Secretary of State Shantel Krebs hasn’t spoken up to oppose Donald Trump’s unnerving plot to send Secret Service agents into our polling places to watch us vote. But her office is taking steps to assure us that U.S. House candidate Krebs herself won’t abuse her elected position to sway our election in her favor.
The Secretary of State’s office yesterday posted a new “Personnel Security Firewall Policy.” I invite semanticists to debate whether “firewall” is the right word or just a cool label used to avoid saying “conflict of interest.” The policy does go to ungrammatical lengths to avoid singling out Krebs, referring to “personnel who are a candidate,” “personnel who is a candidate,” and “a candidate [who] may examine and has free access to their own information….”
But practically, this sensible conflict-of-political-interest policy seeks to prevent Krebs (or anyone else in her office who runs for election) from using her elected position to gain any advantage over her opponents. The policy prohibits Krebs from handling the following documents or duties:
- Random samples of her nominating petition or Dusty Johnson‘s, Tim Bjorkman‘s, Neal Tapio‘s, G. Matt Johnson‘s or George Hendrickson‘s (if Hendrickson submits a petition instead of availing himself of Libertarian convention nomination next month as ordered by Judge Piersol and authorized by House Bill 1286).
- Recounts of the U.S. House primary and, if she makes it, general election.
- Drawing for ballot order.
- Election night results.
- Certifying ballots or results for the U.S. House race.
- Election canvass.
The no-conflict rules promise the removal of Shantel’s name and face from the Election Night Reporting System.
The no-conflict clarify that Krebs may access her opponents’ petitions, campaign finance reports, and any other filings just like a member of the public; however, she doesn’t get to riffle through Johnson’s or Bjorkman’s campaign finance data, leak that information to the GOP spin blog, or even be in the room where her staff are discussing that data before those files have been processed and posted by someone else in the office.
Running for office while serving as chief election officer is tricky. Secretary Krebs is providing us with a template for how election officers aspiring for other office can carry out their duties without thumbing their own election scales.