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December 1st, 2011

Bachmann Campaign In Hot Water Over Misuse of Homeschooler Email List

The Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators (NICHE) has sent out an email to its members that says Michele Bachmann’s campaign uploaded the group’s email list into their campaign database without permission.

Barb Heki, a NICHE board member who oversees the public relations communications efforts for the group, is also a paid employee of Bachmann’s Iowa campaign.

Below is the email that was obtained by from Justin LaVan, the group’s president.

I want to apologize on behalf of the NICHE Board and advise you that we discovered that our list of homeschool contacts was uploaded without our knowledge or permission by the Michele Bachmann Campaign and used twice for e-mails from her campaign. We have been assured by the Bachmann Campaign that it was inadvertent. Due to safeguards built into our contact list, we immediately recognized the use. That same day NICHE contacted the Bachmann Campaign and instructed them to cease any further use of the NICHE list, to which they immediately took the necessary corrective actions to correct the situation. By the next day, the Bachmann Campaign was able to find that portion of their database that contained the NICHE list, and we have received written assurance that our contact list was completely deleted.

NICHE has now added even greater protections to the NICHE homeschool contacts list to attempt to eliminate any further mistaken transfers or unauthorized use. Like you, we value our privacy, and NICHE is committed to protecting your confidential personal information in every way we can. NICHE has never shared or sold the use of the NICHE contact list in the entire 20 years of NICHE’s existence – and we will continue this policy. Moreover, NICHE does not endorse or support any candidates.

However, due to federal legal issues surrounding the unauthorized use, NICHE is forced to take several steps to rectify this situation. Because the Bachmann Campaign did receive the benefit of two emails to the contacts on our list – even though NICHE did not authorize this use in any way – we now must require the Bachmann Campaign to pay for the reasonable value of that usage. Further, in accordance with the legal requirements, NICHE must allow all the other campaigns the equal opportunity to pay for two similar e-mails to the contacts on the NICHE list. If the other campaigns decide to pay and send the two e-mails, NICHE will send the e-mails directly without sharing or compromising our contact list in any way.

Again, this one-time procedure is the unfortunate result of this incident and the actions NICHE is required to follow under the federal laws. I sincerely apologize and seek your understanding in this.

In His Service,

Justin E. LaVan
Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators


Photo by Dave Davidson –

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About the Author

Craig Robinson

Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country.

Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses.

A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states.

Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site,

Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing.

Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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