume.

Although it is not worthy of the apopletic fit the Republicans are meeting this with, I am surprised that any type of political e-mail should EVER be sent to state employees. There is a seperation that must be maintained by all parties. So O'Malley needs to scrub his e-mail lists. Of course this is still better than the purge of Democrats Ehrlich did during his 4 year reign of terror.

Soliciting campaign contributions via state or federal email addresses is strictly forbidden FOR ALL POLITICAL PARTIES. This is not a political party issue, it's a good government issue. MOM's folks should have known better. Additionally, Ms. Bykowicz shouldn't attempt to trivialize the transgression. The incident(s) should be investigated to determine whether they're abuse or error. No, I'm not GOP, I'm a DEM........

I keep getting propoganda mail from both O'Malley and the Lt Governor now. I got put on their mailing list when I wrote letters to them about how unhappy I was with their failures at running the state. When I add their addresses to Verizon junk mail filters, they seem to be able to bypass that and I still get the mails. I wonder what is up with that?

(From Julie: There should be a link to "unsubscribe" at the bottom of each campaign email.)

Which political operative of Bob Ehrlich signed up these state employees? Justdacts -can you investigate since no reporter bothered to ask.

Did Ehrlich hire homeless people to sign up state employees without their knowledge or did one of his political operatives do it himself?

Justdafacts - can't someone sign up on the Governor's campaign website by simply using a state employee email?

Ehrlich should know all about intimidation. This spying weasel intimidated workers right and left as governor. He also used the state police to bully churches and human rights groups.

republican press releases - they're sensational!

I get the messages all the time from Martin. All the time.

Is "justdafacts" really that clueless? Seriously? You can tell how un-informed you are just by reading your idiotic posts!
ALL political candidates campaign to small businesses owners. Not just Bob Ehrlich. There's a big difference between giving speeches to private business owners and soliciting contributions from state employees who actually WORK FOR YOU! It's hard enough to say no to the dude selling Girl Scout cookies for his daughter at your office. O'Malley has taken it to another level - again. I'm not even a Republican, but this is a clear example of workplace intimidation. You would think that he would try to be a little more sly after Sheila Dixon embarassed the entire city...but that just shows you how ignorant and shallow all of these idiots are downtown.

justabs musta not hearda obama going to businesses to campaign in front a "captive audiences. IE - caterpillar tractor.

O'Malley has been sending political propoganda to all state employees every Friday afternoon for several years now.

Hey Steve Lebowitz of Annapolis have you sent out anymore fake Bob Ehrlich blasts on Twitter lately?
Go away my friend, you have zero credibility.

The Md. GOP is in a fantasyland with this one. If they had been paying attention to the last two legislative sessions, they would have noticed that OMalley has furloughed (cut pay) for thousands of state workers, why would they give him a dime? Good luck getting blood from a stone...

Oh Bob. Please go get a real job in the private sector and leave us all alone. We voted you out once, please save yourself the humiliation of a second thumpin' at the polls.

This farce of an "issue" is just one of a myriad example of how desperate a campaign you are trying to run against a highly successful Governor.

Go play radio on that station to which no one listens.

Hey Woodie731 considering Maryland taxes the crap out of us how exactly is Governor OMalley successful?
I can only give him props for oyster replenishment and thats it. Maryland takes more money out of my paycheck than Social Security.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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