While doing due diligence, our researchers dug up some troubling information on our own candidate. Fortunately, it didn’t come out during the campaign. But it could be helpful—especially if I ever run a campaign against this particular candidate in the future. Should I destroy all sensitive records after my campaign is over?
I think I know this guy. He also has no qualms about avoiding the ï¬nancial disclosure rules either, so long as he can hide behind dummy front groups located in back-alley warehouses, among the other rats. Seriously though, as they said in Seinfeld, the info should go in “the vault” and he should throw away the key.
—D.L., Democratic direct mail consultant, California
No researcher with any class or honor should take the coin of one candidate, learn his or her conï¬dences and secrets, and then work against that same candidate in the future. Only one exception comes to mind: if the candidate turned and became willfully destructive to the party and cause. Four former clients just ran for president. I worked for one (Giuliani), but refused to do anything against the others (Huckabee, Gilmore, Hunter).
—G.M., Republican researcher, Virginia
Take the information, show it to the client, and offer to craft a crisis communications strategy (for a fee, of course).
—S.Z., Democratic media relations consultant, D.C.
All’s fair in politics and war. If you found that information, chances are someone else will as well. Why let a political enemy proï¬t from that candidate’s shortcomings when you yourself can?
—B.P., Democrat media strategist, California
From the perspective of election law, one’s duty of loyalty would not support taking conï¬dential material and using it to hurt the former boss. On the other hand, neither would your duty extend to destroying evidence—under some circumstances doing that would be a crime.
—P.L., nonpartisan election lawyer, Michigan
Which do you agree with? Do you have a better answer? Let us know by commenting below...
The High Road
by Politics magazine / Jan 06 2009