The Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators (NICHE) has sent out an email to the groups members that says that Michele Bachmann’s campaign uploaded the groups email list into their campaign database without the permission of the group.The followup from NICHE (an apt acronym) says Team Bachmann has deleted everything, but what has been seen cannot be unseen. In the ground war of the caucuses, this is way more important than the candidate saying she'd close the embassy in Iran (which has been closed since the Hostage Crisis Era) or Kent Sorensen tweeting about "moving vans" at Cain HQ which turned out to be delivering yard signs.
"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."
In the ground war of field politics, the list is your life. The staffers and volunteers make tens of thousands of phone calls -- if you're an Iowa Republican, you got one over dinner last night -- to separate the "ones" (supporters who absolutely will vote or caucus for your candidate) from your "leaners" and your "fives" (absolutely supporting someone else). Any tool, any list, that makes this task less tedious is priceless. But it always has a price, and groups who own such data make significant sums from it. Some lists sell for six figures, so an unauthorized use of a list not only implies an endorsement, it costs the organization money.
What would be the Democratic list of comparable value to a home school list for Republlicans: absolutely solid, absolutely proprietary, and impossible to get? Big picture I'll say labor, but depending on your location there may be something else. In the People's Republic of Johnson County, I'd say the New Pioneer Co-op membership list would be the most valuable.
That or race data in the voter registration files. (Those are public and available to campaigns for a fairly modest price, but can't be used for commercial purposes.) Iowa doesn't have that data, but some southern states with track records of discrimination do. In the Mississippi governor's race last month, where a white Republican beat a black Democrat, the results were almost entirely polarized on race. And with African Americans still polling for President Obama in the mid-90 percent range, that piece of data would be even more useful than party affiliation.