Why I can’t support Quentin Palfrey for Massachusetts Attorney General and you shouldn’t either

By | February 4, 2022

Executive Summary

Quentin Palfrey thinks that rules don’t apply to him, which is a catastrophic character flaw in someone campaigning to be the state’s highest law-enforcement official. Also, there are several other, better candidates in the race. You should support one of them instead.

Quentin Palfrey thinks that rules don’t apply to him

On December 31, 2021, I received an email message from Quentin Palfrey’s campaign sent through the MailChimp email marketing platform. The footer of that message contained the following sentence:

You are receiving this email because of your interest in Quentin’s campaign or another Democratic campaign in Massachusetts.

This sentence makes it clear that the Palfrey campaign used the MailChimp platform to send emails to people who had not opted in to receiving them from the campaign. This is an explicit violation of MailChimp’s acceptable use policy:

You must be able to point to an opt-in form or show other evidence of consent for any commercial or marketing email you send. …

You may not: … Upload or send email Campaigns to purchased, rented, third-party, co-reg, publicly available data, or partner lists of any kind.

Palfrey’s campaign cannot show “an opt-in form or other evidence of consent” because I never consented to receiving emails from them.

I unsubscribed using the link in the footer of the email, sent a complaint about the spam via email to the Palfrey campaign, also complained on Twitter, and reported the violation to MailChimp. MailChimp said they were investigating; the Palfrey campaign did not respond to my email or tweet.

Despite explicitly unsubscribing and complaining to both the Palfrey campaign and MailChimp, I received another spam email from the Palfrey campaign today, once again sent through MailChimp.

Some notes about this:

  • The spam I received today had different language in the footer: “You are receiving this email because you opted in via our website.” This is 100% a lie.
  • The MailChimp platform makes it impossible for a customer to resubscribe someone who has unsubscribed without the customer submitting an opt-in form and clicking a link sent to their inbox to confirm the resubscription (which I most certainly did not do), unless the customer closes their MailChimp account and opens a new one to “wipe out” previous unsubscribes. This, too, is a violation of MailChimp’s acceptable use policy (“You may not: … Set up multiple accounts for any person or entity in order to send similar content, unless you’re part of a franchise or agency.”).
  • The MailChimp links in the first email had “us16” in their host names, while the links in the second email had “us14,” confirming that they were sent from a different MailChimp account.

In short, the Palfrey campaign egregiously violated the terms of use of the platform they used to send fundraising emails, probably got caught and kicked off the platform for it, and then even more egregiously violated the terms of use of the platform by using it to again spam people who had explicitly told them they didn’t want to receive their emails.

There are plenty of email marketing platforms that allow customers to use third-party lists. I’ve written about them before. I think that’s wrong, but it’s legal, and Palfrey could have chosen to use one of those services rather than one whose acceptable use policy explicitly prohibits what he’s doing.

Instead, Palfrey’s campaign chose to repeatedly, knowingly violate the rules of the platform he voluntarily chose to use for sending out his campaign spam.

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. Quentin Palfrey is someone who doesn’t follow rules intended to protect the common good. Quentin Palfrey is someone who knowingly violates the terms of legally binding contracts. Quentin Palfrey is someone who bothers people without their consent and then ignores them when they tell him to leave them alone.

Quentin Palfrey is a man of poor character. He does not deserve your support for Attorney General or any other elected office.

Of note: clearly, I now regret my 2018 endorsement of Palfrey for Lieutenant Governor.

There are better candidates in the race

Simply put, either Andrea Campbell or Shannon Liss-Riordan would be a far better Attorney General than Quentin Palfrey. You should give your support to one of them. Personally, I will be supporting Campbell, because I believe that her career focus on racial inequality and systemic racism is more important for our society right now than Liss-Riordan’s focus on workers’ rights.

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One thought on “Why I can’t support Quentin Palfrey for Massachusetts Attorney General and you shouldn’t either

  1. Pingback: Endorsements for 2022 Boston MA Democratic Primary – Something better to do

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