From one of our tipsters:
Richard Rosenbaum, president of Greenburg Traurig, made the following group email faux pas. He used the company listserv to send two emails soliciting contributions for the McCain campaign, proving that law students aren’t the only bumbling souls who screw up listserv etiquette. From Rosenbaum’s first email:
“As we have said on a number of other occasions, our firm does not support any particular presidential candidates as a firm. We are a business catering to a wide range of clients and employing lawyers and staff with a wide variety of interests and preferences in the political arena…”
Blah blah blah, a bunch of politically correct qualifiers, then BANG! The money-grab:
“I have recently been named a National Co-Chair of Senator McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. As has previously been the case, over the next several months I will be working alongside several other leaders from the American business and legal communities to personally solicit contributions and other political support for Senator McCain’s presidential campaign.”
Now, of course, Rosenbaum goes on to say that participation is voluntary, etc. But is it really appropriate for a firm President to use group email to solicit campaign funds?
More, after the jump.
To his credit, Rosenbaum seemed to realize his mistake. He sent a second email that assigned different staff members to handle contributions, assuring the firm that any donations would be confidential. But we think the end of his first email sums up Rosenbaum’s error in judgment:
“Greenburg Traurig does allow its employees to engage in personal volunteer political activity…” [Emphasis ours.]
We’re pretty confident that “personal,” in this case, means “not using the firm’s group email as a fund-raising device.”
Here are the full emails:
From: Rosenbaum, Richard A. (President)
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2008 9:17 PM
To: ALLATTY; ALLSTAFF
Subject: Message regarding support of presidential candidates
As we have said on a number of other occasions, our firm does not support any particular presidential candidates as a firm. We are a business catering to a wide range of clients and employing lawyers and staff with a wide variety of interests and preferences in the political arena. In terms of the current presidential race, we have a number of people at all levels of our firm who support each of the candidates engaged in the primaries at this time.
I am writing now to make one point particularly clear.
I have recently been named a National Co-Chair of Senator McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. As has previously been the case, over the next several months I will be working alongside several other leaders from the American business and legal communities to personally solicit contributions and other political support for Senator McCain’s presidential campaign. At the outset of this new role, I wanted to send this email to reiterate what should already be clear: like all political activities by GT personnel, anyone’s involvement with this effort is entirely voluntary and neither I nor the firm will reward anyone for participating, nor disadvantage anyone for not participating. We encourage all our employees worldwide to participate in the political process in the countries and localities in which they reside, and we recognize that different people within the firm will personally support different candidates, parties, philosophies and ideologies.
Consistent with those commitments, those in the firm who are interested in supporting Senator McCain, or who would like to learn more about him, should contact me, Nancy Taylor or Geoff Berman via email or phone. Nancy and/or Geoff may also be in touch with you with respect to potential contributions. I am asking Fred Baggett to circulate the names of those you may contact if you are interested in supporting the other presidential candidates.
Please remember, Greenberg Traurig has not and will not endorse any presidential candidate but does allow all its attorneys and staff to engage in personal volunteer political activity if done in compliance with the firm’s policies and procedures and applicable election laws. Please contact Cliff Schulman or Fred Baggett for more information about the firm’s political activities.
From: Rosenbaum, Richard A. (President)
Sent: Thu 2/28/2008 12:16 PM
To: All Staff
Subject: RE: Message regarding support of presidential candidates
I am REALLY sorry to litter your email boxes with this reply to all. But while I greatly appreciate the many good words I have heard from many of you about this, if even one of you felt at all uncomfortable with my message, I want to be doubly clear and even stronger on certain key points:
–My message was motivated by my desire to reinforce that, notwithstanding the role I have agreed to take in this particular campaign, our firm takes no position in any campaign and no one here would be judged better or worse for participating in any particular campaign.
–There is nothing I personally value more than my commitment to integrity, fairness and respect for everyone here, from the newest staff person to the most senior shareholder, no matter what their ideas or choices may be, as long as they are ethical, of high quality and respectful to others. I probably assume too freely that this is well known and for that I apologize.
–In order to provide even stronger assurance, I want to clarify that Nancy Taylor, Geoff Berman, Gus Corbella and others who may volunteer from around the firm if they personally choose to do so, will be leading the effort with respect to this particular campaign, just as the others noted below will do for the other great candidates (both of which I have also personally supported by the way, as I do believe they are all strong candidates).
–So that you are not asked to rely upon my words alone, I want to further assure you that, going forward, Nancy, Geoff, Gus and the others will be solely involved in personal solicitations for the McCain campaign within the firm and I will be requiring that they not share with me the names of the particular individuals who choose to contribute. Anyone who approaches me directly will be redirected to them. I take your complete trust in me and our entire senior management team as an asset most dear to me and would not even want an appearance of unintended pressure of this nature.
All the best,