Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has announced formally that she will run for President of the United States in the 2012 election. The widely anticipated announcement was made in her birthplace, Waterloo, Iowa. And so begins what seems like an endless cycle of presidential campaigning.
Bachmann is no rookie to state or federal politics. She is a three-term Congresswoman representing Minnesota’s 6th District and prior to that she served in the Minnesota State Senate. She’s also a tax litigation attorney.
Everything in her past will now become fair game for her republican and democratic opponents. Every speech, interview, vote, and sponsored bill will be located and analyzed by opponents and media alike. There will be someone (or a series of someone’s) who will be working hard to come up with the next “gotcha” question. Activities that Congresswoman Bachmann participated in 25 years ago will be brought up and if there’s something in her past that “might” make for a sensational story you betcha the media is going to run with it.
The scrutiny that Congresswoman Backmann will have to endure is no different than that of a company that is forced to turn over documents during an eDiscovery matter.
Memos, spreadsheets, emails, IMs and text messages will be drawn into question. Custodians of the information will be subjected to answering questions about activities that might have taken place long ago. Company representatives will be asked to recreate conversations based on emails, put those conversations into context and may not have the opportunity to tell the full story that explains the content.
Ms. Bachmann is sure to pay a price for her decision. Her life will forever be changed. Information about her past will become fodder for public consumption. For those who work in public companies and whose email and other forms of communication become part of the public record, they too could pay a price for things that were said or interpreted out of context.
eDiscovery is everywhere, in every profession and every walk of life. If you created it, someone will find it.