Thursday, October 20, 2016

Democrats call for dismissal of secretary of state employee running for office on state time

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 6:55 AM

click to enlarge JOSEPH WOOD: Using state office to run for county office.
  • JOSEPH WOOD: Using state office to run for county office.
Democratic Party Chair Vince Insalaco says Secretary of State Mark Martin should fire Deputy Secretary of State Joseph Wood because he's been using state time and office resources to run for county judge in Washington County.

Wood has refused to respond to past criticism of his running for office while employed by Martin and the Republican Party, which has communicated with Wood on campaign issues by office e-mail, has similarly dismissed complaints about his activities.

The secretary of state's office resisted, but finally supplied under counsel from the attorney general's office, copies of office e-mail. It showed, said the Democratic Party:

* The Republican Party of Arkansas communications director coordinates talking points and press coverage with Secretary of State employees via public email accounts on public time

* Deputy Secretary of State Joseph Wood uses state computers and email accounts on state time to type campaign speeches, share campaign information, and organize Republican Party of Arkansas fundraisers

* Over 25 Secretary of State employees receive weekly strategy emails from the Republican Party of Arkansas on their work emails and some discuss campaign strategy on work emails.
Wood was nominated to run for Washington County judge after the original nominee dropped out. He's spent time campaigning in the county, including attending a fund-raiser that he used as an excuse to skip a chamber of commerce candidate forum. Mark Kinion, a Fayetteville council member, is the Democratic nominee.

In a release, Chris Burks, the Democratic Party legal counsel, said:

"It is illegal to use state resources to campaign. It is illegal to campaign on state time and punishable by up to a year in prison, immediate removal from office, and a fine of up to $2,500. The Republican Party of Arkansas is calling the shots at the office of the Secretary of State. Because the Secretary of State's office oversees elections in Arkansas, Mark Martin should fire Joseph Wood immediately to ensure the impartiality of our elections. Government must play by the rules set forth by the people.” 

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