October 16th, 2009 5:33 pm | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Legislature

Rep. Jefferson Smith's Email Faux Pas


First-term Rep. Jefferson Smith (D-Portland) is up for re-election next year. And like most lawmakers, he's in the process of raising money.

Earlier this week Smith, who founded the Oregon Bus Project, sent scores of lobbyists invitations to a $500-a-head fundraiser on Oct. 29. (Smith notes there is no charge for entry to the event "Some will give more [than $500], some will give less, some might give nothing," he says).

That's a pretty standard way for legislators to collect checks. But Smith sent the invitation from his state email address and that is unusual because lawmakers are not supposed to use state resources for political purposes.

"Fundraiser invitations sent via legislative email accounts is completely inappropriate," says Janice Thompson of Democracy Reform Common Cause Oregon, a non-partisan watchdog group.

Asked about the email, Smith concurred with Thompson.

"It should indeed not be the standard, should not be my standard, isn't what we intended to do, and won't be what we do going forward," Smith told WW. "I've talked to my staff about making sure this never happens again. We should be using my personal account as the default email, and I am making sure to train the team accordingly."

Here's the original fund-raising message Smith sent:
From: Rep Smith J [mailto:smith.j.rep@state.or.us]
Sent: Monday, October 12, 2009 9:51 AM

Cc: mollie.repsmith@gmail.com
Subject: Reception for Rep. Jefferson Smith
Rep. Jefferson Smith Fundraiser

Thursday, October 29, 2009

1:00 to 3:00 PM

Iorio Restaurant

912 SE Hawthorne Blvd

Portland, Oregon 97214

To RSVP, please contact Dan Miller

480-231-6890 or danieladammiller@gmail.com
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