Friday, June 17, 2016

Y'all come: State employees get Republican invite UPDATE

Posted By on Fri, Jun 17, 2016 at 6:51 AM

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A number of state employees wrote yesterday to report their surprise at this invitation to a Republican Party fund-raiser landing in their state e-mail box. By several accounts, the invitation hit virtually every box in one major state agency.

Anybody else get the invite to hear Frank Luntz?

UPDATE: The Department of Finance and Administration was one agency blanketed by the Republican fund-raiser. So I asked spokesman Jake Bleed about policies and learned some interesting things.

1)  Yes, the state-provided email addresses for employees can be obtained via a records request under FOIA. The State maintains a publicly accessible directory of state employees on the Arkansas.gov domain, which includes the option of downloading directory information. You can find it here - http://www.arkansas.gov/directory/download.html - if you click on the link labeled “personnel.txt” you will get what appears to be a complete list of employee official contact information.

2. We have received a few questions and complaints from employees regarding the mailer. Nothing official.

3. I haven’t been able to find a specific policy on email solicitations. However, we get a lot of unsolicited emails – aka “spam” – and have established spam filters to weed out unwanted messages.
I've asked under FOI for a list of key words used to filter out "spam." 

In the meanwhile, if you've the time, you might want to download that mailing list and send word of the fund-raiser tonight at Club Sway to assist victims of the Orlando club shooting. 8 p.m. Any contributions welcome. Should you send an e-mail, you'd probably best avoid words like "gay," "abortion," "gun control" and "Democratic Party." Joking. Sort of. 

UPDATE II: A response from the governor, through spokesman J.R. Davis:

First of all, the Governor’s Office was not involved in the sending of this email. Secondly, the email addresses of state employees is a matter of public record, and we cannot control who sends or receives these emails. However, there is an appropriate concern that state employees do not give out their email address for private political purposes. We are not aware of that happening, but we are reviewing agency policies in that regard.
That prompted one followup question from me:  As the effective leader of both the state GOP and state government, shouldn't the governor encourage the Party not to do broad solicitations of state employees, for fear of appearing to apply political pressure?


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