Thanks to the Washington Free Beacon sifting through the Wikileaks mail dump to find yet another embarrassment for the University Near Here:
A senior faculty member at a public university in New Hampshire proposed using his position to “be helpful” to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, hacked emails show.
The faculty member is Michael Ettinger; his primary position is director of the Carsey School of Public Policy, a UNH department funded by alumna Marcy Carsey. Marcy recovered from her UNH English Lit degree to make bazillions of dollars producing TV fare, such as The Cosby Show and Roseanne.
Prof Ettinger's leaked mail was sent to John Podesta (currently chairman of the Hillary campaign) and Ann O'Leary (currently a Hillary senior policy advisor) back in March 2015. It begins:
This note arises from a conversation I had with Ann about how I can be helpful from my perch in New Hampshire. I’m open-minded on that, and I’ve helped out on some small matters in my private capacity, but the best place to start is with what I can do formally from heading the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire.
What's wrong with this? Well, it skates right up to, and maybe over, the red line set out in the University System Policy Manual:
Organizations exempt from tax under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) (such as the University System of NH and its component units) may have their exempt status revoked if they are involved in any political activity.
Note that Prof Ettinger seems to be offering UNH-based services explicitly to the benefit of a single political candidate. I doubt UNH's tax exemption status is in jeopardy as a result. The IRS doesn't care about 501(c)(3) violations when they're committed by Democrats. But to normal folks, it looks bad.
UNH's official response to this is posted at the end of the Free Beacon story, and it claims that "The Carsey School of Public Policy extended invitations to all the major candidates in early 2015." Probably technically factual!
But I'm relatively certain those invitations weren't as cozy and chummy as Prof Ettinger's missive to "John and Ann". I doubt whether other candidates were offered hosting services "at venues in nearby Portsmouth which has a large population of influential and well-off progressives who [Ettinger is] getting to know."
Prof Ettinger also offers the Carsey Institute's "NH Listens" forum to the campaign, and offers to make it a safe space for Hillary, free of anyone who might ask inconvenient questions, or record any embarrasing gaffes:
People understand that with trackers, cameras on everything, provocateurs, etc the risks can outweigh the benefits for the candidates. Thus, the idea has arisen that NH Listens could convene groups of people to meet with candidates in a less dangerous environment. NH Listens would make and enforce the ground rules thus taking the onus off the candidates for keeping the discussion civil and constructive. NH Listens is experienced at this. I don’t know if that’s an attractive idea or not, but we’d be glad to do it for Senator Clinton if it would fit with her plans.
"Keeping the discussion civil and constructive" is a euphemism for disallowing anything that might have thrown Hillary off her talking points.
One final amusing thing in the mail: Prof Ettinger gets in a sideswipe at folks who have (accurately) found "NH Listens" to be a progressive sham:
[NH Listens is] well regarded in the state with the exception of a small tea party group that has accused it of exercising mind control.
Ah, I know at least some of the folks he's talking about there! I'm sure they'll be happy to learn they're still living rent-free in Ettinger's head.