Don Vaughan resigns from ALEC

Via Ed Cone's blog wordup:

Many years ago, when I joined the American Legislative Exchange Council it was a nonpartisan group which provided a forum for legislators to discuss issues. However, I agree with the many others who have recently left ALEC. In recent years ALEC has become too partisan. Because of that, I am announcing my resignation from ALEC.

It's a step in the right direction, but I'm not sure I'm ready to classify it as a "dealmaker". The timing suggests it was a "reaction" to the negative perceptions of others, as opposed to a "proactive" move based on personal convictions. Which is not to say Vaughan doesn't have said convictions, but I'd rather not have to wonder. And in answer to Senator Doug Berger's admonishment of my opinion:

If we engage in intercenine warfare over this chairmanship, we will seriously imperil our abilty to win the elections this year. Distorting Don Vaughan’s record to suggest he isn’t a solid Democrat is not only patently unfair, it is politically unwise for the health of the party and the relationship between its members. Don Vaughan’s whole record should be evaluated before a judgement is made about his abilty to lead our Party during this crisis.

Affiliation with organizations is (one of) the indicators of an individual's ideological bent. And it is by no means a "distortion" of somebody's record to point that out.

What you view as internecine warfare, I view as a completely open and information-inclusive search for the best candidate for the job. If you would have us brush aside possible problems with a candidate's judgment, simply because you'd prefer unity over dissension, I'm not sure the health of the Party would be better for it. Sounds more like faith-healing than results-oriented medical practice.

Comments

Just to clear the slate

on recent actions by Don Vaughan vis-a-vis ALEC behavior, here's The Founding Principles Act:

Civic Literacy. –

(1) Local boards of education shall require during the high school years the teaching of either a semester course or a full‑year course that focuses on the following:

a. The philosophical foundations of our form of government.

b. The principles underlying the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and the writings of the Founders, which are the principles of government for a free people and are known as the "Founders' Principles."

(2) Local boards of education shall require that high school students demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the nation's founding and related documents in order to receive a certificate or diploma of graduation from high school.

(3)(2) Local boards of education shall include among the requirements for graduation from high school a passing grade in either a semester course or a full‑year course focused on the philosophical foundations of our form of government and the principles underlying the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Federalist Papers, and the writings of the Founders.

Which seems like a good idea, until you get to this part:

The State Department of Public Instruction and the local boards of education, as appropriate, shall establish provide or cause to be provided curriculum content for the semester course or a full‑year course and provide for teacher training to ensure that the intent and provisions of this subsection are carried out. The curriculum content established shall include a review of the contributions made by Americans of all races.

I'd sure like to know why that last sentence was "struck out" in Don Vaughan's (Senate) version of this bill. The Bill that Governor Perdue signed into law kept it in place.

Note: I thought I was clearing the slate, but I may have smeared it instead. Sorry. I'll stay after class and wash it down.

Also, can we please stop

creating faux Twitter accounts for politicians and organizations?

While some of us may be savvy enough to detect the aroma of satire, not everybody can (easily) make that distinction.

And guess what? If we're savvy enough to realize what it is, we're also savvy enough to smell the stink associated with the motives of the satirist. Just sayin'.

Not the Whole Story

I think Democratic Senator Doug Berger's point was not that the very act of looking at organizational memberships is "warfare" or unfair. The point was that your original post did not talk about anything but the ALEC membership and didn't bother to look into any other aspects of his record. It seemed to be intentionally written to paint Vaughan as un-Democratic, leaving out other big parts of his record, like his work as Deputy Minority Leader of the party, his fierce opposition to Amendment One, or his fight against the Republican budget. When you don't tell the full story (as happens again above where you do not report Vaughan's entire statement,) you have a clear agenda above and beyond educating readers about Vaughan.

I am a liberal Democrat. I know Democrats across the political spectrum who are fighting for our party's core ideals - educational advancement, economic justice, and civil rights. I am not going to intentionally try to tear down a fellow Democrat.

