Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Blogger Hypocrisy Abounds.

Long ago, before there was a race for the 51st district, Tom Kopko did a little work for a friend and fellow conservative, Faisal Gill, for which he was paid. When another candidate later entered the race, the idea that the chair of the 51st committee had done work paid for by a candidate was seen as a serious issue. Now, Tom had never endorsed Faisal, nor did he volunteer for his campaign, give him money, or provide any support, other than the work he was hired to do before there WAS a nomination contest.

But still, Tom Kopko, out of an overabundance of caution and to try as best he could to eliminate one issue from a host of issues it was clear the other candidate was going to raise over the next few months, offered to give his proxy to a person of the candidate's choosing. While the proxy could NOT be formally transferred, effectively Tom was removed from the 51st convention in place of a person chosen by Gill's opponent.

Further, two chairs were assigned the credentials committee, both chosen by the candidates. And the single chair of the elections committee at the convention was chosen by Gill's opponent, giving her a majority on that important committee charged with making sure nobody voted in the wrong precinct. It was that committee, majority run by Gill's opponent's people, that allowed the overvotes at the convention. It was Gill's opponent's choice for the convention that ran the meeting and made the judgments. It was a long-time republican committee member and strong supporter of Gill's opponent who was in charge of handing out ballots at the precinct that had 3 overvotes.

That being a long detour to the point of this entry, which is the rank hypocrisy of the Gill-haters at BVBL and Goodbye Ken. (I hate linking that site -- realise if you go there that most of what he says is false, for example the 11th CAN'T meet yet to handle the appeal because if hasn't gone through the 51st district meeting yet, also that Kokpo didn't run the convention, it was Gill's opponent's people that were in charge of the elections committee which screwed up, and there is no evidence that Kopko made ANY decisions that weren't entirely proper and fair).

See, these two blogs were the most vicious in their complaints that it would be impossible for a person who received ANY money from a candidate to be in charge of anything having to do with the election. That despite information from people like me that it was fairly common practice for people in charge of districts to receive money from one of the candidates for office.

So, where is their outrage over Becky Stoekel, 11th district chair and the person in charge of handling an appeal of the 51st convention? I now see that James Young has the same thoughts I have about this, and reports some interesting things.

See, unlike Tom Kopko, Becky Stoekel ENDORSED Gill's opponent. Unlike Kopko, Becky active worked for Gill's opponent, handling the negative attack flyers against him. Like Kopko, Becky was paid by Gill's opponent for work totaling over 4000 dollars, over twice what Gill's opponent claimed TAINTED Kopko. But UNLIKE Kopko, Becky received that money DURING an active nomination fight.

And now, having been a firm supporter of Gill's opponent, having received thousands of dollars from Gill's opponent, having sent flyers attacking Gill, Becky will be responsible for handling Gill's opponent's appeal of the 51st district convention.

Now, I don't think the money is an issue. Frankly, I don't think Kopko thinks the money is much of an issue, although in every way it's much more an issue with Becky than Kopko, being twice as much, being recieved to specifically attack Gill, and being DURING an active campaign, not before there was even an opponent.

But for those who were so "righteously indignant" over the Kopko payments, this should be a no-brainer. They should be screaming that Becky recuse herselve as Kopko did as much as he was allowed, or that she bend over backwards to prove her "fairness".

But instead, GoodbyeKen acts like even the idea is absurd, and BVBL has been completely silent about it, instead questioning (as best I can tell from the paragraph I can read) Kopko's required handling of the 1st level of appeal -- which he must certainly reject because the appeal is without merit.

That's what distinguishes thoughtful blogging from simple partisan sniping -- consistancy and adherance to stated principles. Something lacking from certain blogs in their desire for an "outcome-based" ethic. I note that both I and James seem to have the same position about Becky that we did about Tom. That's what principles mean, they drive how you make determinations.

James provides a list of other things Becky did at the convention, none of which bothers me. But what does bother me is that, being in a position where her judgment could be questioned, and therefore being in a position where we SHOULD expect her to go out of her way to ensure fairness, instead she simply cancelled a meeting, and tried to reschedule it outside the rules of the party, and on a day when people who support Gill wouldn't be able to attend.

And the allegation is that she postponed the meeting so she could pre-discuss the appeal (which wasn't even filed yet) with members of the RPV. I don't know that to be the case. I just know that it is very important that Becky Stoekel do everything in her power to ensure that her review of the appeal is fair, and if that means appointing someone as a surrogate like Kopko did, that might be the best way to ensure fairness.

And don't try to schedule meetings without the appropriate advance notice being given.


opditch said...

Some local committe member tells me:
Just about every campaign uses Becky's company for their flyers and mailing. In fact, Kopko & Co. used Becky for the printing and mailing of the campaign literature for Corey Stewart last fall, to the tune of about $21,000, check the PWCRC committee's 2006 Dec. financial report on the state board of elections site.

