Debunking the Misinformation
of the NCGOP Leadership
Dear Friends and Voters:
Just over one week to go until election day for those of you, who like myself, wait until the last minute. What a week this has been, including the revelations regarding the Republican Party and its endorsed candidate.
There have been many news stories circulating throughout the state and across the nation in which the faction of the Republican Party leadership in control and the Republican Party Chief of Staff, Bill Peaslee, have once more attempted to besmirch me. As a result, I am compelled to respond and explain more fully what exactly transpired.
The Republican Party leadership and its minions are engaged in what appears to be a cover-up of their own actions and they are using several well-established defense mechanisms. I will try and debunk them.
(1) Nuts 'n sluts - this term came to light during the prior presidential term, where the Clinton officials sought to discredit any allegations by casting a cloud over the person bringing forth the information. In my case, my alleged moral failings were discussed and long since have been addressed. They are now trying to portray me as a member of some radical organization and have dredged up a petition I signed. Friends for various causes, including some educational or pro-gun legislation, have in past years asked me to send an internet letter to my congressman or senator or sign a petition supporting home schools or other topics. To help my friends, I have put my name up on the petitions and may have sent some of these pre-drafted letters. I can't remember how often, but I don't recall doing anything like that in the past year. That's been the extent of my involvement. The only organization that I am a dues-paying card carrying member of is the North Carolina Bar Association. Beyond that, I have been too busy working to be a member of any organization.
(2) Shoot the messenger - this is a classic where one seeks to avoid negative information in the message by focusing attention instead on the messenger. In this case, the charge has been that I somehow instigated this whole mess and am "slinging mud," am a "snitch" or have a "sour grapes" attitude because I did not get the Republican Party's endorsement. Nothing could be further from the truth.
"Mud-slinging" is where one candidate accuses the other of various actions or seeks to portray a candidate as being something that he or she is not. Typically, the "mud" that is thrown is an innuendo or bit of evidence on something trivial that is contorted and twisted into something else. One need only look at other various campaigns for evidence of real "mud-slinging." There has been no "mud" thrown here except by the Republican Party leadership and the Republican candidate. My campaign is not about slinging "mud." I'm not the one who started this whole mess. I repeatedly recommended that the Republican Party leadership and its gang of Tony Soprano-like thugs (albeit minus the brains) cease and desist. They chose not to listen.
With regard to the "sour grapes" comments by Mr. Peaslee, I was at that meeting back in August of 2004. It seems like a lifetime ago and I don't have a transcript of what I said. Perhaps Mr. Peaslee can produce a verbatim transcript. As I recall, I suggested that as the Democratic Party merely listed its candidates, that the Republican do likewise, both out of fairness and for political common sense. I since have learned from several sources that Judge Manning, who is also a candidate, wrote to both parties and suggested the very same thing.
I may have stated that the party was free to endorse me if it wanted. Common sense dictates that any candidate ordinarily would welcome an endorsement. But I wasn't begging for the Republican Party endorsement as I knew full well that I would never get it. The faction of the committee who attended that meeting made its decision. I respected the decision then and I respect it now. What I don't respect is the personal attacks and smears that the Republican leadership has leveled at me. But I have no personal animus or axe to grind.
As for me being a "snitch," this presupposes that the accused has engaged in some wrongful conduct and doesn't like to be ‘ratted' out by someone else. I am no snitch. But I am an attorney and, as such, I am obligated under the ethical and professional rules to report misconduct by a fellow member of the bar. That is what happened here. I received e-mails from various individuals who did not enlighten me as to their real names and identities. Why did they come to me? Maybe they do not care for what is occurring either in this campaign or in the Republican Party leadership. Maybe they figured that I was taking so much abuse, that I would make sure that the word got out if they passed it to me. Maybe they thought that if they complained or tried to alert the media, their information would be ignored, but that the media would pay attention if brought out by a candidate. Maybe they did not want to have their names and identities disclosed and to take the kind of heat that I have. I can't speak for their motivations.
The anonymous concerned individuals advised me that the Republican candidate was still holding his job while engaging in what has become a partisan campaign. The persons provided correspondence between the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and other candidates for races in other states. The correspondence described the type of conduct that is allowed and prohibited.
The federal authorities at the OSC are now looking into this matter and I have cooperated with the investigation. They are aware of the imminentness of the election, but I am not telling the OSC attorneys how to do their job. I am not controlling the investigation in any way. Nor did I invent the Hatch Act. It was enacted in 1939, long before I was born.