At least Vaughan has the chutzpah to put his name out there and be forward - I've heard whisper campaigns of other potential candidates who are facing no similar scrutiny of their organizational memberships(or equally importantly, their ability to actually lead the entire coalition of the Democratic Party forward). I don't believe that anyone who can't come before the entire membership the way that Vaughan has and talk about her or his priorities deserves the support of the Party.

Lastly - to second what's said above - I think the use of fake twitter accounts to hype articles and interest is ridiculous and misleading. I see what my good friends over at Protect NC Families are doing with twitter - helping to raise thousands of dollars to fight the amendment - and can't help but think that is the real use of twitter vis-a-vis activism, not misleading accounts that distort records.

It's not my mission

to present a complete record of someone's accomplishments, but it is (one of) my missions to explore issues that haven't (yet) been covered by mainstream media and/or have been left out of the conversation by the candidates themselves.

I don't believe that anyone who can't come before the entire membership the way that Vaughan has and talk about her or his priorities deserves the support of the Party.

If you can show me where (prior to the last few days) Senator Vaughan has come before even a fraction of the entire Party membership and explained his reasons for affiliating with ALEC, then I'll post an apology on the front page here and at Ed's and NC Policywatch.

Absent of that, I will reiterate that ALEC has been exposed here and at several other sites as being directly responsible for policy changes across the country that have had a devastating impact on the people who can least defend themselves.

If you want to categorize my complaints about Vaughan's affiliation with that organization as "tearing him down", then I guess I'll just have to live with that, even if it wasn't my intent. But I won't stop pointing out (what I perceive to be) bad behavior, just because good people are engaging in it.

Republicans Want Vaughan Gone

Senator Vaughan worked hard and was effective. So effective that the Republicans took him out of his own district and "double bunked" him with Phil Berger. The republican leadership wants him gone. They want him gone because he is an effective democrat and future leader.

I think Vaughan will have plenty of motivation to make the Democrats succeed. We need someone with experience and Vaughan has plenty.

Legislative experience is not the same as Party experience!

We need someone with experience building the Party and organizing precincts so that we can win elections for candidates who will work to turn our Party platform into public policy.

Many of our "electeds" and candidates don't give a damn about partybuilding, precinct organization or turning our party platform into public policy.

So far I haven't met any candidate for Party Chair other than Jerry Meek and David Parker who know a damned thing about those three things.

Vaughn called me up the other day - woke me up from a nice nap to "stroke" me by telling me how important I am. When I am "stroked", I usually know that this person has nothing of any real importance to tell me. When I asked him about party-building and precinct organization - he told me he was gonna do three things as Chair:

1) Raise money
2) Raise money
3 - remember 1) and 2).

That pretty much tells me that he's gonna help the "electeds" raid the taxpayer checkoff money by packing the Taxpayer checkoff fund committee with 13 stooges to cancel out the District Chairs. I remain unconvinced and opposed.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting
http://noirvnc.blogspot.com
http://statewideirvnc.blogspot.com

Party Involement

Senator Vaughan has been a precinct chair, Guilford County Young Democrats President for 3 terms,Young Democrats 12th District Chair for 12 terms and the Guilford County Democratic Party Treasurer. His grassroots party participation is impeccable. He was active in the party for over two decades before he ran for Kay Hagan's former seat in 2008. The fact that he rose high enough to be a State Senator shows that some people who dedicate themselves by working at the grassroots level with the Party can rise high enough to be elected themselves. Now that he has been reedistricted out of his seat by the Republicans, he has offered himself up to help the Party by serving as our leader at a critical time.

Thanks, Senator

That's good information to have.

Your definition of impecable might be different than mine

Just because someone has been a precinct chair and held all those other offices, that doesn't mean they have actual precinct organization or party building experience.

What are some of the metrics - how long was he Precinct Chair? Did he step in after another Chair in a long-time organized precinct, or did he organize a previously unorganized precinct? What happened to his precinct after he left office?

