| CocoaCat |
Most of us are aware of the tactics that Orange County Republican Executive Committee Chairman Lew Oliver has used against the Ron Paul supporters here in Orlando, Fl. It started when he circulated a secret memo smearing 8 Ron Paul supporters seeking membership into the OCREC, the local governing body of the Republican Party. The memo contained derogatory statements about these individuals calling them 'extremists' 'disloyal' and 'attacking the Party.' None of which were true, neither had they had a chance to defend themselves before the vote.
Once the memo was discovered by alert RP supporters and brought to my attention, I contacted Chairman Oliver the next day. The ensuing 90 minute conversation is outlined in an earlier email posted to the group. The upshot of which was 1) No apology will be forthcoming for the blackballing of the 8 RP supporters 2) there will be no more Ron Paul supporters admitted into OCREC. 3) He (Lew Oliver) would smear me too, if I brought this foul play to the media.
After seeing his new Katie-Bar-The-Door attitude against Ron Paul supporters, I met with several active Ron Paul supporters to discuss how we should handle this new problem. Previously we had received fair treatment at the hands of Chairman Oliver. Now we were seeing the beginning of a new strategy on his part. I explained to the group that I had pleaded with him to return to his previous record of fair play. He insisted in no uncertain terms that we would never take OCREC away from him. I tried to calm him by reminding him that we don't have the numbers to stage a 'takeover'. He was unrelenting in his vehement attitude and then launched into a tirade telling me three different times that he'd smear me too if I went public with the facts. The group decided that I could go forward with contacting the media as I saw fit.
Shortly thereafter the Orlando Sentinel article appeared and the debate with Chairman Oliver occurred on WFLA radio.
What is interesting at this point is that Chairman Oliver suddenly changed his story several times. First he is quoted as saying that there would be a stop to admitting Ron Paul Republicans and that I was not a target as I was already a member of OCREC. A few days after that his story changed again saying that 'some' Ron Paul supporters would be admitted if they identified their political leanings and submitted to an 'interview' process. Then that story changed again with Chairman Oliver demanding my removal from OCREC listing a long series of purported misdeeds by me. First he says that the media that the blocking of RP supporters was 'Not about Nick, he's a member' then he moves for my dismissal.
With his demands for my ouster things took a decidedly nasty turn. While I have publicly written many things about Chairman Oliver, lampooning his style of leadership, I have not defamed him. Here it is useful to insert the definition of 'defamation' from Wikipedia
"In law, defamation (also called vilification, slander, and libel) is the communication of a statement that makes a false claim, expressively stated or implied to be factual, that may harm the reputation of an individual, business, product, group, government or nation."
Lew Oliver crossed that line in his latest email sent to the entire list of OCREC members (reprinted below). In it his attributes to me many emails with inflammatory statements which I did not write. It is because of this that I have now retained the services of well known local attorney Fred O'Neal. I have paid a retainer fee and have instructed him to serve Mr. Oliver with a cease and desist demand, which will be followed by Oliver receiving certified papers that I am suing him in court for defamation of character. Since Chairman Oliver is also an attorney, I will be filing a grievance with the Florida Bar Association outlining conduct unbecoming of one of their members. My attorney thinks we have a good case in both venues.
I realize that Lew Oliver has powerful interests behind him and a personal fortune that dwarfs anything that I could hope to muster for such a fight. However, if he thinks that he can publish outright lies about me in order to throw me out of OCREC, hurt my future hopes of running for elected office, and in general forever ruin my good name, he is mistaken. I, together with the Orlando Ron Paul Meetup Group have a long and successful history of backing down such high and mighty bullies. July 4, 2007 we backed down Orlando City Mayor Dyer when he told us we couldn't leaflet on the Fourth of July celebration downtown. We backed down the Orange County Code Enforcement when they threatened me (as organizer) with a $1000 dollar a day/per sign fine for Ron Paul For President signs. And we will back down the Republican Party and it's Chairman for their outrageous form of conduct.
I humbly ask for all Ron Paul supporters everywhere to support me in words, actions, and prayers as I take on the fight of my life. The stakes were never higher--but the friends and support never stronger--than they are here today.
