Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Dignitary fights back

By Rick Morris

This time it's personal. One of The FDH Lounge Dignitaries is in a battle, but he's fighting back strongly.

Burrell Jackson, who has become, dare I say, a cult hero figure to listeners and viewers of our FDH Lounge program, is running for two positions this year under the Republican banner in Cuyahoga County here in Northeast Ohio. You can read about his situation below with his full press release. I want to offer a tip of the hat to Ben Keeler, who had the story first and chose to run a portion of the release with his commentary; you can check out his column at the Akron Beacon-Journal politics blog here. Our choice, since Burrell is part of the FDH family, is to run his entire press release.

February 14, 2008

SCANDAL: State GOP Official Donates Maximum Amount to Democratic Congressional Candidate Joe Cimperman (Dennis Kucinich opponent)

CLEVELAND – Ohio Republican State Central Commiteeman David H. Gunning II (21st State Senate District) has given the maximum campaign contribution allowable under federal finance law to District 10 Democratic congressional candidate Joe Cimperman. This is a betrayal of the local and state Republicans that Gunning claims to represent and furthermore, is obliged to promote effectively and exclusively.

Gunning’s opponent for state central committee in the upcoming March 4 primary, Burrell Jackson, unearthed documents proving Gunning’s Democratic interloping. Specifically, Federal Elections Commission Form 3, Schedule A, Reference #28930297185 reveals on December 16, 2007 that Cimperman received the aforementioned maximum contribution of $2,300 from Gunning.

Jackson is also a candidate for county clerk of courts this year. He is unopposed in the March primary. He consented to run after having been recruited by local party officials, only to see his opponent, Gunning, unanimously endorsed by the county organization.

“This is outrageous. Republicans at the grass-roots level are struggling to promote success county and state-wide, yet our elected state party officials are financially supporting the Democrats,” Jackson stated. “The Cuyahoga County Republican Party should revoke its unanimous endorsement of Mr. Gunning immediately or the entire party leadership should resign.”

Jackson was clear in his insistence that the credibility and honor of the local party organization is at stake in this matter.

“If selling out our Republican candidates isn’t grounds for repealing an endorsement, what would be?” Jackson asked.

I've got an additional quote from Burrell as well: "With the Cuyahoga County Republicans struggling to connect with voters to such an extent, their commitment to minority outreach will be revealed as a complete joke if an old boys' club mentality prevails here." Well said, my friend.

This situation is so completely, utterly ridiculous that it almost defies description. I hate to say this, but I hope Burrell isn't holding his breath waiting for the remedy that should be automatic. It won't happen, because I don't believe anyone in the inner sanctum cares that this guy is donating to Democrats while holding Republican office. From everything I've seen and heard over the years, it's probably even a laughing matter behind closed doors. I wonder if Republican congressional candidate Jim Trakas is laughing about an elected GOP official helping out a Democratic potential opponent. Probably not.

As the press release notes, the local Republican party recruited Burrell to run for county clerk of courts but closed ranks behind his opponent in this race; that's gratitude for ya. If he can't get that endorsement of his opponent reversed even after this egregious decision by his opponent, then the local party's attitude towards him will be forcibly revealed as (NOTE: my word, not his) TOKENISM of the worst sort. It's all well and good to recruit the young black businessman to contest a seat as an overwhelming underdog and in so doing fly the party flag in the minority community; apparently it's another thing altogether to endorse the same candidate in another race EVEN WHEN HE'S THE ONLY CANDIDATE IN THE RACE NOT MAKING ANY CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS, LET ALONG MAXIMUM ONES, TO DEMOCRATS!

This is everything people hate about politics right in one neat little bundle.


Ben said...

I agree, this makes no sense. I didnt really know about this race before today, but I know who I will be supporting now.

Rick Morris said...

Hey Ben, I agree that this is an idiotic situation and from what I heard from Burrell today, we're not close to getting a sane and just resolution to the situation. I hate to say I told y'all so, but I called it right in this piece. Nobody in that organization cares that their key people are donating to Democrats and it shows in their "outstanding" won-loss record. Thanks for being the first to sound the alarm on this story and keep up the good work.


jt said...

Jim Trakas (R), candidate for Ohio’s 10th Congressional District, said the following related to recent news concerning a contribution by a Republican State Committeeman to a Democrat challenging Dennis Kucinich:

“If there is one thing I agree with David Gunning on, it is that Dennis Kucinich has to go,” said Trakas. “I can tell you as a former State Representative and Chairman of the Cuyahoga County Republican Party that Mr. Gunning has been a friend to the Cuyahoga County GOP over the years. If he feels that one way to assist in getting rid of Dennis the Menace is to contribute to his primary opponent, so be it.”

“What counts is that Mr. Gunning maxed out to my campaign with his contribution, is a lifelong Republican, and knows that I will champion the concerns and needs of Ohio’s 10th Congressional District. Mr. Gunning and I both realize that we have been voiceless in Washington, thanks to an absent Congressman.”

Rick Morris said...

Good to hear from you, jt! I knew a jt once; he was an officer for the state College Republicans back in the late '80s. What a coincidence! Anyway, best of luck to you in whatever your endeavors may be in 2008, jt :-)

Interesting thing about that contribution Jim Trakas received from Gunning -- per some further investigative efforts from Burrell, that contribution appears to have been made after Burrell's press release about the Democrat contribution! If Burrell's info is accurate, and it almost always is, then wouldn't you figure Trakas should dip into that $2,300 to buy Burrell a bottle of Courvosier? :-)

As I predicted, though, Gunning's contribution to a Democrat didn't threaten his unanimous endorsement by the party at all. A Burrell Jackson is never going to get the endorsement over a Gunning in a million years. I'm sure the minority community is taking note.


David Fago said...

By law, Mr. Gunning is only allowed to give Mr. Trakas $4600. (2300 pre-primary and 2300 post primary). According to Mr. Trakas, he did give this max.

Now let's look at the max Mr. Gunning gave to Joe Cimperman. Everyone is agast!!! Oh my...look at this turncoat.

I disagree...what if Mr. Gunning's $4600 to Joe Cimperman make Dennis Kucinich spend $10,000 in the primary race. That is $10,000 less Cousin-Itch will have to spend against Trakas in November.

Think people. It is not that hard.

Rick Morris said...

Mr. Fago, you're just responding now to a column from February 14? That must have been a heck of a Valentine's Day bender!

Your shilling for Mr. Gunning is amusing. Perhaps cutting out the middleman and having Mr. Gunning post a comment himself (or do so under his own name, as the case may be) would have been more appropriate from the Gunning camp, but I'm happy to entertain thoughts from anyone -- even absurd hypotheticals from you about how Gunning is allegedly bleeding the congressman dry by donating four figures to his primary opponent.

Although, as I say, you're welcome to weigh in here, I must also say that I don't personally understand the reasoning. The Gunning camp won. He kept his endorsement from the party and beat the heck out of my friend Burrell in the election. Furthermore, you're not going to have to deal with any future competition from Burrell because he's come around to my point of view that self-hating, defeatist Vichy Republican types are not worthy of his time and energy. Those who aspire to nothing more in life than to have the word "OWNED" tattooed on their forehead by Jimmy DiMora have nothing more to fear from Burrell. So what's the point?

Oh, also, look into the timeframe regarding WHEN Jim Trakas got the contribution from David Gunning -- AFTER Burrell made this matter public. Are you naive enough to believe that Burrell's efforts did not trigger that contribution -- the one you say makes up for everything?