Smith and Shull: Fact Checking GOPFactCheck dot com

By Douglas N. Smith and Michael Shull

Dear Fellow Delegates to the 6th District Convention:

You have received two recent emails which smear the reputations of the Chairman of the 6th District, Jennifer Brown, and members of the 24th Legislative District Committee (LDC) which staged a Party Canvas in November 2018 to replace Ben Cline, newly elected to U.S. Congress. Both emails, the first from [email protected]com, and the other from [email protected], are incorrect, misleading, and speculative.

Here are some real facts that can be disclosed now!

The Party Canvass: what really happened
For starters, members of the 24th LDC: Mr. Vance Wilkins, Chairman, Amherst County Republicans; Mr. David Fisher, Chairman, Bath County Republicans; and Mr. Michael Shull, member, Augusta County Board of Supervisors and myself, know the facts.

  • Under Chairman Wilkins’ leadership, 24th LDC created the Party Canvass rules which omitted any procedure to recount in the case of a close margin of victory. Final rules for the Party Canvass can be viewed here, here, and here.
  • A party canvass is a political event and not subject to VA Dept. of Elections rules. Regardless, the 24th LDC employed Dept. of Elections procedures and rules where feasible.
  • All materials produced by the 24th LDC is property of the LDC.
  • All candidates suggested and agreed to all polling stations chosen for Party Canvass.
  • All candidates participated in a well-attended, moderated forum, with live radio coverage.
  • Observers for every candidate verified ballot counts at each poll station.
  • The first runner-up, Jimmie Ayers conceded via Chairman Wilkins, a concession witnessed and verified by Chairman Fisher, and later confirmed by Mr. Wilkins.
  • 24th LDC secured ballots and other party canvas material for 98 days in Rockbridge County Commonwealth Attorney’s office immediately following the Party Canvas.
  • 24th LDC voted to destroy the ballots 38 days past the 60-day ballot security limit established by Chairman Wilkins. The 24th LDC members destroyed the ballots and retrieved their respective voter lists and voter pledges in front of numerous observers.
  • Immediately following ballot destruction, person(s) unknown illegally removed Rockbridge/Lexington and Buena Vista voter lists and voter pledges from Rockbridge Headquarters.
  • With the assistance of Chairman Wilkins, Chairman Smith recovered the illegally removed material from the trunk of Chairman Wilkins’ automobile.

Grassrootsheartbeatva.com dated 6/12/20: a bogus podcast and exercise in innuendo

  • Steve “Doc” Troxel, 6th District Committee representative and Charles Nave, Unit Chairman, Roanoke City GOP, interviewed Kevin Brooks, a resident of Rockbridge County.  Neither Troxel nor Nave performed unbiased or informed research as to the veracity of the slanderous accusations stated in the interview.
  • Neither Troxel nor Nave have any direct knowledge of the party canvass nor participated in the canvass, nor did either contact me or other 24th LDC members to verify the accuracy of Mr. Brooks’ allegations.

Fact checking gopfactcheck.com, dated 6/19/20: same mistruths, half-truths plus more

  • Allegations made by anonymous author with no regard for factual research.
  • Among major false information shared, the allegation that ballots were destroyed immediately following the Party Canvass is patently false with the sole purpose of intentionally misguiding delegates to the 6th District Convention and voters.

Intertwining digital trails lead to dubious sources

  • Neither email comes from recognized Republican Party media or any other legitimate media sources.
  • [email protected] lists Farmers Insurance of Roanoke, VA as a business address.  Farmer’s Insurance’s owner professes no knowledge of gopfactcheck.com or authorized his business address to be used.
  • Anonymously authored [email protected] can be traced to a source code identical to the source code assigned to the 6th District website.  The creator of the 6th District website is Single Tree Media, owned and operated by Steve “Doc” Troxel.  IP addresses are assigned to a unique device, not the common mail server such as MailChimp, as Mr. Troxel has claimed.
  • There is a digital connection between the emails, and a web site which lists a P O Box address of a Roanoke Tea Party leader. Neither this individual nor his organization have direct knowledge of the Party Canvass, participated in its execution or performed any research to verify the truth of his assertions.
  • The leader of the Roanoke Tea Party threatened Chairman Brown during her first campaign, was the source who uploaded the infamous “Ballot Shredding” video to YouTube, and invited the arbiter of falsehoods regarding the event to speak about the video at one of his Tea Party meetings, in the effort to besmear Chairman Brown.

Slander defiles an amazing turnout and the work of great volunteers:

  • On November 17th, 2018, 2,983 people enthusiastically voted in the Party Canvass across Amherst, Augusta, Bath, and Rockbridge Counties, less than a month after the general election.
  • It’s shameful that a few have chosen to tarnish the work of the 24th LDC, the 2018 party canvass volunteers, and all of the voters who took their precious Saturday morning for an opportunity to choose a Republican nominee to become the next delegate representing the 24th Legislative District, Virginia.

We are more than happy to answer further questions regarding this obvious manipulation of the truth, and are deeply disappointed in fellow Republicans trying to destroy the integrity of our Party, its processes, and our volunteers, including our 6th District Chairwoman.

Douglas N. Smith is Chairman of the Rockbridge Area Republican Committee and Chairman of the 24th Legislative District Committee.

Michael Shull is a member of the Augusta County Board of Supervisors and Treasurer of the 24th Legislative District Committee.

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