Recently, someone sent me a copy of a campaign mailer issued by veteran Baltimore County Delegate Wade Kach.
In the mailing, the forty year legislator announces that this will be his final session in
as he is “now a candidate for Baltimore County Council.”
He then opines that he has “grown increasingly distressed” by the county’s present leadership, and that he can “no longer stand to watch those entrusted with decisions affecting the livelihoods and health of thousands cavalierly presuming to know best.”
The mailing then segues into a “questionnaire” soliciting citizens’ thoughts on two issue areas which would seem to highlight perceived vulnerabilities of Kach’s primary challenger, incumbent Baltimore County Councilman Todd Huff.
Hey, I get it…politics is a full contact sport. Kach is free to employ such tactics, even though they seem to be a violation of his pledge not to run a negative campaign.
What he is not free to do, however, is to use state resources in the process.
In the mailer, Kach solicits feedback to these questions by email, and lists his official state delegate email address as a proper response vehicle.
That’s a no-no, folks.
The purpose of the mailing is clearly political and should, therefore, only have solicited feedback via campaign communications tools.
One would think that Kach, an educator by profession first elected to the House of Delegates in 1974, would have learned this lesson a long time ago.
Kach’s use of his state email account for political purposes demonstrates the kind of arrogance we have come to expect from
Annapolis politicians. It reflects a belief
that firewalls aren’t necessary, that state and campaign resources are
ultimately fungible when one’s own political ambitions are involved.
One wonders if he voluntarily crossed an ethical line, or lost his ability to see it was there a long time ago.
I’m curious to see if this mailing results in a complaint filed before the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics. During my time working for Governor Ehrlich I can remember a few stories of legislators pinged for engaging in campaign activities via their state email accounts. Minimally, Kach should apologize for what was, at best, a major lapse in judgment on the part of his campaign.
As for the questionnaire, I think he should have added one more question: “Should legislators who take specific opinions on controversial issues during their campaigns, and then abruptly vote the opposite way, be held accountable at the polls?”