I Get Email

Filed in Delaware by on August 11, 2016

Specifically, email from a Delaware State Representative campaigning to an email list for his wife, running for Wilmington City Treasurer. This is supposed to be a Big No No, right? And I would expect that if he is emailing this Wilmington-based list, there are probably others he is emailing as well. As I understand it, public officials are not supposed to campaign or conduct campaigns via their state-provided emails. And yet, here we find Representative Charles Potter campaigning via his taxpayer-provided email for the election of his wife. Velda Potter is running for Wilmington City Treasurer and was fired from a senior position in the Williams Administration for apparent misuse of city resources for her son’s Foxtail concert. Certainly, there were no formal charges over this, but even Dennis Williams was embarrassed enough over it to let her go.

So what do you think? Am I wrong about this prohibition on the use of official’s email? Should the state’s Ethics Commission take this up? Or how about the AG’s office, or the Office of Elections?

Velda Jones Potter for City Treasurer for Wilmington Delaware REDACTED_Redacted

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"You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas." -Shirley Chisholm

Comments (22)

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  1. mediawatch says:

    By the time the Department of Elections, the AG’s office and the Ethics Commission huddle to determine who has jurisdiction, the primary will be over.

    The letter itself is an embarrassment, filled with spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors. It is totally lacking in the attention to detail that is essential for successful service as a city treasurer or as a state legislator.

  2. anonymous says:

    Apparently she thinks the window-dressing bank job qualifies her for whatever grift she wants to run on the citizens of Wilmington and Delaware.

    For what it’s worth, I live nowhere near the city and I’m on the list, too.

  3. Dem19703 says:

    This isn’t the first time the Potter’s have used state resources to campaign. In 2008, I noticed a call from a state number on my home phone (remember landlines?). I called it back and it was Velda. She was making campaign calls. I told her that she should not be calling from her government office phone for this. She said, “well, it’s after work hours.” I told her that wasn’t the point. Apparently, they never got it.

    On that note, many people don’t get it. The use of government resources to work campaigns in alive and well in Delaware. All you have to do is look at the County Executive and Ciro Poppiti campaigns for that. Both have county employees working on the campaign, with one hiring specifically for that purpose. How, in a state so small, do they get away with it? Is it that no one can be bothered to take action, or is it that the regulatory agencies don’t really care?

  4. anonymous says:

    True, but the Potters are a particularly malignant force in Delaware politics. If not for them, Williams would not be mayor.

  5. chris says:

    Was the Foxtail public money ever paid back? I think they owed the city 10K or more. I would like to know that answer. I bet they stiffed the taxpayers….

  6. anonymous says:

    @chris: When you go over to friends’ houses, do you check the sofa for spare change when they leave the room?

  7. If Potter sent this out via his state e-mail, it is a blatant misuse of the state e-mail, and should be subject to legal action.

    Which begs the question, with seemingly half of Wilmington running for office, can someone please explain how this ethical cesspool gets a free pass?

  8. Dem19703 says:

    @El Som

    That is my question. With greater competition seems to come less scrutiny. We have campaigns using government resources for campaign related things, hiring people to government jobs to work campaigns, and blatantly promising future positions for support on Facebook, but yet nothing comes of it. It seems to be a political free-for-all of who can push the limits the furthest and not get caught.

  9. jason330 says:

    You look at that subject line, and that From line and it is an open and shut case. The investigation should be about two minutes long.

  10. cassandra_m says:

    For those who might want a refresher on the Foxtail incident:

    Foxtail Highlights Wilmington’s Ethics Problem

    Williams’ Mayoralty Headed for Potter’s Field?

    More Ethics Issues in Wilmington City Government

    As the Potters’ Field Turns

    A Wilmingtonian’s Appeal to City Council President Theo Gregory

    We really covered the heck out of this. The ethics issues here are huge and there’s never been a fix to the City’s ethics oversight, and as far as I can tell, it doesn’t look like the City’s Ethics Commission is even operational.

  11. SussexWatcher says:

    This ought to be investigated for failure to use bcc: alone.

  12. JTF says:

    @SussexWatcher thumbs up

  13. chris says:

    I don’t know the process but I think an ethics complaint can be filed in the State House against the state rep. But I think another House member actually has to file it. Not sure…but then the House Ethics Committee would need to address it and provide a sanction?

  14. chris says:

    Honestly, Common Cause and Claire Snyder Hall should be proactive with this one. She’s been doing a great job on a lot of these ethics type issues in the state. I enjoy her op-eds on many issues that matter.

  15. Bane says:

    Sometimes people send the wrong email from the wrong address

  16. Kelly says:

    Looks like the Potters are taking a page out of HIlary’ playbook. Also if the only thing she has to run on is that 25 year old resume then she really is drinking to much KOOL AID.

  17. chris says:

    Velda Potter has former Mayor Sills prominently displayed on her pieces but Jim Sills has endorsed Darius Brown. He was on channel 28 with Darius last week. Ouch!!!

  18. anonymous says:

    The Potters wouldn’t understand any of the pages in Hillary’s playbook.

  19. Kelly says:

    I read the e-mail and it sounds like she should be running for Mayor. I don’t think the Treasures office is responsible for JOBS. She does not belong in the Treasurers office they both belong in JAIL.

  20. SussexWatcher says:

    According to the Center for Public Integrity, legislators are not prohibited by state law from “using state resources for personal purposes.” https://www.publicintegrity.org/2015/11/09/18357/delaware-gets-f-grade-2015-state-integrity-investigation

    State merit employees are barred from doing so, but it does not appear that the GA put the same restrictions on themselves.

    However, there is this: http://delcode.delaware.gov/title11/c005/sc06/index.shtml#1211

  21. Liberal Elite says:

    @J “You look at that subject line, and that From line and it is an open and shut case. The investigation should be about two minutes long.”

    Yea two minutes, but…

    You need to see the rest of the email’s header to see if the email was actually sent from a government computer or from a private computer.

    The time of the email makes it likely that it was sent from a private computer.

  22. richardjohnson says:

    Some people should know when to pack it in and get a real job!