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Arizona employee cleared in Lourdes trip email investigation

August 12, 2016

The office of Arizona’s attorney general has concluded that the director of the state’s Department of Economic Security did not break the law when he sent an email relating to a pilgrimage to Lourdes.

In an email sent to thousands of employees, Jeffries wrote about his upcoming pilgrimage and said, “If you are comfortable, I would be immensely honored to carry your special intentions to the Grotto at Massabielle on the River Gave in Lourdes.” He also had his assistant track the special intentions, the Arizona Republic reported.

Paul Watkins, chief counsel of the attorney general’s civil division, said that Jeffries “likely should not have” asked his assistant to track the intentions. Noting that the state does not forbid its employees to send personal emails, however, Watkins concluded that no laws were broken.

“Mr. Jeffries' email is plainly personal,” said Watkins. “At no time did Mr. Jeffries state that [his department] is sponsoring or endorsing his emails, his trip, or his beliefs.”

Watkins also found that Jeffries “sought to inspire, not to proselytize or disparage.”

 
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