Before we get into things, I want to give you the problem at RPV in microcosm.
A friend passes along this:
What’s the problem? RPV is prevented by its State Party Plan from materially benefiting one candidate over another in a nomination contest. From the RPV staff member (who offers their name as M.A.) involved:
“(W)hile I was working at RPV, I was instructed from higher ups to direct, shoot and edit Amy Frederick’s campaign announcement video. I had originally questioned whether or not this was a conflict of interest seeing that she is the Chairman’s wife and she was not officially a candidate or even the nominee, but I was told that she was allowed to utilize RPV’s resources and it was non of my concern…”
Insofar as RPV resources being used to benefit family members, Frederick promised it would not happen. As Bwana put at Renaissance Ruminations, l’affaire Frederick become a matter of conscience. Moreover, sorting out the business of shoddy reporting and poor leadership is going to become very, very expensive — perhaps as expensive as the 2002 eavesdropping scandal.
It will require a Herculean effort to repair, and few people understood what might be at stake.
Let’s Talk FEC Filings
I’ve been dancing on a pin on this one for some time. As I’ve repeated in the past, on principle I agree with the vast majority of Chairman Jeff Frederick’s politics.
On process, and in the way RPV has been abused for the ambitions of a few, I strongly and vehemently disagree.
RPV’s State Central Committee has a choice. It’s not one that they want to make, but sadly one they must consider. A total of 58 members must consider the condition of the Republican Party of Virginia and determine — for themselves — whether Frederick is a help or hindrance to our cause.
Ideas of criminal behavior, civil punishment and unethical activities are all superfluous and meaningless. The RPV State Party Plan does not require these as reasons for removal as Chairman. The only requirement is a question of conscience. If three-fourths determine that Chairman Frederick must go, then that must happen. Better stated, if a mere 25% — just 20 people — cannot stand behind Frederick’s leadership or is not confident the direction of the party, then he must be removed.
Let’s focus on the first charge, which is probably the most damaging:
1. Failure to transmit, in a timely manner, online contributions made to the Republican Party of Virginia and processed by his own company. Withholding 7% of online contributions made to the RPV for a period of weeks during the summer of 2008 after repeatedly assuring the Executive Committee that he was not using his company as a vendor for RPV.
“False and without merit” is how Frederick described it at first… until a simple FEC search turned up about $1,384 of merit.
Now — let’s make things worse.
Here’s the post on Bearing Drift on the GXS filings with the Virginia State Board of Elections showing a 13 March 2009 amendment for an in-kind donation supposedly made in September 2008.
In an email from David Poole of VPAP he informs us that “the RPV file indicates it was created on 3/13/2009?. A full NINE DAYS after the SCC delivered it’s letter of intent to Jeff Frederick but just before he replied to the charges and cited the in-kind contribution that did not exist until his job was on the line.
Here’s the kicker. Gen-X Strategies is forbidden by the Code of Federal Regulations to make in-kind federal donations to any political party.
Problem is, in-kind donations for administrative costs are typically broken in two, and filed as in-kind to the federal and the state account. A cursory glance at RPV’s filings with the FEC demonstrate this amply.
Sec. 115.2 Prohibition.
(a) It shall be unlawful for a Federal contractor, as defined in Sec. 115.1(a), to make, either directly or indirectly, any contribution or expenditure of money or other thing of value, or to promise expressly or impliedly to make any such contribution or expenditure to any political party, committee, or candidate for Federal office or to any person for any political purpose or use. This prohibition does not apply to contributions or expenditures in connection with State or local elections.
Now so far, we’re not in the weeds just yet. RPV denies such a charge, and Frederick asserts that he intended to make the donation a state one rather than a federal one.
…except that would break with virtually every other administrative expense listed on RPV’s filing reports.
Here’s another problem that makes a mess. RPV used this in-kind donation (presumably exclusively to the state account) to raise… federal funds.
In a federal year.
For federal candidates.
For federal activity.
…and the “in-kind” administrative donation to the state account benefits the federal account?
Now if you’re an FEC investigator, your eyebrow just performed it’s best Tim Kaine impression.
And that “oh crap” you just heard? It was an echo from previous Executive Committee meetings who are asking questions and not getting answers, and the reason why RPV State Central hasn’t been talking too much about the “charges” as they are.
Consider this as well: It is also a giant game of chicken — I believe — between pro-Frederick supporters and members of the Executive Committee. A full exposition of Charge #1 and an open meeting that does not go into executive session would open these concerns to the light of day, open RPV to a FEC investigation that could potentially carry severe penalties and fines, and virtually bind the hands of the next chairman. Sunlight being the best of disinfectant, this isn’t such a bad idea… but some folks are hoping such strum und drang to be enough of a deterrent. Those folks are in for a surprise.
However, if the “investigation” is carried on behind closed doors, not only can State Central determine what — if any — violations there are, they can also lay the blame directly upon Frederick and use the mishandling to remove Frederick as chairman. If fairness is your bailiwick, then executive session is what you want, and of what some perhaps are afraid.
Now Frederick would like nothing better than for this to go away. An 11th hour deal brokered at the Marriott (where we “work together” to sort the mess out) or a State Central meeting that is otherwise disrupted or unfinished will only serve to make State Central’s responsibilities that much more complicated and expensive — “making the steal more expensive than it’s worth” to quote a Leadership Institute immutable law.
Yes, this has serious repercussions. Add to it the fact Frederick is retaining legal counsel (presumably for defamation charges) and this is a serious and well-played game of intimidation. Odd thing is, if that is Frederick’s long term strategy, that is precisely the kind of furnace in which steel — and perhaps backbone — is made.
So there you have the crux of the crisis at RPV
. The dismal fundraising, mismanagement, failure to play well with others, and total failure to communicate all add up to one conclusion. As Bwana so eloquently put it:
Taken singly, none of these items is fatal. Taken as a body of work, it shows that Chairman Jeff is not the right person to lead the Va GOP in the 2009 elections.
Sadly… the potential FEC violations could very well be fatal. The kabuki dance you’ve seen over the last few weeks will hopefully come to a speedy end tomorrow. One way or another, Jeff Frederick either must have the courage to resign, or State Central must exercise it’s duty to preserve the public trust and remove him.