Garret Graves, a Republican candidate for Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District, has been sending unsolicited campaign emails to University students.
Mass communication sophomore Haley Deshotels said she received emails from the campaign but did not sign up for any of its mailing lists or attend any of Graves’ events.
Deshotels, who is working on Libertarian Brannon McMorris’ Senate campaign, said she was bothered by the unwanted emails.
“Especially because I’m working for other campaigns as a volunteer,” Deshotels said. “I thought it was uncalled for.”
Deshotels received emails from Graves’ political director Ryan Lambert and campaign manager Kevin Roig detailing internship opportunities for students.
Graves’ campaign sends emails through MailChimp, an email marketing service provider.
According to MailChimp’s guidelines for list compliance, emails may not be sent to recipients whose addresses were collected without their permission.
Sheri Thompson, University IT communications and planning officer, said the Graves campaign broke no University policies because Graves’ emails were not generated from campus.
“No one’s using an LSU email to campaign on behalf of Garret Graves,” Thompson said. “It’s not like LSU’s resources are being utilized.”
Mass communication sophomore Noah Ballard also received unsolicited emails from Graves, and was disturbed the campaign had his email address.
“That’s a privacy issue,” Ballard said. “While I didn’t necessarily mind it because I’m a politically oriented student, I didn’t like the fact that my email was given away and used improperly.”
Ballard has worked on several campaigns, including Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s re-election bid and Libertarian Gary Johnson’s presidential run.
Ballard also volunteered for a few days in August on Democratic former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ congressional campaign. Edwards, like Graves, is running to represent Louisiana’s 6th District.
In a prepared statement, Roig did not comment on the emails.
“We’re running an aggressive grassroots campaign and are fortunate to have students from across the district helping us get our message out, and it’s resonating.”
Brent Robertson, campaign manager for Republican state Sen. Dan Claitor’s 6th District congressional bid, said those on Claitor’s emailing lists are “true supporters” who reached out to the campaign.
“We’re not going to be bugging LSU students, that’s for sure,” Robertson said.
J Hudson, campaign manager for Republican 6th District candidate Paul Dietzel, said in a statement that his campaign has an open process of recruitment and works to maintain transparency among college interns.
“All campaigns should follow our example,” Hudson said.
Edwards’ campaign manager Ari Krupkin said his team strives to be as open as possible.
“In regards to electronic messages you’ve got to be above board, as with anything on a campaign,” Krupkin said. “Certainly it’s our practice to engage people directly to obtain their email addresses.”