I will soon be setting up a legal defense fund which I hope you will consider supporting. I also ask that all RP supporters contact me immediately if they are approached by any of Lew Oliver's agents. I suspect that what he has said and done so far is only a pretext for what will happen now. If I am to defeat him (and with God's help I am certain I will), I will need everyones help.
My personal email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Many of you have my cell phone number. You are welcome to contact me and pass it along to other important party's.
Below my signature is the reprint of the latest scandal sheet Chairman Oliver sent to the OCREC group. With the above mentioned action, I hope to serve notice to Republican Executive Committees everywhere that you can disagree with us on issues, but you cannot print lies about us and get away with it. Chairman Oliver you have tried to disgrace me in front of my many Republican friends. I hope to clear my name someday, but you sir, have shamefully disgraced the office you hold and the Party you represent. SEE YOU IN COURT!
P.S. I'm told that lawyers will often use the tactic of misspelling and mispronouncing a defendant's name so as to distract and anger them. This subterfuge is obviously one that you enjoy as you do it constantly every chance you get. I have a message for you: You'll learn to spell it correctly E G O R O F F when you write me the settlement check. You'll learn to pronounce it correctly when you take the court stand to defend your atrocious behavior. No one likes a bully, and I don't like you. But you will learn respect and I will be your teacher. Take your seat and behave yourself Lew.
Here is a copy of the email he sent yesterday (April 25). Other media and email coverage is on our message board at http://ronpaul.meetup...
Motion to Remove Nick Egerhoff from OCREC
From: email@example.com on behalf of Orange GOP (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Medium riskYou may not know this sender.Mark as safe|Mark as unsafe
Sent: Fri 4/25/08 2:45 PM
To: Jonathan Swift (email@example.com)
Dear OCREC Member:
As most of you have noticed or heard by now, I have, with very great regret and some sadness, presented a motion for the removal of Nick Egerhoff from OCREC membership, which motion will be considered and determined at our May 1 meeting.
Those of you who know me well, or who have participated in this discussion, will know how much this action pains me. I am not fond of conflict and I do not enjoy confrontation. This is not "fun". I much prefer to work together even with people with whom I have serious disagreements. I believe that we as a team go to great lengths to tolerate and encourage input, criticism, etc., even sometimes to the point when it is annoying or tiresome to our membership. This is one reason why our organization has such respect by our elected officials and our peers, and why we have been so successful in our republican agenda in a county where Republicans are only a little more than 1/3 of registered voters.
However, I have reached the conclusion, with the unanimous consent and approval of our executive board, that Mr. Egerhoff's continued membership and presence in OCREC will significantly undermine the critical mission we have in 2008 and that is why I have called for his removal and am asking for your support in so doing.
I am not engaging in hyperbole when I say that this may be the most "dangerous" election this nation has faced in more than a generation in terms of potential seismic shift toward a Democrat lock on power in America. The democrats will clearly dominate congress (perhaps they will do so utterly with 60 Senators), the economy is shaky, the war weighs on minds, Republican identity among voters is at historic lows, and so on. There is a real danger, not only of being beaten, but of being SWAMPED. EVERY POSSIBLE RESOURCE must be brought into play. Every possible member of the team must work WITH us, not against us. There is absolutely no room for members whose mission is different than, and indeed in conflict with, our mission. We CANNOT AFFORD people working against us from the inside.
Unfortunately I believe sincerely that Mr. Egerhoff joined OCREC originally to pursue, and now intends to continue to pursue, an agenda that is not only not consistent with the constitutional mission of OCREC, but is in fact deliberately intended to undermine that mission. The simplest way to make this point is with Mr. Egerhoff's own words. The following are a small sample of exceprts from e-mails sent by Mr. Egerhoff to others fairly recently. These e-mails were provided to me and others by Ron Paul supporters who do not share Mr. Egerhoff's goals and who are ready to assist the Republican team in the 2008 election. I urge you to please read all of these:
- "We're gonna take over the Orange County GOP"
- "The Revolution is Permanent!"
- "Long live the Glorious Ron Paul Revolution!"
- "It makes no sense for us to build a new party structure when the GOP House is so weakly defended"
- "Attention all HIPPIES, PEACENIKS, peaceniks, and all who find the USA Patriot Act to be an ABOMINATION: It's time to register Republican!"
