Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Va. Republican Chairman Federick faces ouster

Update: Petition: "We support Chairman Jeff Frederick". Started by Willie Deutsch on Mar 20, 2009.

Charlottesville, Va.—The Republican Party State Central Committee (SCC) will attempt on April 4 to unseat popularly elected Chairman Jeff Federick. The committee consists of 77 members. Frederick was elected at the Richmond convention last year, unseating John Hager.

I received two robocalls this week from a group calling itself Grassroot Republicans of Virginia. The first Monday evening credited 5th Congressional District Chairman “elitist” Tucker Watkins with the ouster attempt. The robocall this afternoon asked me to contact my committee representative Rachel Schoenwald.

I called Rachel and she called me back. I said I support Frederick and asked why this is a committee action and not a recall vote. She said it’s the party rules and referred me to the Bearing Drift Blog for more details. My position on political parties has long been to change the rules if the arbitrary rules are blocking your goals.

Rachel’s husband, Albemarle County Republican Chairman Christian Schoenwald, will address this matter Thursday morning on the Joe Thomas show on WCHV 1260 AM / 94.1 FM.

As a delegate, I voted for Frederick last year. From the research I’ve done, the case against Frederick seems flimsy. While the ouster is not a legal proceeding, principles of due process should be followed. (A) The accused is presumed innocent. In other words, the SCC is presumed to be lying and must present evidence. (B) The secrecy surrounding the charges, up to this point, is tantamount to anonymous accusers. (C) Some of the charges are in the form of a negative. Frederick doesn’t have to prove he followed a procedure; the accusers should prove he did NOT follow the procedure.

The difficulty of proving a negative is why the accused has presumption of innocence in the first place. What evidence can the accuser produce? There’s no evidence he did it, therefore he must not have done it. So zero evidence is used to support the charge?

If Frederick simply stepped aside for the good of the party, it would appear as an admission of guilt. If he's innocent of one or more of the charges, he should fight it. In my decade of political involvement, I've learned this much: you have to go public. Private discussion with an official has no effect. Just as privately telling a bank robber to stop robbing banks has no effect. Or telling a politician his actions do not reflect his rhetoric has no effect. People will do in darkness what they would never think of doing in the sunlight while people are watching.

I’ll continue to follow this story. Below are links and excerpts to sources I’ve consulted so far.

Republican Party of Virginia

“Pro-Frederick Robocalls Begin” by Jason Kenney, Mar. 12. Includes audio of one of the calls.

“Jeff’s a Fighter” by JR Hoeft, Mar. 17.

“The State Central Committee Votes for Itself” by Jame Atticus Bowden, Mar. 17.

The State Central Committee (SCC), Republican Party of Virginia, will vote on April 4th, 2009 to lynch its chairman, Jeff Frederick or not. The letter of accusations is kept secret to only the members of the SCC. I’m an elected member of the SCC for the 1st CD - since 2000. But, I’m not allowed to share with the elected city and county chairman or the rank and file Republicans, what the accusations are, so much for being open and above board. When Republicans across the Commonwealth can see the charges, they will see that a cabal on the committee created this crisis.

“Frederick’s Letter To Grassroots And Unit Chairmen” by Jason Kenny, Mar. 17.

Notice of Intent to Remove Jeff Frederick as
State Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia
Initial Response to Charges - Summary

The Call to remove Chairman Frederick consists of ten charges. Charges 1, 2, and 3 concern the Chairman’s management of RPV finances. Of those three charges, Charge 1 is the most specific, while Charges 2 and 3 are widely ambiguous, lacking specific references detailing the allegations. The remaining seven charges in the Call concern alleged infractions of the Party Plan or specific interpretations of the Party Plan.

Charge 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.

Response to Charge 1:

While waiting for a newly contracted vendor to complete work on a new RPV website and for a new online donation vendor to complete its setup requirements, the Chairman established a “place holding” website through his own firm, GXS Strategies, Inc., also using its online donation company and subsidiary,, for a period of 91 days. In return for a 7% discount fee, it was expected that would cover all incidental expenses related to any transactions, including payments to merchant banks and credit cards.

