Read the Bills Act Coalition

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

RPV Chair responds to the charges against him

Below is the response to the charges against RPV Chair Frederick

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, ChargedContributions.com, for a period of 91 days. In return for a 7% discount fee, it was expected that ChargedContributions.com 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 ChargedContributions.com, 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, ChargedContributions.com 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 ChargedContributions.com 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.

2 comments:

Alter of Freedom said...

Though I did not support Frederick in his bid for the Chair at the convention, I commend you for posting the response emailed out to many in the GOP by the Chairman. There has been a rampant misinformation campaign being waged from within to oust him from those who did not support him at the convention. This has been ongoing since the convention by many and some have attempted to enlist me in the endeavor as well. If we are to be one Party we must get over this childish behavior being demonstrated by some driven by ego and lofty sense of importance. I did not support Jeff, but there is and has been zero evidence to support such actions other than to the fact that some people simply do not like him. I do not find that justification enough to remove a sitting Chair that garnered 60% of support at the convention. If he has done something criminal, then that is simply another case entirely.

Unhappy said...

I don't pretend to know what's going on with the other charges, but look closely at the response to charges 4-6. Nowhere does he deny that the specifics actually happened.
He doesn't deny that there was not adequate time: he doesn't actually address that at all.
He doesn't deny that he failed to recognize some members who wished to speak: he simply said debate was long.
He doesn't deny that he rushed the vote through without counting both sides: he just says that there weren't any objections. I imagine that members were unable to register objections because you have to be recognized by the chair to object.
A reliance on RONR is absurd. To say that RONR justifies the actions because nobody objected is to completely ignore that RONR requires that both the Yeas and the Nays be counted. This is one of the oldest principles of parliamentary law.