I received the following email from RPV Chairman Jeff Frederick earlier this week:
Dear Republican Friend,
Less than one year ago, thousands of our partyâ€™s activists and volunteers attended the 2008 State Republican Convention in Richmond. It was at this gathering that I was overwhelmingly elected chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV).
At that Convention, my message of a Republican Party that would be driven by the beliefs and convictions of the grassroots carried me to a clear and convincing victory. I won nearly 60% of the vote, carrying 8 of Virginiaâ€™s 11 Congressional districts. As my four immediate predecessors had each been initially elected by the members of the RPV State Central Committee, I became the first Chairman in 12 years to initially win election at a convention, and the first in 16 years to win a contested convention.
Regardless of whether you voted for me or even attended the 2008 Convention, I want you to know that Iâ€™m proud that I have honored the commitment to refocus our partyâ€™s priorities on the grassroots, as opposed to the top-down approach we had taken for so many years to disappointing â€“ and sometimes disastrous â€“ results at the ballot box.
Iâ€™m further proud of the achievements weâ€™ve made at the RPV in less than 10 months. We have aggressively communicated a consistent conservative message in the mold of Ronald Reagan; surpassed the Democrats in the use of technology; and established field-representatives in every area of the state to serve our local Party units.
Despite an extremely challenging national environment for Republicans, RPV raised over $1 million during my first seven months as Chairman to support our candidates and grassroots efforts. And, those monies were in addition to resources provided by the Republican National Committee (RNC), where combined, led to RPV spending an unprecedented $5 million on behalf of our candidates last year.
More recently, we have actively assisted the resurgence of our party in special elections, where our candidates have made great strides in districts Barack Obama won by large margins.
All of this was accomplished in less than a year, in large part because we changed the way RPV did business and listened to the voice of the grassroots.
Unfortunately, many of the same Party insiders who overwhelmingly opposed me last year have decided to wage a campaign to overturn the results of last yearâ€™s State Convention and remove me as State Party Chairman. Because they never supported me, my removal has been a consistent focus of theirs almost from the moment I took office.
Because I would not step aside, this group served me with a list of â€œchargesâ€ as a pretext to vote me out at a Party meeting to be held April 4. Disappointingly, several of these individuals have already declared their intentions to remove me at that meeting regardless of my response to these charges. In effect, they have decided to prejudge what is supposed to be a fair and deliberative process.
As I have stated from the beginning, I will not abandon the chairmanship and break my pledge to the rank-and-file Republicans who elected me less than a year ago. The votes and decisions of the thousands of the Party faithful who attend our conventions, where we select our partyâ€™s nominees and elect our Partyâ€™s leaders, must be respected. Overturning them because the results do not fully comply with the choices of long-time Party insiders would be a violation of the trust the Republican Party must hold with its own conservative base. Elections should mean something, after all.
Below you will find a summary of my response to the â€œchargesâ€ against me. A comprehensive response containing much greater detail accompanied by supporting documentation is being sent to every member of the State Central Committee (SCC). These are the seventy-seven individuals who will vote on my Chairmanship on April 4.
As you know, one of the mediaâ€™s favorite story lines in Virginia this decade has been Republicans fighting Republicans. Whether it was a battle between Republicans over car tax relief in 2001; over a massive tax increase in 2004; or, more recently, over transportation funding, many of our stateâ€™s editorial pages are delighted when weâ€™re battling one another.
I regret having to write you on this matter. Even though those working to remove me as Chairman have fought this battle largely in the media, engineering almost a news release per day, it was my hope I could respond to the charges without distributing them to a large audience. My hopes for discretion in this matter and my plan to restrict my responses to these charges only to the seventy-seven members of the SCC were dashed last week when my critics turned them over to the Associated Press.
From the moment I read the â€œcharges,â€ I have maintained they are false and without merit, and that one day soon I would respond to them thoroughly and convincingly. That day is today.
With these charges swirling in the media, I believe it is very important you be kept fully informed as to what is going on in your Republican Party. I make no apologies for standing against these efforts to remove me or the changes Iâ€™ve made within our party to give greater authority and input to the grassroots. Those seeking my removal are asking me to abandon the promises that earned me the chairmanship so that they can take us back to the way things used to be. In my opinion, that would be a disaster.
I do not take it personally that some want me to step down so we can return to the old way of doing things. After all, very few of them ever supported me, and many of the elected officials in Virginia endorsed my opponentâ€™s campaign. But, I do take offense when a small minority seeks to nullify the voices of so many, once again turning our party into a rubber stamp for its long-time insiders.
For years, the Virginia Republican Party had been run from the â€œtop downâ€, with consultants and lobbyists providing far more input into the direction of our party than the grassroots. The result? Republicans supporting tax increases in 2004; 11 seats lost just this decade in the House of Delegates; and control of the Virginia Senate now in the hands of Democrats.
This is the same mentality that cost us United States House and Senate, where Republicans strayed from their core beliefs and ignored the grassroots, â€œspendingâ€ their way to minority status in a body that is now a rubber stamp for Barack Obama. Our nation and our commonwealth are just too important to go back to the old way of doing business.
Iâ€™m disappointed some in our party want to fight old intra-party squabbles. But, they will not distract me from our efforts to build our grassroots, oppose the egregious liberal agenda of Barack Obama and the congressional Democrats, and do everything I can to ensure we prevail in the 2009 elections to make Bob McDonnell our next governor.
To the hundreds of you who have written, called or emailed your support on behalf of our quest to change the Republican Party of Virginia, I want to thank you for your strong encouragement and words of support these last several days. Rest assured, we’re fighting for the future of our Republican Party and our commonwealth, and we will not back down.
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 Chairmanâ€™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.
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 â€œplace holdingâ€ 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.
Â· This â€œplace holderâ€ 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.
Â· The â€œplace holderâ€ page automatically reported contributions to the RPV employeesâ€™ responsible for fundraising supervision, and, providing redundant transparency, the entire account was accessible to RPV employees.
Â· 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.
Â· In order to fully comply with Virginia campaign finance disclosure law regarding the work it did on behalf of RPV in constructing the â€œplace holderâ€ 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.
Â· Far from withholding money from RPV to benefit himself, Chairman Frederickâ€™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.
Â· 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 Chairmanâ€™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 Chairmanâ€™s company provided interim services for 91 days, and the Executive Committee and RPV staff had a full accounting of the fundraising.
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.
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 Chairmanâ€™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 RPVâ€™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 Chairmanâ€™s ability to authorize expenditures.
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.
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.
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.
Robertâ€™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, Robertâ€™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.
Failure to â€œpromptly conveneâ€ the Appeals Committee upon timely receipt of an appeal of a ruling by the General Counsel.
Response to Charge 7:
The â€œAppeals Committeeâ€ 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 Partyâ€™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.
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.
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.]
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 RPVâ€™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.
I contacted my 5th District Representatives on State Central Committee this evening, the ones who have yet to respond to my last email, asking that they please stand united behind our Chairman unless their is solid proof of any wrongdoing that would warrant his removal, provided his rebuttal does not sufficiently justify his actions.
Based on the above explanations for each allegation, I personally cannot see the outweighing benefit for disenfranchising the votes of the State Delegates at last year’s convention.