Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A stopped clock is more right than these claims.

LAST UPDATE: 9/13/2007
To be fair to Jonathan, below I said he did "no" research. But he did do SOME research, in that he did check the VPAP web site, which is a great resource for tracking campaign contributions.

That site was originally for state races, and is now beginning to extend into local races like supervisors. So it will continue to be a great site. But it does not have every piece of information necessary to determine campaign contributions or other money expenditures.

If I thought it actually MATTERED whether a pac distributed money (as opposed to other activities like writing op-eds, advocating at meetings and hearings, recruiting candidates and endorsing candidates), I'd continue this, but I don't, so I'm done.

I also thought my tone unnecessarily harsh in my previous update so I've cleaned it up a bit. JM's still got the original in quoted form...

As to his other latest claims, he still insists that a PAC's essential task is giving money, but an issues advocacy PAC may not give any money to anybody. For example, I don't expect that Help Save Manassas is going to make ANY political donations, because they are trying very hard not to be partisan, because they want to fight an ISSUE. the PWTA was fighting Tax Increases, and worked toward that issue, and was largely successful -- this year our property taxes did not increase at ALL in PW, largely because of supervisors who were supported by the group.

UPDATE: I have received information which calls into question the entire premise of the claims which this post was attempting to refute.

I am not a member of the Prince William County Taxpayer's alliance. I was basing this post on an offhand comment made by a member of the group, Jim Young, in response to other incorrect information posted by Jonathan Mark at his anti-Faisal web site.

That information from Jim was incorrect.

At some future time, I'll probably post something new about the group which will clarify the situation and put to bed most of the absurd claims being made right now, such as the suggestion that the Alliance only ever gave money to one candidate.

But for now, the group has more important things to do than to straighten out all the stuff being said, even by me. So I've removed the remainder of this post.

NOTE: I know that this makes the comments below a bit out-of-date. They made sense at the time they were made, as I referenced the name "GOP-Husband" at the anti-faisal site.

This also will make a link from the anti-faisal site make little sense. I don't think that will be a big issue for them, as nothing over there makes much sense :-)

Update: In a shocking new link to this post titled "filings will tell where Gill-led PAC money went, the owner of GoodByeFaisal, Jonathan Marks, admits that he did no fact-checking before making his false claims, while at the same time confusing his own false claim of lack of donations with his other false claim that the PWTA was defunct. (UPDATE 9/13: He only admitted not checking the paper filings of PWTA. He did check VPAP).

First, his false claim that the PWTA is defunct has nothing to do with his false claim of how they spent their money. In fact, these two issues are completely independent.

To explain, I'll use an analogy: Jonathan could have given hundreds of donations to candidates, and then moved out of the state (making him a donation-rich defunct virginian), or he could have donated to nobody, but still run non-factual web sites (making him a non-defunct non-donator).

As I said before, the PWTA doesn't appear to have focused on taking in money for donations, and whether or not they made ANY donations is completely irrelevant. They wrote issue papers, lobbied local officials to hold the line on taxes, and encouraged and endorsed candidates who would pledge to stop the tax increases. However, the fact is they did occasionally donate money, or provide in-kind donations such as sign printing and distribution.

In a telling admission, Jonathan notes that there is no "mystery" to PAC contributions, and that their annual filings are publicly available in Richmond:

PWTAs PAC findings are not online. But paper copies of them should be available somewhere in Richmond.

Yes, that's what I said. What JONATHAN said previously was that there was only one donation, which he "proved" by citing on-line information which he now realises doesn't include the PAC filings.

Did he check thos filings before claiming there was only one donation? He admits NO (because he didn't know about the VPAP's limitations):

perhaps someone else will need to retrieve these documents.

Perhaps Jonathan should retrieve those documents before he tells readers what is in the documents.

This isn't just about Jonathan Marks. There are a lot of bloggers who make up wild accusations based on trivial research, and then when someone points it out, they claim it's up to other people to prove their wild claims are in fact false.

This is one of the things that hurts the reputation of the blogosphere, the tendency to turn the idea of investigative journalism on it's head, by forcing people to DISPROVE claims instead of having to PROVE the claims made.

I've already provided the name of ONE other candidate for office who received money from the PWTA (Bob Berry). I know they had other expenditures, but I'm not running down to Richmond to prove to myself what I already know, and what is also irrelevant. I didn't make the "one donation" claim. But I've shown it to be false by providing the name of a SECOND donation, which is more than I should have to do.

It's up to those making claims to do the research to prove their claims. In this case, JM admits he didn't do the work, but expects someone else to pick up the slack for his lack of effort. Further, other bloggers did NO work either, but simply repeated the same false claims they read elsewhere as if they had some special knowledge.


Jonathan Mark said...

Just for the record, GOP_Husband <==> Jonathan Mark. We are one and the same. I created an administrative account called GOP_Husband on GoodbyeFaisal that I was going to give to someone else. Then I started using it myself because I was too lazy to create a second one for me.

I am not married to a Republican, although I am married to a lovely lady.

Charles said...

Ah, that's good to know. I presume the name made more sense for the person you had intended it for..... :-)

Charles said...

FOr some reason, JM thinks this entry has been deleted.

If anybody is having trouble reading this comment, please contact me.


Maybe JM simply didn't like the latest update, but then I don't know why he included a link to the "deleted" post.

OK, I don't think JM would actually claim a post was deleted if he knew it was still here.

I guess there was some problem with blogger or something like that. Maybe the RSS feed didn't like my update. I don't know.

Charles said...

Oh, and for the record:

I NEVER admitted or claimed that Faisal was lying.

IN my original post, which I have updated because I learned the facts, was that IF Gill wasn't the chair, he should edit his entry to make it clear he is the "former" chair.

I specifically said that I did not have direct knowledge of whether the statement was true or not, and thus conditioned my call on that assumption.

Since the assumption was false, I have fixed the post, something that I think more bloggers should do to prevent false information from being accessable.

That is my choice, rather than doing "updates", when I have included conjecture which later proves false that I think could mislead people.

JM's "quote" of my original post didn't include my disclaimer, just the part that suited his purposes.

as to his latest claim, I have no idea who "Virginia Brigand" is, but whoever it is, the commenter is wrong because PWTA is not extinct and Gill is still the Chair.