Jeb Bush today published an ebook in the name of “transparency” that allegedly contains all of the email he sent and received as Governor of Florida. The first chapter is available at the link.
It appears to us that the former Governor and probable future Presidential candidate screwed up big time with this.
But a quick peek at the broader Bush email archives reveals that Bush’s document dump wasn’t handled with care at all.
“Some are funny; some are serious; some I wrote in frustration,” Bush wrote in an introduction to the emails on his website. Some detail government operations and hiring procedures. And some contain the unredacted phone numbers, home addresses, and even — as The Verge first pointed out — the Social Security numbers of the people who emailed him. Every published email includes the email addresses of the recipient and the sender.
The dump includes Bush’s correspondence with Floridians of all kinds, from retirees and schoolteachers to state and local politicians. Some of the emails, like [one] from then-Florida State Senator John E. Thrasher following the 9/11 attacks, include an explicit confidentiality disclaimer, warning against copying or distribution.
Bush obviously, at least to us, has dumped emails for what must only be raw political purposes. We can’t see any other perceived benefit to publishing the emails.
In the process of doing politics, Mr. Bush released personal contact information of tens of thousands of private citizens, and, it appears many of their social security numbers. Can you spell I.D.E.N.T.I.T.Y. T.H.E.F.T. We’re expecting a slew of attorneys to be parachuting into the former Governor’s back yard with subpoenas as dawn breaks.
In addition to the personal contact information, there is reams of personal information in the form of opinions, personal situations people were asking the Governor to intervene on, and lots of stuff that most private citizens would never have thought would be released en masse to public consumption. None of the personal information has been redacted.
In one concerning exchange, a military veteran petitions Governor Bush to help his daughter fight charges that she provided marijuana to students while working as a substitute teacher. The emails include the daughter’s first and last name, a description of her mental health issues, the school where she was a substitute teacher and other personal details. The outcome of the young woman’s legal battle is unknown, but her case does not appear to have been covered in the news at the time. Her father’s now-public emails to Bush contain the kinds of damning details that could potentially damage her chances at employment.
Did we say “lawyer?” Or class action suit?
We will have more on this. For example, we have a report that Bush, or people acting on his behalf, have been sending email solicitations that appear to be in serious violation of federal rules about mass email mailings. We expect to have details on this allegation in a few hours.
It appears to us, at this point, that the real question for the Republican Primary voters isn’t “do we want another Bush” it’s more like “can we tolerate anybody this stupid.”