Merely holding an office doesn't mean that the officeholder actually did anything. Today you can't find many YDs who actually want to get their hands dirty organizing precincts or doing any partybuilding. And I've seen a lot of resumes packed with party offices held by people who can't be bothered to organize a precinct.

All I do know is that the ALEC experience scares me. Also the fact that Parker is being pushed out by "electeds" for bogus reasons. Our state motto is "Esse quam videri" - "to be rather than to seem". However it seems that the "electeds" believe instead in "politics is perception" - meaning that you can tell lies about someone to force them out of office and that's OK. As long as the money keeps flowing.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting
http://noirvnc.blogspot.com
http://statewideirvnc.blogspot.com

Excuses

None of that excuses Vaughn's dalliance with ALEC and thus the Kochs.

wafranklin

 

ALEC

A year and a half ago, I asked Elaine Marshall if she knew about ALEC, to which she replied "Who's that". She, and the rest of the alleged Democratic establishment had no idea what ALEC was about and its totally malign and pernicious impacts on the 2010 elections! What blindness. She could have indicted ALEC as a lobby in that they visited the legislature and tutored those rightwing freaks. In other words, our people were stupid and intended to stay that way. That Vaughn was a relatively long time member of ALEC, an instrument paid for by the Kochs and dedicated to infiltration of the state assemblies for to essentially undermine Democratic governments, and did not notice indicts him first of all as totally stupid, not redeemable. Where in hell did he and people like Berger think the assault on the states, women, civil rights, social safety nets and the like came from -- the tooth fairy. We have been plauged by miserable leadership at the gubernatorial, council of state and assembly levels for longer than I care to remember.

Oh, by the way, Vaughn got chased off by Phil Berger in a redistricting move. Got to find the poor baby a job, right Elaine? Forget Vaughn, he cannot clean enought latrines to redeem himself from stupidity and cupidity.

wafranklin

 

Chris, It's a pretty far leap

Chris,

It's a pretty far leap from the fact that Senator Vaughan told you fundraising would be a priority (by the way, whether you like it or not, even progressive candidates need to raise money to win elections - it is a big part of any board chair, party chair, or nonprofit chair's job) to some rather conspiratorial accusations about tax checkoff dollars. Let's stick to the facts instead of rampant speculation, folks.

Not saying that there was a connection

You are the one connecting those dots between his talking about money with me and the taxpayer checkoff funds.

I'm merely saying that the "electeds" never liked Parker because of his involvement in the taxpayer checkoff battle the District Chairs had with David Young and the folks who wanted him elected.

I am saying that the garbage about the alleged sexual harassment and the settlement causing the "electeds" to demand Parker resign for the good of the Party is pretext to get rid of him and get someone else in there who will appoint 13 members to the taxpayer checkoff committee to cancel out the votes of the District Chairs.

You know, the people who write the big checks expect something for their money. Imagine how much better off we'd all be if the Party raised the biggest chunk of money from the rank and file Democrats who are precinct officers and delegates who participate in the Platform and Resolution process? Then we'd have party staffers who were working for people who expect to see our "electeds" work to turn our Party platform into public policy.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting
http://noirvnc.blogspot.com
http://statewideirvnc.blogspot.com

Garbage?

Chris, your continued downplaying of the sexual harassment and subsequent cover-up, and veiled accusations that it was (somehow) engineered by those who wanted to depose Parker, is bordering on (or well into) conspiracy theorist territory.

And another thing: Your use of the term "electeds" in a derogatory fashion is really starting to grate. They're not sub-class participants in a school play, they're public servants who (for the most part) work hard, sometimes against overwhelming odds, to try to make our lives better. And just to make it to the position that pays poverty-level wages, they bust their asses day and night, spending out of their own (family's) pocket, traveling hundreds of miles each day, very often ending with a wake instead of a victory party.