Key facts:

· This “place holder” approach was immediately successful. Under the previous chairman, the Party raised only $2,000 online for the first five months of 2008 combined. After the Chairman and RPV staff set up an efficient, yet temporary system, the Party raised over $21,000 online in just three months at no cost to the Party. The funds collected by the RPV website were deposited into a non-interest bearing escrow account for distribution to the Party. Distributions were made on 8 July and 1 October.

· The “place holder” page automatically reported contributions to the RPV employees’ responsible for fundraising supervision, and, providing redundant transparency, the entire account was accessible to RPV employees.

· Of the $21,135.00 in contributions collected for RPV by, the company retained 7% of the total, or $1,479.45, to cover incidental expenses and required remittances to merchant banks, credit card companies, and an online processing service. After fulfilling obligations to merchant banks and credit card companies, retained a maximum total of $581.62 to cover other incidental expenses associated with the credit card collection process.

· In order to fully comply with Virginia campaign finance disclosure law regarding the work it did on behalf of RPV in constructing the “place holder” website and donation page, GXS Strategies, Inc., of which is a subsidiary, reported an in-kind contribution to RPV in the amount of $17,717.61 on 8 September.

· Far from withholding money from RPV to benefit himself, Chairman Frederick’s company provided free services to the Party in an amount that was 30 times greater than the total of the alleged monetary compensation received by his company.

· All records, documentation, and filings verifying this information and detailing these transactions can be accessed via the Virginia Public Access Project, The State Board of Elections, the Federal Elections Committee, and internal RPV documents.

To summarize Charge 1, the Chairman’s company donated $17,717.61 in-kind to the RPV. During the period this company was used, RPV netted $19,655.58 from its online donations. The Chairman’s company provided interim services for 91 days, and the Executive Committee and RPV staff had a full accounting of the fundraising.

Charge 2:

Repeated failure to fully comply with a July 22, 2008 directive unanimously adopted by the RPV Executive Committee to disclose existing and pending contracts with vendors.

Response to Charge 2:

A search of existing contracts reveals that the Executive Director of the RPV provided every known contract to members of the Executive Committee, and that a good-faith effort was made to inform members of future contracts. The Executive Committee itself acknowledged in September 2008 that they were in possession of those records, and no member has indicated to RPV, in writing or otherwise, of the existence of any contract or agreement by which we have not fully complied with this directive, let alone repeatedly so.

Charge 3:

Unauthorized expenditures of RPV funds for unbudgeted activities without either State Central Committee or Executive Committee consent.

Response to Charge 3:

While there is no specific allegation in this charge, it has been suggested by more than one Executive Committee member that the Chairman’s procurement of office space in Northern Virginia was a breach of his authority.

The Chairman rented space at a rate of $600 per month for an office in Prince William County to serve as a Northern Virginia satellite office for RPV and for his legislative constituent service office. It was his intention to use the office space for himself for donor meetings and for other business to be conducted by RPV’s Northern Virginia Field Director and its Finance Director. For the period beginning 15 October 2008 and ending 15 June 2009, Friends of Jeff Frederick paid $2,400 for its portion of the office and RPV paid $2,400.00 for its portion. All payments were made directly to the landlord.

The Party Plan grants the Chairman authority to operate the State Headquarters within the approved budgets for personnel, but makes no other restrictions on the Chairman’s ability to authorize expenditures.

Charge 4:

Failure to provide members of the State Central Committee with a reasonable time to review and consider the proposed 2009 budget prior to proposed adoption by the State Central Committee. Failure to provide one or more members of the State Central Committee with any opportunity to see the proposed budget prior to the meeting.

Charge 5:

Disregard for the minimal rights of members of the State Central Committee to participate in discussion and debate at the December 2008 meeting by refusing to recognize numerous members attempting to speak and failing to ascertain the required 2/3 vote necessary to end debate. Lack of transparency in the budget process by giving members less than 36 hours to consider the budget rather than the usual three weeks.

