Someone on Senate Appropriations Did Something Despicable Today

Here’s a new one! Today, a legislative committee made up of six Democrats and one Republican doxxed the Vermont Democratic Party’s most recent candidate for governor.

The above image is a partial screenshot of an email sent by Brenda Siegel to the committee. Siegel’s personal email address was redacted by me, not by anyone at the committee.

That’s right, they posted an email from Siegel on the Legislature’s official website and included Siegel’s personal email address. And Siegel’s email was clearly NOT intended to be official testimony. You can tell because of the “Hi there” salutation and the fact that further down in the email, Siegel specifically said that she would be submitting testimony later in the day. So someone on the committee deliberately decided to publish an email that wasn’t intended for the official record, and in the process expose Siegel’s personal email address.

Like I said, despicable.

Here’s the timeline as I can piece it together.

Sometime earlier today, a new entry popped up on the committee’s “Documents” list. Here it is:

When I first clicked on the link, I downloaded Siegel’s unredacted email. Sometime between then and now, the email was removed from the committee’s webpage. Now, if you click the link, this is what you get:

So, someone at the committee realized they’d royally screwed up.

That’s a good first step. But Siegel deserves a full and absolute apology. And the Senate ought to investigate who posted her email in the first place and report its findings publicly. For good measure, the Vermont Democratic Party ought to condemn this action.

Do I think they’ll do that? Hell, no. But they should.

Leaving aside the doxxing aspect of this, how did an unofficial email end up being posted in the official record? Committees get emails all the time. They don’t stick all of ’em on the Internet.

The only explanation I can think of is that this was an attempt to embarrass Siegel for her passionate advocacy on behalf of unhoused Vermonters. Siegel has been one of the leading voices against the precipitous ending of the motel voucher program, an ending that Senate Appropriations seems determined to carry out.

Siegel’s lobbying has been respectful. She has operated within the bounds of legislative polity. But her voice is an inconvenience. And the punishment is to be doxxed by the Legislature itself?

I could go on, but I’ve made the point. Despicable.


3 thoughts on “Someone on Senate Appropriations Did Something Despicable Today

  1. Rama Schneider

    Just to remind you, because you do know this already, anything we submit as a public comment is viewable … including things like my own personal contact information (which like Brenda, I don’t even pretend to obfuscate).

    1. John S. Walters Post author

      Really now. The Legislature receives I don’t know how many communications, and they’re all public record? Personal information and all? Then pray tell why was her email removed when someone realized what had been done?

  2. Rama Schneider

    State site link to starter statute:

    Answer to your question: pretty much the case with a few defined exceptions. When you supply your personal information to the legislature, it is part of the public record. That information was provided as a public comment and should not have been removed.

    Brenda could have used a throwaway email and identified herself as Brenda Siegel from [what ever location would be appropriate]. I don’t see how doxxing comes into play here unless it is Brenda herself doing it.


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