Epps: Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows…and Questionable Resolutions

You can pay for just about anything.

The 5th Congressional District Committee (5CD) recently decided to pass a resolution on June 1 to proclaim to the world that they have no confidence in Jack Wilson and the RPV staff. Their attempt to explain their dissatisfaction just happens to be a resolution that is (to be kind), one-sided and less than half-true. The nomination contest between Delegate Peace and Supervisor Wyatt has had enough division and contortion without heaping on any more strife —  especially from an outside district.

As we all know, the party is governed by the State Party Plan. Let’s look at  Article VII, SECTION J. Ethical Conduct:

1. Voting members of official committees shall exercise their best efforts to conduct the business of the Party in good faith, with reasonable care, skill, and diligence. They shall hold as confidential all party information, documents, and communications clearly designated as confidential of for limited dissemination or use by adopted policy of the committee. They shall refrain from participating in unethical activity, diminishing the dignity and credibility of the Party.”

It seems fairly clear that official committees are expected to act in good faith, and ethically. That seems simple, right? Well, in this case, I’ll present something that I discovered, and see if you believe the 5CD resolution was neutral, ethical or done in good faith. Why did the 5CD even put forth a resolution anyway? Why did 10 other Congressional districts not get involved? Could there be a potential motive that explains the 5CD intervention-by-resolution?

Yes, there is an explanation… one of those “Oh, now I understand it” explanations. There is person currently serving on the 5CD committee who is a consultant in conservative Virginia politics. He was, until recently, a member of the State Central Committee (SCC). He also happens to be a paid campaign consultant to Scott Wyatt’s campaign. Take a look for yourself:

Here is a link to the membership of the 5CD Committee.
Here is a link to the campaign expenditures from VPAP for Scott Wyatt’s campaign. Note the two $1500 payments over two reporting periods.

My goal in posting these links is to provide information. I am not suggesting anything about the individuals on the 5CD committee other than the obvious conflict problem I believe they have. As it turns out, the 5CD Committee is confident enough in itself to have its very own “Ethics and Integrity Resolution” that can be read here. I sincerely applaud them for pronouncing such devotion to truth and integrity. One of the points made in their resolution states:

All communication, whether written, spoken, or silent, shall reflect authenticity, transparency and honesty, even if, and when, it is difficult. Common decency and boundaries will be respected.”

Common decency should have mandated they follow their own advice on communication and transparency. Boundaries should have mandated that it was inappropriate to issue their resolution to begin with; that would have reflected sound judgment and fairness. I wish they had followed it. The optics of this clear conflict — that a member of the 5CD (whose spouse is also a member) is also being paid by the very campaign the committee is supporting via “resolution” — should have caused them to question their course of action before taking it.

Paid campaign consultants are usually very good at promoting their candidate, as they should be. But official RPV committees should only act within the spirit and intent of the SPP, or at the very least their own ethics rules. They should think about that pesky appearance of impropriety before they resolve themselves into the business of a different Congressional district.