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GOP Official Alleges Dunbar Campaign Violated Party Rules

By James Harrison

Stunning allegations surfaced Monday in Sixth District Republican circles when a GOP official accused the campaign of U.S. House candidate Cynthia Dunbar of multiple violations of party ethics rules related to a favoritism scandal sweeping the district’s upcoming May convention.

Joe Patten, the immediate past secretary of the Warren County GOP alleged in a Monday open letter to the Sixth District Committee that Dunbar’s campaign received preferential, advance access to coveted delegate lists and failed to report a key conflict of interest as required under party rules.

“I can assure you all, Team Dunbar has had access to the Warren County 6th District Convention delegate list and has taken extraordinary steps to keep it away from everyone else,” wrote Patten.

“Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Matt Tederick and Team Dunbar have had access to the Warren County delegate list at least since the certification meeting on February 26th, and they have certainly worked overtime to keep that list away from everyone else,” he continued.

If Dunbar received preferential access to the lists, that could also constitute a violation of the State Party Plan as well as FEC rules. [1]

The letter also charges Matt Tedrick, a staff member of Dunbar’s campaign who also serves as the district’s Vice Chairman, with failing to disclose his employment on Dunbar’s campaign prior to acting in his official capacity and chairing the Warren County GOP’s mass meeting.

Tedrick appears to have violated Article VII, Section J(2) of the State Party Plan [2], which provides:

“Recognizing that not all possible conflicts represent an actual conflict of interest, voting members of the State Central Committee and District Committees shall voluntarily disclose, in writing, any known potential or actual conflicts of interest to all members of the official committee on which they serve in a timely manner after becoming aware of such conflict.”

As alleged in the letter, Tedrick failed to disclose his employment with Dunbar’s campaign.

The Sixth District has been bogged down by several ethical scandals involving Dunbar and Chairman Scott Sayre. In January, Sayre attempted to rig convention rules in Dunbar’s favor [3], an action which was overturned in March by RPV’s State Central Committee [4]. Sayre faces accusations he broke party rules by withholding delegate lists from his opponent [1].

Two weeks ago, financial disclosure filings revealed that Dunbar was on the payroll of Sayre’s company [5]. Dunbar declined to disclose exactly how much she was paid or what she did for Sayre’s company.

Following the revelations, Sayre’s opponent, Jennifer Brown, called on him to resign [6].

When the scandal first broke, Sayre refused to deny Dunbar’s campaign had advance access to the delegate lists, saying to radio host John Fredericks [7]:

“I asked Scott Sayre this question five times. He could not answer it five times. Instead here’s what he said to me, and I quote, ‘I’m going to do an investigation on the accusations and report back the facts the week of March 26th.’ And I’m like, what are you going to do, investigate yourself? You have the names. Are you giving them to the Dunbar campaign or not? Obviously, your opponent, Jennifer Brown, is at a disadvantage because you have the names of the delegates and she does not.”

The entire letter, sent by Joe Patten, is reproduced below, and definitely worth a full read:

Good afternoon Members of the 6th District Committee,

Greetings from Warren County, up here at the top of the 6th.

My name is Joe Patten, and I served as the Secretary of the Warren County Republican Committee for four years, until my term expired on March 22, 2018.

A few days ago I read the “Open Letter: In defense of the 6th District Republican Convention,” signed by 13 members of the 6th District Committee – and I just about lost my lunch.

It is time to set the record straight.

I can assure you all, Team Dunbar has had access to the Warren County 6th District Convention delegate list and has taken extraordinary steps to keep it away from everyone else.

Fair disclosure, I helped to round up delegates for the Cline campaign, but I’ve been impressed with the quality of this entire field of congressional candidates. Up until a few of weeks ago, I thought that Cynthia Dunbar was an A+ candidate running a strong campaign.

In the past month, however, the conduct that I have personally witnessed from Team Dunbar left me perplexed, then concerned, and now greatly alarmed.