I'd say they deserve a little bit more than outright contempt.

Not given them outright contempt

Just wondering why they ignore us expect when it's time to vote? Why don't they care about turning our Party platform into public policy? Surely they knew our positions on single-payer, collective bargaining and countless other issues when they were in power and had rock-solid majorities. Why did they not act on this matters?

I don't use the term "elected" in a derogatory fashion. You are reading what you want to read in to that term. I use the term "electeds" to differentiate the people who are elected public leaders - some of whom are Democrats - who might be considered leaders in the Democratic Party by virtue of that fact from those people who are Party leaders because they actually have run for and won Party officers, delegates, etc.

But if they want to have a say in who gets to be NCDP Chair - they should get more involved in the Democratic Party. Like show up to their precinct meeting and become a delegate. Or run for SEC membership.

And as for me downplaying the sexual harassment and coverup - I'll address that in two parts.

1 - what proof do you have that any actual sexual harassment took place? There was an investigation that turned up no proof according to standards in court precedents that would justify firing or otherwise punishing Jay Parmley. It was "he said, he said". If all that was done was Jay came in too close for Adraidn's comfort level, it was up to Adraidn to make Jay aware of that. But just because someone says something happened doesn't mean that it actually did happen.

2 - there was no cover-up in the sense that you mean. What there was was a investigation that kept matters confidential as they should have been according to employment law. There are laws or court precedents that require employers to keep things quiet and not spread them around due to liability issues.

White v. Trew, NO. COA11-337, COURT OF APPEALS OF NORTH CAROLINA, 720 S.E.2d 713; 2011 N.C. App. LEXIS 2596, September 13, 2011, Heard in the Court of Appeals, December 20, 2011, Filed. This came down during December, 2011.

The case essentially says that anyone not in the direct supervisory chain can be sued for libel in the event something false is circulated - for example, that the ED is a predator or is sexually harassing an employee.

This is a bad court decision but it is the law in NC. It precludes even talking about an EEOC claim among higher level co-workers.

Obviously, another Board member or State Executive Council member could not have been brought into
the loop without exposing them to risk for libel if they repeat the allegations -- even to each other.

So you claim there was a cover-up. I say that David Parker was being a good lawyer and not breaking NC law in order to give nosy people something else to gossip about. What's sad about this is that some of the people who are calling for David's hide the most are also lawyers - that don't know or care about this law. Some of them also didn't know about ALEC and their role in so much of the NC GOP agenda.

What does one do when other Dems claim that David should have told them all about what was going on at Goodwin House with the allegation of sexual harassment and the investigation of same when to do so violates NC law? DO you think that David should have violated NC Law to satisfy your curiosity?

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting
http://noirvnc.blogspot.com
http://statewideirvnc.blogspot.com

where did the money come from?

The question that I have and have never seen answered is where did the money for the settlement come from? David Parker has said that he doesn't know so who knows?

Here you go:

Via the NCCapitol blog:

A letter that party lawyer John Wallace sent the State Board of Elections Friday partially clears up that mystery. Wallace was writing in response to a formal complaint filed by Francis DeLuca of the Civitas Institute.

"Without disclosure of any term of the agreement, however, please be advised that the non-federal account of the North Carolina Democratic Party (which account contains no funds from the Political Parties Financing Fund) made a transfer to the NCDP Legal Fund from which the primary obligation arising from the settlement was paid," Wallace wrote.

The "legal fund" is not subject to public reporting requirements.

"The NCDP does maintain a legal fund in accordance with the guidance provided by the Advisory Opinion issued by Gary Bartlett, Executive Director on December 10, 2010. Pursuant to that opinion, activity in the account is not required to be reported to the State Board of Elections as with other accounts. However, I will disclose that the deposits to the account from its inception in 2011, until today, total less than $11K and its disbursements total approximately $10K," Wallace wrote to me at the time.

That would seem to indicate the bulk of the payment (excluding taxes and insurance payments) was about $10,000.