- "The party is ripe for a HOSTILE TAKEOVER."
- "We have the power to GET THE US OUT OF IRAQ, END THE WAR ON DRUGS, end corporate welfare, and restore civil liberties"
- "Make the case for a HIPPIE CONSERVATIVE ALLIANCE"
- "I love opportunities where the party is weak and divided. Easier to TAKE IT OVER if you ask me."
- "This is the best time for Ron Paul to strike and STRIKE HARD. I'll be introducing a petition to start some "re-education forums" on what small government republican is all about."
- "Or I'll introduce a resolution NOT TO SUPPORT JOHN McCAIN as our party's nominee. Depends on how bold I feel that night."
- "Going 3rd party is not a viable solution. At least not in the next few years."
- "We are succeeding in our plans to have a "QUIET COUP""
- "It's very easy for us to TAKE OVER THE PARTY"
- "WHEN YOU GO TO YOUR NEXT REPUBLICAN MEETING, BE PREPARED TO ACT. WHEN NEW BUSINESS COMES UP, STAND UP AND INTRODUCE A RESOLUTION SAYING WE WILL NOT SUPPORT MCCAIN FOR PRESIDENT. DO NOT CONNECT THIS WITH RON PAUL!!! THIS IS SIMPLY AN ATTEMPT TO FAN THE FLAMES OF DISUNITY."
- "There are OTHER PLACES to say what WE REALLY THINK, such as RLC meetings (Republican Liberty Council)" Not at REC meetings.
- "The number 1 priority must be to INFILTRATE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. Then we can run for office with an R next to our names. It's the only hope for GAINING POWER."
There is a great deal more than just this. This is just a few of the e-mails. And this is nothing compared to the websites associated with some of this. And all of this is confirmed by a significant number of Ron Paul people who are deeply disenchanted by Mr. Egerhoff and his actions.
I believe that the net meaning behind all of this is:
(1) the stated, admitted, expressed aim of Mr. Egerhoff is to take over our party in a silent coup.
(2) the purpose of the coup is to discuss issues and change policy, platform and direction of the party toward the platform of Ron Paul. Our party is just a convenient tool.
(3) There is no discussion in any e-mail about supporting any republican candidate in 2008 on any level for any purpose other than Ron Paul.
(4) There is no assertion or claim that the present committee or its leadership has in any way failed, at the local level or anywhere elese, to do its mission of turning out vote, raising money, recruiting candidates, planning for elections, etc. The purpose of the takeover is not to do our constitutional mission BETTER, it is to CHANGE the our constitutional mission altogether to something else (which we at the local level have no power even to do). It is also ironic that someone who spends so much time talking about constitutionality has no regard at all for the constitution of the organization he freely joined.
(5) Mr. Egerhoff is not honest about this intent. He claims at OCREC meetings with written motions that he wants to "discuss and educate" our membership "about our platform", while he simultaneously tells people in e-mails that the real purpose is to begin introducing a discussion of various Ron Paul ideals which are, in many cases, directly contradictory, on many very important matters, to our platform and to the positions of virtually all our candidates a every level. (Furthermore, of course, it's simply not what we do.) He even says that the INTENT is to "Fan the flames of disunity"!!!
(6) Mr Egerohoff has set himself as a spokesman for the Ron Paul campaign and its supporters without ever having been designated in that role.
(7) He has taken his conflict to the media in an effort to support his case, rather than deal with this in-house, notwithstanding the impact on the party or its mission (the net result of which has been zero - no reader of the Sentinel or WDBO listener has called or written me. NONE. ZERO.)
(8) Mr. Egerhoff has personally questioned my motivations and intent on live radio more than once, and in e-mails and in communications and posting seen all over the nation, and he has invited people NOT EVEN FROM ORANGE COUNTY, let alone OCREC, to call me to complain (to date, 4 of them, including a vulgar e-mail).
(8) A large % of the Ron Paul people are disgusted and offended by his actions. They are not going to say so publicly for fear of being smeared publicly and all over the internet the way I have. However, they look forward to the secret ballot for removal.
(9) He muses about introducing resolutions to condemn our candidates (you should see the resolution he circulated) as if this were some kind of entertianment. Such things are an ANATHEMA to our organization.
