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Wednesday, 29 February 2012 21:29

Sen. Davis breaks ethics rules by using government email for campaign

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State Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, violated state ethics rules this month by using his government email address for personal, but political, purposes. Specifically, Davis used his General Assembly email account to send out a campaign announcement saying he would run for re-election.

The announcement touted Davis’ personal attributes and political accomplishments.  It included such language as, “Once he took office … Davis quickly established himself as a strong advocate for local government control.” And, that “his commitment to constituent service has become a hallmark of his service … ‘I did not go to Raleigh to make a career. I went to Raleigh to serve.’”

Davis’ legislative assistant sent the email out; Davis wrote the press release. State law dictates that elected officials cannot conduct “campaign from a legislative office, a member’s legislative office address, legislative email address, or legislative telephone number.”

Davis said he learned about the violation after being contacted by the Asheville Citizen-Times. The reporter asked if the senator was aware that it was illegal to use his General Assembly email for campaign purposes, Davis said. The senator said he called to check that fact, found it to be true, and self-reported his violation to senate leaders. He said there are and will be no repercussions.

“I was ignorant of the law, to tell the truth,” the freshman legislator said. “I did know of course that you couldn’t use your legislative email to raise money, that’s pretty obvious.”

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