‘I deeply regret this mistake’: Teresa Jacobs contacts Ethics Commission over campaign emails

ORLANDO, Florida. – Orange County School Board President Teresa Jacobs released a letter Friday she sent to the Florida Ethics Commission in which she said her campaign “may have inadvertently used part of an Orange County public school mailing list”.

Jacobs, who won re-election on August 23, told News 6 reporter Mike Holfeld that she published the letter because she wanted to be “transparent”. Jacobs said she doesn’t believe the use of the email addresses had any impact on the outcome of the election.

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Jacobs released a statement on Friday, about a week after the letter was sent to the ethics commission. She said she waited to comment until she knew the commission had received the letter, which was sent by certified mail on August 27.

“During my years in public service, my highest priority has been to maintain the public’s trust in me. For this reason, I am disclosing an error made by my campaign and the steps I took to self-report it to the Florida Commission on Ethics. It was discovered that my campaign was inadvertently using part of an Orange County public school mailing list. After discovering the error, I notified the school district and, soon after, the Florida Ethics Commission. Although this was done unintentionally and without my knowledge, I take full responsibility for my campaign and deeply regret this mistake,” Jacobs said in his statement.

In the letter to the committee, which can be read in full below, Jacobs said the error was brought to his attention the day before the election.

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“I do not believe I violated the code of ethics as there was no intention to use this data,” the letter states. “However, I am writing to you today to report myself to you and determine if any ethics laws have been violated and, if so, what penalty is associated with those violations so that, to the best of my ability, I may rectify this unfortunate and involuntary mistake.”

In the letter, Jacobs said her husband, who oversaw her emails for his 2018 and 2022 campaigns, used an account that hadn’t been accessed in years and noticed a large number of email addresses. email from OCPS employees. He believed that other email addresses obtained by Jacobs had been merged with OCPS email addresses, so he deleted all @OCPS emails and believed the rest were from his original lists.

Jacobs said officials investigated the matter and found that part of his campaign mailing list “was part of the OCPS parent database.”

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“As soon as this was confirmed, I felt compelled to contact the Ethics Commission,” Jacobs wrote.


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