(10) In an effort to achieve a quick high profile for himself, at one of his earliest meetings, Mr. Egerhoff moved to essentially empty our entire treasury ($40,000) for the purpose of making a campaign contribution to a single, non-partisan candidate in what was always a very long shot election (despite the best efforts of a hard-working and honorable candidate). Mr. Egerhoff had done nothing to raise the money he so cavalierly wished to throw away and in my opinion made the motion to make a name for himself. The motion was irrational and irresponsible and is indicative of the lengths to which he was prepared to go to make a quick and spectacular name for himself.
In my opinion, and in the unanimous opinion of our executive board, these actions and these words are prima facie evidence (x 10) of the intent to undermine OCREC and its mission in this critical election year. I will also add that a number of Ron Paul supporters on OCREC agree fundamentally with most or all of this assessment. Most of them would rather not say so in public (lest Mr. Egherhoff smears them to the internet world or the Sentinel or WDBO, etc.), but I urge you to talk to those you know for confirmation.
Let me add that this is EMPHATICALLY NOT about Ron Paul. Those who are willing to do our important work in the fall are welcome. Most will I think be helpful. I do not care who they supported in the primary this year. I do not care who they will support next time. I do not care what their views on the war or drugs or the patriot act or abortion or anything else might be. I do not care if they try to persuade you or me of their point of view ON OUR OWN TIME. I ask only that they work for OUR ENTIRE TICKET THIS YEAR and NOT BE DISRUPTIVE, period.
Anyone, whether with Ron Paul or otherwise, who does not want to help us win in 2008 is simply in the wrong place anyway. No one should do anything in this arena that they are not comfortable with. This is a volunteer army and WILLING volunteers are the only kind that do our party any good.
This action is as narrowly directed as it can be. We have not asked for anyone else's removal, and there are no plans to do so. We believe that Mr. Egerhoff's intentions and actions are qualitatively and quantitatively different enough from the other Ron Paul people to be deserving of unique treatment and sanction.
In addition, while we will interview new members more closely in the future to confirm their willingness to help the Republican cause, we wil not ask the membership to reject out of hand any new member simply because they have been a Ron Paul supporter. In fact, we are trying to contact the Ron Paul people who were not elected the last time to interview them separately for new consideration. We have already done so with 2 of them and will be recommending their election at the next meeting.
Furthermore, we will be recommending one of the early Ron Paul organizers, Jessica Deihl, for election to our board as Secretary. I can imagine no other actions that more emphatically underscore the point that this is not about Ron Paul.
The subject is one very disruptive person who has been deceptive about his intent and his methods. In my opinion, Mr. Egerhoff's real mission is disruption and publicity and personal self-aggrandizement. The Republican Party means nothing to him. We are but a convenient tool.
Finally, i need to say a few words on behalf of OCREC. Of course I am biased as its chairman, but I am personally offended by the condescending and insulting tone Mr. Egerhoff takes to OCREC in his correspondence to others. He has said the party is weak and ineffective and losing its grip and so forth. First, it is insulting to me that someone who has been around all of 6 months thinks he knows enough about our work to offer that opinion, but more importantly it is FLAT FALSE.
OCREC has done exceptionally well here in Orange County. Though we have literally been swamped by a massive demographic shift in population that has drastically changed voter registration numbers in the County, and though we only have 34.4% of the registered voters compared to the Democrat's 40.2%, Republicans nonetheless dominate elected office here and we have done a SUPERB job of pitching the party and its principles to a huge new wave of Hispanic and other voters. We have NOTHING to be ashamed of or to apologize for.
We own virtually every office in the County that we have even a fair chance of winning based on registration. Our treasury and membership are both much larger than the democrats. Virtually all of our elected officials attend our meetings from time to time and MANY have joined OCREC though they do not have to (Democrat elected officials often ignore and avoid the DEC). Mr. Eherhoff has contributed NOTHING to ANY of these achievement and yet has the affrontery to accuse ALL OF US of being weak and ineffective.
Thank you all for taking the time to read this and I apologize for the necessity of bringing this matter before you. We all have more productive things to do.
My final note: SOME of what Oliver says I said is true. Much of it is not. Hence the libel case to try and clear my name.