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Bachmann speaking at NICHE Homeschool Day on the Hill 2011
Photo by Dave Davidson – Prezography.com

Former NICHE Board member and Bachmann Presidential campaign staffer Barb Heki and her husband are suing Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, former Bachmann Iowa Co-Chair Kent Sorenson and others after the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators (NICHE) emails list added to the Bachmann campaign database without permission.  It was then used to send out two emails to Iowa homeschooling families on the list.  She is accusing Sorenson of stealing the list from her computer and then accusing the Bachmann campaign of covering it up and letting her receive the blame.

In the lawsuit Heki contends that she and her husband Richard were then removed from the NICHE board on November 29th as a result.   Justin LaVan, the President of NICHE, emailed me yesterday to say that isn’t so.

I want you to know that NICHE did not do anything wrong in removing Rich and Barb Heki from the board.  Their removal was not directly related to the list incident.  NICHE is a ministry that will continue to serve home school families throughout this state and do what we believe is best for NICHE and its members.

He said on Tuesday to the the Wall Street Journal that he didn’t want to speculate on how the Bachmann campaign received the list.  He did say that the Bachmann campaign did later pay a reasonable fee for the two emails that were sent out.  At the time other campaigns were also given an opportunity to purchase the list.  He said that, “We’ve never asserted that the Bachmann campaign stole the list.  There is no issue as far as I’m concerned with the Bachmann campaign.”

He would not comment further on the Hekis’ removal other than to say it was not directly related to the incident.

Update: Barb Heki emailed the following statement to Caffeinated Thoughts in response to LaVan’s comments.

LaVan’s statement is patently false. The NICHE Board violated a number of their own bylaws as well as state law. Two other board members later resigned, stating that the board absolutely did violate their bylaws in our removal. It was done unexpectedly, after 11 years of service, at the tail-end of a telephone board meeting called to discuss the database incident (which was later discovered to be a theft from my computer).  Our removal was not only unlawful, but it was done in a highly unChristian manner by a Christian organization, in violation of the Scriptural procedure in their bylaws. NICHE also never password-protected or secured their database that they gave board members via email or flash drive, and never suggested that that should be done in the 10 years that I had the database. I didn’t even know you could password-protect an Excel document.

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5 comments
  1. Obvious follow-up question:  Then what exactly was she removed for?  If you didn’t want people to think she was removed for the email incident, then why did you time her dismissal the way you did?

      1. That may have been a good thing to include in your report. I am also interested in whether or not it is standard practice, then, to make public their network email list. And how the owners of those email addresses feel about them being shared.

      2.  I am on the list, and complained to NICHE about getting e-mails. My understanding is that they had to give “equal time” to others (via pay) to access the list since Bachmann had used it. It wasn’t their choice, once the list was used.

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