Charles said...

Of course they do. And I imagine there's some democratic operative who runs a business that most of the democrats use.

The point is that you hire people who are of like mind to do work for you, and not because you are trying to bribe them into making decisions for you.

It's just that some bloggers were certain Tom Kopko could not be impartial because he took payment for a service from Faisal Gill before there was even a nomination fight, and Julie Lucas herself made an issue out of that "conflict" to the Washington Post.

But neither Julie Lucas, or those other people, are screaming about Becky having a "conflict", even though she not only took more than twice as much money, but also ENDORSED Julie.

Because they are hypocritical, or more truthfully are dishonest in their complaints, making allegations only when it suits their political aims, not out of some overriding principle.

When it was Tom Kopko, the "principle" was that NO district chair should EVER take ANY money for service from ANY candidate during a nominating term where that chair could have ANY part in the outcome.

But there's Becky, chair in charge of the appeal, who took money for service from a candidate, and none of those people who complained about Tom are complaining now.

Anonymous said...

Let's see if I follow this.

You're pointing out the hypocrisy of those who called for Tom's resignation but not Becky's.

Fair enough.

But it sounds like you don't have an issue with Becky continuing to serve, as you did not have an issue with Tom continuing to serve.

Unless I misinterpreted your comments ...

Jonathan Mark said...

Thanks for linking to me. I will return the favor next time we cross swords.

The precedent has been established. One need not recuse oneself if one has been paid by a candidate, because Kopko didn't.

If Kopko had returned the money then one could demand that Stoeckel return her money to. But since Kopko kept his the matter is settled.

--Jonathan Mark, GoodbyeKen.com

Charles said...

JM, returning the money would have meant Kopko gave a campaign contribution to Gill.

That would be more of a conflict than getting paid to do work.

If I was a cabbie, a candidate might hire me to drive them somewhere. If they pay, there is generally no conflict of interest. But if I drive them for free, I have made a contribution and come under scrutiny.

I don't think Kopko would have done work for Gill had there been an active nomination fight. I don't think I would have.

Anon, if you misinterpret my comments it could be my fault for not being clear. I am not calling for Becky to recuse herself. I'm just pointing out that in any way you look at it, her "appearance of conflict" is much greater than that of Tom Kopko who many people called to resign over his payment.

For example, unlike Tom, she took money when there WAS a contest, and she openly endorsed one of the participants.

In a perfect world, this should mean her actions will have greater scrutiny, so she would work twice as hard to do everything right, and that doesn't appear to be the case.

Charles said...

Meanwhile, my personal opinion is that Tom Kopko probably made a mistake recusing himself from the convention plans. I say that even though I supported this "recusal".

Because it didn't help him any when things went wrong, he's still blamed. And if you are going to get blamed for something, it should be for something you did, not something you had no control over.

Anonymous said...

You know, people really should check their facts before spewing accusations around haphazardly.
FACT: Stoeckel had nothing to do with the 51st HOD convention other than sit in on one credentials meeting (along with Kopko and about 5 other non-credentials comm members) and observing the convention.
FACT: Stoeckel is Chairman of a committee of 12, which INCLUDES a vote for Tom Kopko (and at least 2 other Gill supporters). The Chairman's job is to facilitate the process and run the meetings... not dictate the outcome of an appeal. Anyone worried that the attacks on her for trying to do her job are turning the stomachs of the other 11CD members???
FACT: Stoeckel has done business with Lucas for 3 or 4 years (as well as Corey Stewart when he was in a contested nomination! No concerns then.) And just how could she have known this nomination would end in an appeal?
FACT: The $4000 if you look was for yard signs, lapel stickers, palm cards and stationery... not attack pieces or favors.
FACT: A REQUEST to postpone a meeting to allow 3 days for Kopko to make a ruling on the appeal he received Monday so the 11CD could deal with it if they needed to, was fine with most of the 11CD members, but was slammed by the Gill supporters on the 11CD and so no meeting is currently scheduled. So, stall the process and attack the person trying to move it along so we can all get on with our lives equals "illegal meeting"? Please!
This is all smoke and mirrors. If you don't want to answer questions, attack the questioner.

Charles said...

Hey, anon, don't look at me. I'm not discussing whatever "charges" may have been made about Becky, I believe what I said is correct, and I'm just saying that she accepted more money than Kopko, AND she endorsed the candidate.

And she accepted the money during the nomination campaign, not before.

And yet, my issue isn't with her, but with the bloggers who wanted Kopko to RESIGN because of his "corruption" of taking money from a candidate for services, and excuse Becky because she's done it for years.

Since I never had a problem with being paid for services, my beef is with those who did, but only when it was people they hated.