More to the Story: Cooper's Campaign Christmas Party
Your personal email address is private information. You decide who gets to have it and for what purpose.
But we've now seen that even public officials are taking liberties with your data. In our latest video, we show how Governor Cooper’s campaign harvested email addresses from those who signed up to attend last year's Christmas event at the Governor's mansion – without informing attendees that would happen.
How did we find this out?
A North Carolina citizen using an email address which had never been used to sign up for any type of event, group, newsletter or even a social media app used that email address only to RSVP to the Governor’s 2017 Holiday Party.
That email address used to register for an official public event should have remained private, but within days of RSVP-ing to the event, Cooper Campaign emails began to flood their inbox – over 40 of them by the end of April 2018. That’s roughly 10 uninvited campaign emails a month.
The first tip-off that something untoward might be going on was that the invitation was “paid for by the NC Democratic Party” and directed those interested to “Act.RoyCooper.com.”
The RSVP receipt followed coming not from the Governor's official email account nor that of one of his staffers, but from Caroline Hall, Cooper's campaign manager.
Here’s that email:
Attendee Emails Further Exposed
Once the emails from the Cooper campaign started rolling into the inboxes of the holiday party attendees, their email addresses and personal information were further exposed by links in the content of some of the messages they received.
A Cooper Campaign email sent on February 2, 2018 was titled “Stand up and be counted: It's time to end partisan gerrymandering.” A plea was made in the body of the email to sign a related online petition. Anyone who clicked the petition link had their IP addresses, browser data and their email addresses harvested yet again by 26 different political entities.
The petition was also authorized by 11 political campaigns (including Roy Cooper’s), 12 political PAC’s, the official Democratic party in two states and one state level Democrat political committee.
At least the petition disclosed to visitors that their data will be shared, unlike Governor Cooper’s holiday party RSVP:
One of the political PAC’s involved is the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, started by former President Obama and run by former Attorney General Eric Holder.
Another PAC involved in the petition is the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) - a 527 group dedicated to electing Democrats to “fight Trump and the Republicans.” According to Politico, the DLCC is the “secret weapon” to “take back statehouses” and it has a North Carolina connection.
Former NC State Representative Larry Hall was a member of the DLCC board in 2017 and NC State Senator Dan Blue is a member of their 2018 board. It’s worth noting that Larry Hall is no longer at the North Carolina General Assembly after being appointed Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs by Governor Roy Cooper the same year he was on the board of the DLCC.
The petition was paid for by the far-Left political website, The Daily KoS. While it is unknown if they also received the data of anyone who visited the petition page, it is a likely guess.
As if one data-grabbing petition wasn’t bad enough, there was a second one sent by the Cooper campaign in March. This petition was also about redistricting, involved a combination of 47 Democrat campaigns and PAC’s and was again paid for by the Daily KoS news website.
More than just email addresses and names are collected by the petition website, however.
It is unclear if the co-sponsorship of these petitions by official political campaigns, PACs and an alleged media outlet violates any campaign laws.
Pattern of Unethical Behavior
The recently revealed unethical abuse of private information by North Carolina’s top ranking elected official is cause for concern.
It’s also behavior that one might expect from a state employee who protected his official work email address from ‘spam’ and the address becoming ‘unusable’.
Yes, we’re talking about Roy Cooper again.
According to WRAL, DOJ Senior Policy Advisor Julia White was part of Cooper's transition team when he left the state Senate for the office of the attorney general in 2001.
“White said staff at the time recommended he limit his email use over concerns that incoming messages about pending court cases and law enforcement actions wouldn't get where they needed to go. Early on, she said, Cooper's official address would get copied on everything from consumer complaints to discovery requests, making the account all but unusable.”
It was also revealed by WRAL in 2016 that during Roy Cooper’s 15 year tenure as attorney general he sent only sixteen emails. You read that correctly, sixteen.
It was also revealed that when Cooper did use email he stayed off the public radar and reduced email spam by using a private email address to conduct state business. Holiday party attendees did not receive the same courtesy Cooper applied to himself.