A candidate for the 28th Legislative District is crying foul over the online posting of his and his wife’s Social Security numbers by his opponent’s campaign.
Democratic challenger Eric Choiniere said Monday that he filed a police report as a precaution in the event the posting made them a target of identity theft. He did not question the validity of the public records posted by the campaign of Steve O’Ban, his Republican opponent.
Two documents posted on the Facebook page included the Social Security numbers of Choiniere, a University Place city councilman, and his wife, Donelle. They were part of the personal bankruptcy filings the couple made in 1991 and 2003.
O’Ban said the campaign removed the digits as soon as it was pointed out, but they were still visible on the 1991 bankruptcy document as of late Monday afternoon.
Choiniere called the posting “extremely, maliciously irresponsible.”
“I think it’s kind of ironic (that) they’re railing on me for not being financially responsible,” he said. “We’re being financially responsible for the last several years, and now they do something that could destroy our finances.”
O’Ban confirmed that his consultant set up the Facebook page titled “Eric Choiniere Bankrupt Spendthrift.” The bankruptcy filings are a basis for the O’Ban campaign’s advertisement questioning Choiniere’s financial judgment. A television advertisement includes a web link to the Facebook page.
“We continue to believe that Mr. Choiniere’s bankruptcies, evictions and other lawsuits by creditors are highly relevant and go directly to the question of whether he should represent us and decide how to spend taxpayers’ money,” O’Ban said.
The contest has turned nasty. Supporters of Choiniere have taken out advertisements saying O’Ban holds extreme views on education and access to birth control.
Dan Sytman, spokesman for the state Attorney General’s Office tasked with safeguarding consumers, said no law was broken.
“It’s not good practice (to post Social Security numbers online), but it’s not illegal,” he said.
The spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department confirmed Choiniere filed a police report.
The report said Choiniere’s daughter discovered the Social Security numbers while browsing her Facebook page and reading a comment on a photograph linked to the Facebook page.
Choiniere said he did not contact O’Ban or his campaign with his concerns before calling police.