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Legislators Reminded Not to Use Email for Campaigning

Email Monday to Lawmakers by the ethics adviser to the legislature reminds lawmakers that using state resources to advocate for the success or defeat of a ballot question is prohibited.

Lawmakers Monday were reminded not to use state resources to advocate for or against referendum questions that will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Dea Daly, ethics adviser to the Maryland General Assembly, told lawmakers in an email that they may not use official letterhead or send email from their state accounts that calls for " The success or defeat of a ballot question, except in responding to an inquiry regarding the ballot questions."

The email also contains a three-page ethics opinion on the subject that outlines other topics that may not be contained in official correspondence including:

  • A member’s political campaign (whether past or future).
  • The election or defeat of an official of, or candidate for election to, the governing body of a political, quasi-political, or non-public entity.
  • Contributions for the member’s campaign fund, for the campaign of another, or for the success or defeat of a ballot question.
  • Soliciting volunteers for an election campaign or a ballot question.

[A copy of the ethics opinion is attached to this post.]

The email to lawmakers comes a week after The Quinton Report raised questions about an email sent by Del. Eric Bromwell.

Bromwell, a Perry Hall Democrat, emailed constituents an 800-word letter explaining his vote on expanded gambling during the special session in August. At the end of the email, Bromwell asked voters to join him in voting for Question 7.

The same message appears on Bromwell's blog on Patch.

In an interview with Patch last week, Bromwell said he would take the issue to legislative ethics officials for advice. The three-term legislator said he had not intended to violate rules governing the use of the state email account.

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

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.

PerryHallParent October 23, 2012 at 10:49 AM
What's even more amusing to me is that State resources were used to remind state public servants not to use their official state email to discuss their reasons for voting on a state public issue, something they should have been taught by the state when taking public office.
Bart October 24, 2012 at 12:32 AM
I'm glad that all Bromwell got was a reminder, but even that was all full of coulds, woulds and shoulds. All he was guilty of was informing his constituents of his standing on the issue. So very many unscrupulous people were out for blood on this issue. I'm against the expansion of gambling, but even I can't fault him.

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