Citizens to Elect Steve Schuh Campaign Manager Diane Croghan today called on Laura Neuman to stop using County government resources, including computers and employees, for campaign purposes.
“Laura Neuman and her staff have repeatedly used County resources for campaign purposes, which is a clear violation of the public ethics law,” Croghan said. “We remained silent after previous violations because we believed she might not have understood the rules, but the most recent violation is willful. She needs to publicly acknowledge her actions and immediately stop using County government resources for her campaign.”
According to Schuh’s campaign, the following violations have occurred over the last eight months:
- County employees received a “news” update this week from Laura Neuman announcing her campaign kickoff through the County e-mail account of an executive staff member, including an itinerary of campaign events and a fundraiser scheduled for tonight.
- Previous news updates sent from the County Executive’s Office to other County employees have also contained campaign messages and press releases.
- Several County employees received direct solicitations for campaign contributions from the Neuman campaign through their County e-mail accounts. Neuman apologized on January 9, 2014 for the “inadvertent” messages.
- Neuman’s Director of Communications uses her Twitter account, identifying herself as a County employee, for campaign messages.
- County employees received electronic invitations to join Twitter and follow Laura Neuman’s account, which she uses for campaign messages.
- Executive staff members attended a political event, the Tawes Crab and Clam Bake in Crisfield, without taking personal leave from their County jobs.
The Schuh campaign will file a complaint with the Anne Arundel County Ethics Commission regarding political activities using County resources.
County Attorney David Plymer issued a letter to County employees on January 14, 2014 that clearly defined the requirements of the public ethics law. The letter stated that “campaigning for a candidate, distributing campaign material, or soliciting campaign contributions” during work hours are violations of the law. “County equipment and materials may not be used for any private purpose, including political activity,” Plymyer wrote.