I’m not sure this makes any difference – other than someone for the White House to throw under the bus. If they were contracted to perform this work, then the White House is responsible for the outcome – intended or not.
The big question here – why are we (the people) paying to advertise the health care agenda of the current administration? The ethical bells should be going off all over the place.
First problem with this explanation. Via Gawker– GovDelivery.com only provides the platform.
How does the White House gather its email list? Burns said GovDelivery provides a platform for sending out mass emails, but that “the list acquisition strategy in not in our control.”
“We give clients tools to make it easier to sign up for things from their web site,” Burns said. GovDelivery’s platform is, by default, opt-in—meaning that only people who have signed up get the emails. “But clients can also bring their own lists into the system. When someone buys our platform, it’s an opt-in system. But the judgment is the client’s if they want to add other addresses or lists.” In other words, GovDelivery doesn’t control who the emails go to, and if the White House wanted to add addresses of people who didn’t sign up, it could have done so.
So, any email addresses that did not opt-in to the system were provided by the White House.
According to a Press Release from GovDelivery in January 2009.
The powerful GovDelivery Web 2.0 Collaboration Network is one key reason for the dramatic increase in the number of citizens signing up for government information. Many government clients use GovDelivery collaboration capabilities to cross promote content from related government organizations through a mashup page presented during the subscription sign-up process. This type of collaboration is consistent with President Barack Obama’s goal of a more seamless federal government. A single signup also increases citizen convenience and the distribution of important government information.
This would explain how the cross information could have come about so easily. The open question is what agency/database are they cross referencing? Considering the list of agencies that GovDelivery contracts with, it appears this information could be coming from anywhere. Have you ever emailed your Congressman?
There is more to this story. As I was researching GovDelivery.com it was strange that this contractor has only received 2 Federal Contracts and they were both during 2009. According to the GovDelivery.com website they have been providing services to the Federal Government for years. After a bit more research – GovDelivery.com has indeed been providing services to the Feds, as a sub-contractor to the Federal Consulting Group. In fact, in 2007 Federal Consulting Group and GovDelivery.com became partners. Federal Consulting Group is a Federal Agency that does not receive appropriations and therefore enters into contracts with the government. Yes, we hire ourselves.
According to the Federal Consulting Group website, GovDelivery.com continues to be a contractor of Federal Consulting Group. So, why did the Obama Administration decide to forgo the agency in place specifically tasked with these types of projects and contract directly with GovDelivery.com? This appears to be another power grab by the Administration and an effort to duck oversight.
One more problem with their explanation – The Federal Contract issued to GovDelivery.com in January 2009 through the Dept. of Health and Human Services – yes, that would be Kathleen Sebelius’ group – was intended to – In this case the communication was related to the effort to reach the public with vital information regarding the H1N1 flu outbreak, according to Reuters, government agencies are sending millions of official updates through GovDelivery`s digital communication platform.
The Department of Health and Human Services announcement regarding utilizing GovDelivery.com states the purpose of this service to be;
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS.gov) launched comprehensive email alerts to improve service to citizens and to further its mission of “protecting the health of all Americans and providing basic human services.” HHS.gov uses GovDelivery® Email and Digital Subscription Management to communicate time‐sensitive health and emergency information, capable of affecting a person’s quality of life, quickly and efficiently to America’s citizens.
Since GovDelivery.com was supposed to be sending out emails regarding the H1N1 flu outbreak – I’m assuming the HHS thought that Axelrod’s email was meant to protect us??? How can they justify re-directing a vendor from the HHS to David Axelrod?
Exit question – how did the White House get our email addresses? Same question we started with.