Back on Friday, February 23rd, Warren County held its Mass Meeting. Sixth District Committee Vice Chairman (and Warren County resident) Matt Tederick was elected Permanent Chairman of our Mass Meeting, which of course gave him full access to all of our delegate forms and certifications.

Only several weeks later did I learn that Matt Tederick has also been working as Cynthia Dunbar’s campaign manager/political director since at least January, according to Scott Sayre’s candidate announcement. There was also an article in the Lynchburg News & Advance two days before our Mass Meeting quoting Matt Tederick as political director of the Dunbar campaign.

Let me be clear: to the best of my recollection, Matt Tederick did not disclose this glaring conflict of interest at any time before or during the Warren County Mass Meeting (and I was present, front and center, for the whole thing).

Our Bylaws very explicitly list keeping the 6th District delegate forms as one of the responsibilities the Unit Secretary. As the Unit Secretary, I attempted to collect the delegate forms after the Mass Meeting, only to be told that they weren’t actually present. So, the Mass Meeting officers and Unit Committee officers scheduled a meeting the following Monday to certify the delegate forms.

To my great surprise, Matt Tederick asked for a ruling from 6th District Counsel Frank Hilton on a Sunday afternoon, confirming what I had already told him: that only the Permanent Chairman and Permanent Secretary of the Mass Meeting are required to actually certify the delegate forms.

Warren County Unit Chairman (and fellow Team Dunbar enthusiast) Steve Kurtz immediately used that ruling to disinvite me from the certification meeting, claiming that the Unit Secretary’s presence was not required (and obviously not welcome). In fact, as the official keeper of the 6th District delegate forms, it was my job to deliver those forms for certification (per our Bylaws) and collect a copy of the certifications (per the 6th District Convention Call).

Over the ensuing weeks, I emailed Chairman Kurtz at least half a dozen times demanding those delegate forms and certifications. Matt Tederick, Scott Sayre, and Frank Hilton were all copied on those emails since February 25th and have long known all about this dispute.

Chairman Kurtz (himself a candidate for Northern Regional Vice Chairman) ignored my every email, except for a March 9th request to Scott Sayre for another legal ruling from Frank Hilton on whether or not he had to deliver the delegate forms and certifications to me as Unit Secretary. I never received a response to Chairman Kurtz’s inquiry. Chairman Sayre (candidate for 6th District Chair) has declined to take any corrective action for many weeks now.

At no time as Secretary of the Warren County Republican Committee was I ever allowed by Chairman Kurtz or Matt Tederick to lay eyes on our delegate forms and certifications.

At first, I thought that my frustrations were limited to our occasionally dysfunctional Warren County Committee, but then many candidates began to warn of widespread issues with the release of these delegate lists across the 6th District.

It became increasingly clear that Team Dunbar’s efforts to monopolize the Warren County delegate list were part of a larger strategy to tilt the convention in its favor.

Look, I like Matt Tederick and Steve Kurtz personally and agree with them 95% of the time – but I cannot let this one slide.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Matt Tederick and Team Dunbar have had access to the Warren County delegate list at least since the certification meeting on February 26th, and they have certainly worked overtime to keep that list away from everyone else.

As candidates and campaign operatives, Matt Tederick, Steve Kurtz, and Scott Sayre are caught up in blatant conflicts of interests by withholding these delegate forms, all the while insisting that they are the innocent victims of an elaborate smear campaign.

Cynthia Dunbar may be running against the “Vast Establishment Conspiracy,” but Team Dunbar is running the textbook definition of a manipulative, insider establishment campaign here in Warren County.

Folks, this is why so many people HATE conventions. If you want to destroy the convention process here in Virginia, then just keep doing what you’re doing.

It is long past time for the 6th District Committee to release ALL of these delegate lists. Every day you wait allows this scandal more time to fester.

Feel free to contact me if you would like more details.

Best regards,

Joe Patten
Immediate Past Secretary
Warren County Republican Committee