Charge 6:

Corruption of process by failing to conduct a proper vote on 2009 budget by (1) beginning, but not completing, either a hand count or roll call vote, both properly called for; and (2) unilaterally declaring the vote result without even a partial count of those in favor and no count whatsoever of those opposed.

Response to Charges 4, 5, and 6:

These charges all refer to the approval of the 2009 RPV Budget at the 5 December meeting of the State Central Committee. They state that Chairman Frederick demonstrated a less than firm grasp on the proceedings at various SCC meetings by failing to provide adequate time for budget review, or by failing to recognize various members during debate. More accurately, though, they reflect the disappointment of some State Central members in the outcome of this meeting.

The Executive Committee recommended against approval of the budget by the State Central Committee. But after a prolonged and contentious debate, the State Central Committee voted to approve the budget, which is now in force.

Robert’s Rules of Order and the Party Plan provide every member the opportunity to object and to challenge the Chair on rulings and by raising points of order. Further, Robert’s is clear that it is the responsibility of each member to guard the process by interaction and objection. In this case, no objections were made to the rulings, votes, and procedures described in these charges at the time of the meeting.

Charge 7:

Failure to “promptly convene” the Appeals Committee upon timely receipt of an appeal of a ruling by the General Counsel.

Response to Charge 7:

The “Appeals Committee” is not recognized by the Party Plan, so it not subject to any specific timeline. Moreover, decisions of the Appeals Committee must be affirmed by State Central if they overturn the ruling of RPV General Counsel. The appeal in question was filed specifically to the Appeals Committee the day before the December 2008 meeting of the State Central Committee. Because of an amendment made to the RPV Budget at the December 2008 State Central Committee meeting, the Party’s then-General Counsel stepped down. A meeting of the Appeals Committee could not be scheduled until after a new General Counsel accepted the post.

After a new General Counsel accepted the post, several attempts were made to schedule this meeting to comply with the availability of all participants. Despite these difficulties, the Appeals Committee is scheduled to meet on 20 March 2008, two weeks prior to the first State Central Committee meeting since December.

Charge 8:

Circumventing the State Central Committee by appointing committee and otherwise assuming Duties clearly prescribed in Article III, Section D, as duties of the State Central Committee without consultation or authorization.

Response to Charge 8:

There is ample and long-standing precedent for the Chairman to establish ad hoc committees without SCC approval. In fact, members of the Executive Committee and the SCC both offered positive feedback on the establishment of these committees, and further, no member lodged any objections. Further one of the established committees was specifically requested by a District Chairman on the Executive Committee.

Charge 9:

Damage to the reputation and effectiveness of the Republican Party of Virginia through refusal to coordinate activities, including campaign messages, with Republican nominees for public office.

Response to Charge 9:

Evidence to the contrary on this charge is extensive and heavily documented. In fact, the Chairman and RPV staff undertook several sensitive assignments from both federal and state elected officials and nominees.

Since Chairman Frederick assumed his current position, RPV staff works cooperatively, frequently, and regularly with Republican nominees, candidates, and elected officials. There are numerous examples to support this fact.

[NOTE: Since much of the evidence contradicting this charge contains sensitive internal campaign documents, supporting documentation is being offered exclusively to members of the State Central Committee.]

Charge 10:

Failure to notify the Executive Committee of a possible breach of security and/or compromise of security of data residing on servers and failure to act promptly to investigate potential breach when requested to do so.

Response to Charge 10:

In November 2008, some members of the Executive Committee alleged that there had been a breach of RPV’s e-mail lists. Less than 24 hours after the breach was alleged, Chairman Frederick utilized experts in his firm to investigate the possibility of any breach. After an extensive system analysis, which included an examination of log files, no evidence of a breach was found and the Executive Committee was so informed.


Anonymous Rachel Schoenewald said...

"I called Rachel and she called me back. I said I support Frederick and asked why this is a committee action and not a recall vote."

Huh... that's interesting, Blair, because that's not quite how I remember the conversation going.

As I recall, you tried to play ignorant with me, saying you knew nothing about the situation and just didn't understand what the commotion was all about.

