November 8, 2011
Did Jenice Mitchell Ford, abuse her elected office,
misuse government property and violate the code of ethics?
On Friday, October 28, 2011 Ford sent an email to a Hood Research volunteer. This email directly asks for recipients to vote yes on proposal C on the November 8, 2011 ballot. This is a campaign letter. However the email obtained is one of many apparently supplied at the community meetings organized by the Charter Commission. This volunteer does not know Ford personally and did not work on her political campaign. The email address was not shared in any circumstance other than the community events organized by the elected and sitting charter commissioners.
Did Ford then take the personal contact information gathered at the charter commission meetings, collected at taxpayers’ expense and as part of a government sponsored activity, and use this information for her personal campaign as a proponent of proposal C? If true and it appears likely, this would be a clear ethics violation. Ford was the former vice chair of the ethics board for the city of Detroit under former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. If true, this would be a violation of campaign laws as sitting elected persons are not allowed to use government resources for personal campaigns. Further, government resources are not allowed to be used to campaign for or against political issues. Finally if true this would be a criminal act as this would mean that government property was taken for use for non-government work. This would be theft and if true this is a serious crime.
Citizens of Detroit seeking to participate in our government, having provided personal information for our benefit to be informed of activities related to official government activities should not be subjected to unrelated or otherwise personal political messages by special interests based on our own interest in our government. We should not have to fear participation if our personal contact information will then be used to further a particular point of view. Federal laws exist to protect personal and private information. Political campaigns must abide by those laws and accumulate emails or phone numbers by means outside of and separate from government activities.
This was wrong and if Ford obtained this email as part of her work as a charter commissioner she should have known better. There needs to be an investigation to determine the source of the email list and how the email of a Hood Research volunteer became known to Ford and the proponents of proposal C. If Ford followed her own campaign motto she would be striving to uphold ethics in government and apparently not use her position for personal interests. Money used to fund the charter commission should not also then supplement any political campaign. The effort to collect emails and conduct mailing lists cost money and takes time. This does not appear to be the method used to support this mailing.
See Email HERE: http://www.hoodresearch.org/downloads/Chartcomm_Nov-08-11a.pdf