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Sunday, March 09, 2008

OH-01 GOP Steve Chabot: Aide Used U.S. House E-Mail System To Recruit Campaign Workers

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Chris Good at the Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill breaks a story about Republicans abusing the U.S. House e-mail network for political purposes. They messaged congressional offices seeking campaign workers to make phone calls for the Republican National Committee: "If you have interns sitting around today, please send them over to the RNC . . . to phone bank for Oberweis." An aide to Steve Chabot, R-OH-O1, forwarded the e-mail on the House system.

The message was sent Friday to round-up some last-minute workers for Jim Oberweis, a Republican running for the Illinois seat vacated by former House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Oberweis lost in a special election Saturday. Chabot's aide apparently violated House rules Friday when he forwarded the message on the House e-mail server. The Cincinnati congressman's spokesman, George Cecala, apologized for the incident:

"It's not our office policy to conduct business this way . . . We apologize if there was an appearance of impropriety, which was certainly not our office's intent. We apologize to the folks back home. We work hard to make sure that our staff is fully informed on the proper procedures."

The Hill reported that the e-mail's arrival from the RNC could run afoul of a House rule that says, "Official resources of the House must, as a general rule, be used for the performance of official business of the House, and hence those resources may not be used for campaign or political purposes."

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