October 31, 2014

Password problems persist for new Iowa GOP leaders

Think you’ve got a problem remembering and keeping track of all your computer passwords? After nine days on the job, the Iowa GOP’s new leadership hasn’t been able to get an accurate list of passwords for the party’s online platforms.

The party’s previous chairman was ousted June 28. The list of passwords left behind for the Iowa Republican Party’s website and other online accounts didn’t work. Chad Olsen was hired as the party’s executive director on the 28th of June.

“When we attempted to use those user names and passwords for the most part we were unsuccessful in gaining access and in those cases where the username was correct, but the pasword was not functional, you can attempt to reset the password,” Olsen says. “The problem was that if we attempted to the reset the password, the reset information would go to the former executive director’s email account.”

Steve Bierfeldt, a staffer on Rand Paul’s 2010 U.S. Senate campaign in Kentucky, had served as the party’s executive director for the past two years. He actually was the Iowa GOP’s only paid employee — until June 14 when he resigned rather than wait to be fired when Jeff Kaufmann, the new party chairman, took over. There hadn’t been a tweet on the @IowaGOP twitter account for a month, but one finally popped up today announcing: “We’re baaaaAAAAAaaaack. What’d we miss?!” Olsen, the party’s new executive director, is now able to tweet for the party.

“We do not yet have administrative rights to the Facebook page,” Olsen says. “We are still waiting for the former executive director to provide those.”

This weekend Olsen did get access to the Iowa Republican Party’s website. Olsen says the party’s finances were never affected by password problem.

“All the financial information of the party is under our control so we don’t have any issues with reporting or bank accounts or anything like that,” Olsen says.

However, the party’s current leaders do not have control over the “iowagop.org” email account.

“It hasn’t been the smoothest transition that we could have wanted,” Olsen says, “but I think eventually we will get there.”

Olsen says on the advice of legal counsel, he cannot comment on whether the party is considering legal action over these password problems.

When George W. Bush’s team entered the White House on January 20th of 2001, they discovered some Clinton staffers had removed the “W” keys from over 60 computer keyboards before they left. There was only one desk top computer left behind at Iowa GOP headquarters in late June when Olsen arrived and he says its keyboard is intact.