As part of presidential hopeful Jeb Bush's quest to counteract his last name, he released a trove of purportedly personal emails in the name of "transparency." That's nice, but utterly symbolic: The emails he released were from a public-facing account that he used primarily to communicate with random constituents, not to actually govern. It's as though he released his spam inbox and proclaimed it as a window into his soul. If Bush really wants to make a statement, he'll give us the data that actually matters.
In addition to being filled with personally identifiable information that his constituents sent to him in the hopes of resolving their various troubles with state agencies, Jeb Bush's big noble email dump is completely misleading. "In the spirit of transparency," Bush states on his new website, "I am posting the emails of my governorship here." But all that he's made available is the contents of one email account—email@example.com. That domain was registered via GoDaddy in 1997 and is owned by his political campaign operation—it is unaffiliated with the state of Florida or the office of governor (his official account was like some variant of [name]@eog.state.fl.us). The emails the public has been given are as much "the emails of [his] governorship" as my ancient live.com inbox would be "the emails of my Gawker job." It's a ploy.
If you're skeptical, consider this: On the morning of September 11, 2001, according to the email dump, the governor of the third most populous state in the nation—the state where the president of the United States happened to be located on that morning—received or sent precisely 10 emails between the time of the attacks and 1:30 p.m. If it's true that firstname.lastname@example.org was his only operational email account, that lack of communications in a crisis is stunning.
But if Bush is dedicated to transparency, and truly wants voters to be able to access his missives for voters to, as he put it in his bullshit self-doxxing announcement, "read them and make up your own mind," surely he won't mind releasing the emails that matter, right? Gawker has submitted a request under Florida's sunshine law to the Department of State (which is where the governor's office directed me), "seeking every email sent and received from Gov. Jeb Bush's official, state provided email account, for the duration of his term as governor of Florida." Given Bush's born-again openness, I've contacted his leadership PAC with a request for a privacy waiver permitting Florida to process the emails without redacting the important information he thinks we should have, in the name of transparency, which he obviously cares about because he released all those emails.
And since Bush's commitment to transparency is so strong that he was willing to sacrifice the privacy interests of dozens and perhaps hundreds of his former constituents by publishing their social security numbers, health data, and telephone numbers, Gawker has also submitted Freedom of Information Act requests for Jeb Bush's files at the IRS, Social Security Administration, and FBI, and have asked him to provide a personal privacy waiver in those cases, too.
Gawker salutes Jeb Bush and his dedication to an informed electorate. We can't wait to see full picture of his governorship, and make up our own minds, and look forward to his help in bringing this important information about his tenure to the public.