Bromwell Vows Apology if Email Crossed Ethical Line

Blogger calls into question one sentence from Bromwell's email on Question 7. Perry Hall Democrat says if blogger "is right, I'll make it right."

An email sent to constituents Monday was supposed to be like countless others he's sent over the last 10 years, according to Del. Eric Bromwell.

But it was 17 words in a nearly 800-word message explaining why the Perry Hall Democrat voted for expanded gambling that caught the eye of a local blogger and has the incumbent delegate vowing to "make it right" if need be.

At issue is an email in which Bromwell explains why he voted for expanded gambling during a special session in August and why he will support Question 7 to ratify the expansion in November.

Bromwell posted the same message on his blog on Patch Tuesday.

Both contained the last sentence: " I hope you will join me in voting to keep Maryland money and Maryland jobs in Maryland!"

Bromwell said the email "is a way of opening dialogue with my constituents."

"I voted against raising taxes and fees and [expanded gambling] is a big alternative to raising taxes and fees," said Bromwell. "I voted for it then and I still think it's the right vote. I wanted my constituents to know why I voted that way."

On his blog, the sentence is not an issue. But as part of an email sent from his state delegate account, Bromwell may have crossed the line into politicking from his state office—a practice frowned upon in state ethics law.

The line was first reported by blogger Jeff Quinton on his Quinton Report blog.

"At best, Bromwell is guilty of the appearance of impropriety by sending a message calling on his constituents to vote for a ballot question using state resources. At worst, it’s a violation of the law," Quinton wrote.

"If [Quinton] is right, I'll make it right," Bromwell said.

Bromwell, in an interview, said he would take the issue to the ethics counsel for the legislature for a determination.

"I can see how someone would take it like that," said Bromwell. "If I've done something wrong I'll apologize.

"That's not what [the state email account] is for and it's not what I'm trying to use it for," Bromwell said.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jimmy Thompson October 17, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Really a non-story to me. So maybe the email could have done without urging residents to join him for Q7, but I appreciate when my officials take the time to communicate with us about their positions. Not all of them do that, so I'm not about to raise a big fuss for the few that do ... at least not over something as small as this. Also applaud his willingness to apologize if it is wrong. So next news story, please!
Heidi October 17, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Thank you Bryan for taking the time to report this issue, and it is an issue. Mr. Thompson, just because you believe an issue isn't important doesn't mean it's not. Journalists work hard and their work should be appreciated, regardless of how you feel.
Buck Harmon October 17, 2012 at 12:31 PM
I think that this is more of an issue with the pose that he maintains in the photo provided...
Ann Miller October 17, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Campaign finance laws exist for a reason. Incumbents should not be allowed to use taxpayer money to finance their political agenda. By overlooking what Jimmy Thompson views as "small", we open the door to more brazen violations. All my representatives communicate via mass emails to their constituents. They can do so without abusing the benefits of their office.
Ann Miller October 17, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Perhaps Del. Bromwell can "make it right" by allowing the opposing view to blast their position out to his constituent list? Not serious of course, but it makes the point.
Ann Miller October 17, 2012 at 07:22 PM
The one that prohibits legislators from using state resources for any uses outside of GA business and constituent service.
Buzz Beeler October 19, 2012 at 12:02 AM
This comment appeared in Red Maryland related to a similar issue. > > > Delegate Doyle Niemann > > Maryland House of Delegates > > District 47 > Of course it is incredibly illegal for Delegate Niemann to be using state resources, particularly his House of Delegates email address, to be raising funds for any political purposes. This includes ballot questions. I'm guessing that Doyle Niemann figured that he was inconsequential enough that nobody would notice the multitude of ethics and campaign finance laws that he broke by sending this one particular email. That being said, Democrats have a pretty loose moral standard when it comes to applying fundraising laws toward their own activities.
FIFA October 19, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Ann, shut up, SCOTUS let's anything happen, sadly.
Steve October 19, 2012 at 02:15 AM
What part of "Illegal" don't these people understand??? http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2012-10-15/news/bs-md-dream-act-ads-20121015_1_campaign-finance-anti-dream-illegal-immigrants
ArcAngel October 19, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Red Maryland? Really? Does Buzz blog for that socialist POS too?
Jimmy Thompson October 19, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Matthew is right on here. Below are examples of two legislators using their official email to solicit funding (btw, one is a D and the other is an R): http://www.gazette.net/article/20120209/NEWS/702099946/frederick-delegate-sends-campaign-email-from-state-address&template=gazette http://redmaryland.blogspot.com/2012/09/ethics-are-for-little-people.html And I've heard nothing about either even issuing an apology.... yet we're all fired up about this?
Buzz Beeler October 19, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Is that like the 4$ billion the IRS sends south on all of their supposed children they claim on taxes. What are the polls now 52% to 45%. Dream on. You don't like to answer questions very much do you?
Buzz Beeler October 19, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Arc since you're not very well read or learned, Red Maryland is on of the top blogs in the state according to the Sun. There is more in the paper than the comics but I would guess you don't read very much.
Eric Bromwell October 21, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Buck- I couldn't agree more. That is a horrible picture of me.
Buck Harmon October 21, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Nancy Eubert October 21, 2012 at 02:29 PM
I love the emails that Eric sends out, they are informative, but most importantly, they more than I have ever been before, let me know my representatives stand on the important items of the day. I would hope this absolutely correct in its nature sentence (because this establishment will help keep money in MD and give people jobs) will not change how he communicates with his friends/constituents. For those that say, let the other side send an email, I say, I don't care what they think, they don't represent me. Eric...keep the emails coming and thanks for always informing me of the issues of the day and your stand. I don't always agree with your position, but I really appreciate hearing where you stand. Thanks for the great job!
Ann Miller October 22, 2012 at 02:35 AM
The solution is simple, Nancy. The unphotogenic delegate can send his opinion all he wants from his personal email accounts, just not his taxpayer funded ones. He needs to pay for his activism out of his own pocket, not ours. Make it right, Mr. Bromwell. A simple acknowledgement of his wrongness and an apology sent to his constituent list is not much to ask for. Are you too small to meet that simple redress?
FIFA October 22, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Go to bed Ann.
PerryHallParent October 22, 2012 at 11:02 AM
What does someone's photogenic assessment have to do with their ability to do their job? Where is your photo? Trying to sound educated and bullying someone for their appearance in a photo caught at a random moment is pretty childish and makes you look like a fool.
Bart October 22, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Ann didn't miss your point at all. She knows what she knows, and no amount of decent logic will change her mind. Bromwell's constituents need to know how he feel on subjects, and this is a way to do that. She just plain doesn't like Demacrats and anything they say or do. I won't vote for Question 7, myself, but I applaud Bromwell for letting his constituents know his thoughts on the issue. And, as you so well said, he isn't asking for money, so this is a non-issue for me. ....and as to her comment on the unflattering photo....meow....Ann, I wouldn't have expected anything less from you.
Bryan P. Sears October 22, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Matthew: This might answer your questions: http://perryhall.patch.com/blog_posts/legislators-reminded-not-to-use-email-for-campaigning


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