The public already has begun voting but needs to be aware of this matter because of the office that is at stake. Its up to them to decide, but if I had not alerted the media to this issue, you can be darn sure that neither the Republican candidate nor the Republican Party leadership ever would have let the voters know.
(3) Various statements that are either lies or else are very distant from the truth - A reporter who did a story in the weekend edition of the Washington, North Carolina Daily News spoke with the Republican candidate, as did others. Several quotes appeared therein which were attributed to the candidate. The Republican candidate claimed to have a letter from the OSC or his employer which purportedly cleared him of any wrongdoing. If the letter existed, then surely it would be very easy for the Republican Party leadership and/or their candidate to produce. They could issue a simple statement or hold a press conference addressing the matter. The fact that they have not done so is telling.
I have not seen the letter, but was told by others that it dated back to November of 2003. It's my understanding from a reading of the Hatch Act that a federal employee may run in a non-partisan election. No partisan activity of any kind had occurred in November of 2003, so perhaps the letter may have advised that, as this was a non-partisan election, the candidate could proceed. However, the Republican candidate's conduct in November of 2003 is not at issue.
Under the Hatch Act, a non-partisan race can be transformed into a partisan one by certain activity. For example, as I learned from the materials and research, it appears that a federal employee who was a candidate in another state who called himself a "republican" or "conservative" may be enough to violate the act. That is exactly what has happened here since August of 2004. This is not just about a party endorsement. This person's candidacy has involved systematic and pervasive partisan activity. The Republican Party has a photograph of the "Republican Team" featured at its website. We also have possible financial contributions from the Republican Party, either in the form of money or other assistance. For example, Elizabeth Dole has recorded voice messages in which she tells the voters to elect certain "Republican" candidates for office including the person in question. Who paid for that? And the candidate himself on his signs and campaign literature has identified himself as a "conservative" and part of the "Republican" judicial team. And we have others of the Republican Party leadership out there making those phone calls and engaging in other activities to discredit me. So that is the conduct that we have here.
Another miscomment stated that a violation of the Hatch Act was not criminal. I have never said that it was! But this is not a simple "administrative" matter either. One article that I read, discussed an individual who engaged in similar, though less egregious, conduct, has spent over $100,000 in attorney fees and fines. If violations of the law are established, the violator must not only pay fines, but also may have to either resign his or her candidacy or employment. Resignation of one's job, fines and attorney fees of this magnitude are indeed a serious matter.
Statements have been made that I am somehow infringing on the candidate's or the Republican Party's 1st Amendment rights. If the candidate or the Republican Party had attended my tour of various college campuses instead of trying to shut such events down, they would know that I am promoting the 1st First Amendment rights of our students and professors. I would emphatically extend those same rights to any candidate, political party or other individual.
However, this is just another non sequitur that is aimed at confusing the voters. I have said and done nothing to restrict anybody's 1st Amendment rights. The Republican Party can endorse anyone at wants. As I have explained, its decision is not at issue. The issue is whether the Republican Party's endorsement and its candidate's acceptance of that endorsement, together with other actions of the candidate and the Republican Party, have transformed a non-partisan race into a partisan one.
Finally, the candidate seems to think that I have a personal hatred for him and he blames me for his own problems. I take no joy or glee in the prospects of someone losing a job or facing other sanctions, if that is what is ultimately decided.
However, this whole situation was very easy to avoid. All of the prosecutors or other employees that I have known did the right thing at the outset - they resigned their state or federal jobs and never had to worry about the issue. I myself was a former state employee and was thoroughly advised that I could not run for office or engage in other types of political activity. I assumed, probably as did the other candidates in this race, that the Republican candidate here would have had sufficient intellect and forethought to obtain clarification before declaring his candidacy.
It appears that the Republican candidate did not do so here. Failing resignation of his position, he could have told the Republican Party leadership about the Hatch Act and taken the necessary steps to ensure that no conduct occurred that would constitute a violation or even an appearance of impropriety under the law. But he again evidently failed to do so. The truth is that the Republican Party leadership and their own Republican candidate have no one to blame but themselves for the predicament in which they now find themselves.
It's scary for me to think that this person, who doesn't seem to know the law, might be elected to our state's highest court. However, diehard fanatics in the Republican Party leadership are not going to change their minds. They have stated that it doesn't matter what their Republican candidate does, they are still voting for him. Of course, it is their right to do so. However, such a decision is based on blind hatred and emotion, not on any sound reason and judgment. For those of you who are not on the hardcore left, for those of you who are not a member of the ruling Republican Party elite, take the time and think before you vote.
Rachel Lea Hunter
Candidate for NC Supreme Court Associate Justice