So which is it? You knew the situation and were trying to get me to say something juicy for your blog... Or you didn't know about it until you researched the subject and decided to revise the conversation?

3/19/2009 9:51 AM  
Blogger Blair said...

Thanks for your feedback, Rachel. My description of the conversation is not a transcript of the conversation. I did say those things to you. I did call you around mid-day and left a message and you did call me back around 6 pm. I still don't understand what the commotion is all about. There seem to be hidden agendas.

I said the only chatter I've heard has been on the radio from Democrats--Coy Barefoot on WINA twice, first time I didn't get the name of the guest, second time Coy was talking to Chris Graham of Augusta Free Press. I told you I was going to ask WCHV to ask Christian about this, but I missed that part of the show. So I don't know if something happened on the radio that has upset you.

I took your advice and did the research consulting the blog you cited. I read all the comments and I posted a comment on two blogs. I didn't know the details until I researched it AND I did not revise the conversation.

I did say to you that I support Frederick and I did ask why it's a committee action and not a recall vote. You did say the Party Plan does not allow for that. My description seems pretty innocent.

Rachel, please re-read your comment and think about your tone. I've been in the political fray for a decade now. How long do you think it takes me to digest information and reach a conclusion? I think you're upset at my conclusion reached based on other sources and you're projecting those feelings on my brief description of the conversation. On April 4 you should vote your conscience.

When I got the robocall I thought Albemarle County was somehow involved in this mess. After talking with you, I figured you were just a committee member. After reading your comment, now I think you are more deeply involved than a simple committee member. You're cetainly emotionally invested.

I never said I would not blog about this. Did you not know I have a blog? Did you not know I'm an articulate writer, stand on principle and often go against fellow Republicans? If you read the post again, you'll see this statement: "In my decade of political involvement, I've learned this much: you have to go public."

Maybe you read into this statement: "I’ll continue to follow this story." As noted, I followed along on the radio. I was motivated enough to call you. I voted for Frederick last year so you might confuse following Frederick with having secret insider knowledge about the ouster. All I know is what I read on the blogs I cited in this post.

I am surprised at your reaction and condescension. But given the broader historical context, I guess I shouldn't be. Thou dost protest too much.

3/19/2009 7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/21/2009 10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/21/2009 10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are you covering up, Blair? Why are you censoring people? What secrets are you trying to hide? Are you deleting comments because they revealed information about you that you'd prefer for the public not to know? Come on, Blair, don't censor the truth!!

3/22/2009 12:29 PM  
Blogger Blair said...

For the first time since I started this blog Jan. 2006, I have a stalker. I deleted those comments because of obscenities and hate speech. I don't want to enable comment moderation and screen all the comments but I may have to. I work for a living and don't have time to check the blog constantly because some anonymous psycho has so much free time to crusade against me. Why don't you start your own blog? Get a life!

3/22/2009 10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blair what are you hiding? Why are you censoring people for pointing out the simple fact that you are a mental case, and that it clouds your view of reality?

3/27/2009 1:28 PM  
Anonymous Blair Fan said...

Anonymous person, stop being mean to Blair. It's not his fault that he has a mental retardation. Some people are just born that way. We're behind you Blair!

3/27/2009 1:45 PM  
Blogger Blair said...

I have enabled comment moderation.

3/27/2009 8:16 PM  
Blogger VASocialConservative said...

I just saw this post for the first time, but just as a point of fact state central members or others could have made a motion at the state convention to remove the chairman. 2/3rds of the assembled delegates would have had to go along with that motion.

It is innaccurate to say there is no provision for a recall vote. Those wanting to remove Jeff knew they cold not have gotten 2/3rds of the convention to vote to remove him and that is one reason why they decided to remove him via the scc on April 4th.

For those who care as well, Mr. Schoenwald is running against Bill Stanley for 5th district chair. It is a pretty cut and dry grassroots vs. establishment/anti-frederick vs. pro-frederick. If you supported Jeff Bill Stanley needs your vote at the convention.

3/17/2010 10:28 PM  

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