I posted this information to protect the Tea Party, whose intellectual property was in serious question of being compromised.
Two messages were sent, and I read both. One was a campaign email from Mr. Haley embedded in the template of the Chesapeake Tea Party. The other was an email from the Chairman of the Chesapeake Tea Party saying that no one was authorized to use the CTP letterhead. The Chairman asked that the message be conveyed, and I conveyed it.
Apparently, someone else in the CTP sent out Haley’s email in the CTP’s template without the Chairman’s knowledge.
I am sorry for being one of the many confused people who read the Chesapeake Tea Party’s email today and I apologize for trying to protect the Tea Party. I’ve learned my lesson.
Notice what wasn’t in there: an apology to Bill Haley, or a retraction.
Trying to protect the TEA Party? Really? The same guy who makes a career of destroying the TEA Party? The same guy who just days ago bragged about how dumb he thought the TEA Party was? THAT Brian Kirwin?
More details surrounding this scandal have come to light.
Below is the ‘smoking gun’; the email that the Chesapeake TEA Party sent out right after the initial Haley email. Notice the time stamp on it; it was sent in the middle of the day, about 5 hours before Kirwin libeled Bill Haley. Apparently, Kirwin can only read some emails but not others:
CHESAPEAKE TEA PARTY
We recently sent a message from Bill Haley to our Chesapeake contacts. We admire
Bill Haley’s courage to battle ever-increasing taxation and big government, especially
when Richmond is voting against the People in so many areas, like the giant,
snowballing bureauracy and regulations coming out of the Virginia General Assembly.
We encourage John Cosgrove to take advantage of this opportunity as well.
However, Chesapeake Tea Party does not endorse candidates – we pass on candidates’
positions as a courtesy to them and as a convenience to our contacts.
We welcome all candidates to express their positions and ask for support. This has
been our tradition since the founding of the tea party movement in Tidewater.
We also reserve the right to change our position at any time we decide it would
better serve the tea party’s mission.
Apparently, Kirwin’s company counts Cosgrove as a client, according to VPAP:
If we’re talking about disclosures, shouldn’t Kirwin disclose this choice bit of information in his little attack piece?
Other sources in Chesapeake have caught the Virginia Beach-based Kirwin snooping around this race:
Kirwin is showing up Chesapeake council meetings and Chesapeake Republican committee meetings. Kirwin is VA Beach not Chesapeake so he’s down there for a reason.
Further, Kirwin has a history of bullying TEA Party organizations in the region on behalf of his client Cosgrove. One source in the TEA Party, who did not wish to be identified for fear of being bullied by Bearing Drift, had this to say:
Also everytime the tea party here sends anything advertising haley they get beatin into submission and have to send out a hostage note saying they didjtn mean it. [sic]
Bearing Drift is really out to get the Tea Party and Haley. Bullies.
Earlier this year, something eerily similar happened with another TEA Party group:
The masthead of this newsletter draws its inspiration from the Massachusetts Spy
news journal as it appeared in 1773 the year the ‘Boston Tea Party’ took place.* March 9, 2015 *
There has been some misconception of our email we sent for Bill Haley to help collect signatures so he could be on the June ballot to run for State Senate.This was not an endorsement by the Chesapeake Tea Party or the Tidewater Tea Party Alliance. It was a call for “friendlies” to help, as we have done with other candidates who have asked us to sign their petitions. An endorsement is different from our support of good people attempting to run for office. We encourage them to run. Along the way, we may find strengths or weaknesses in these candidates. The strengths may encourage us to get more involved in their campaigns. If the weaknesses are treatable, some of us may try to help in those areas, too.
Please do not hesitate to let us know when something we communicate to you confuses you. It was good for you to let us know.
Our mention of Dave Bratt was a only a reminder that we can make a difference, not a formal endorsement of Bill Haley.
Still think Kirwin is out to ‘protect’ the TEA Party? Or perhaps just a CYA after a botched hit job?
Apparently, the Chesapeake TEA Party was also surprised by Kirwin’s attack on Haley, selectively using the organization to do so:
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Brenda Hardison <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Subject: Bill Haley gets bad wrap from Bearing Drift
CHESAPEAKE TEA PARTY
Unfortunately, someone contacted Bearing Drift and told them that Bill Haley had used
the Chesapeake Tea Party banner fraudulently to get his message out. That is
so far from the truth, it makes me sick. Whoever is responsible for this, we will
never know, but this is the kind of dirty politics that we all abhor.
this is what I posted on the Bearing Drift facebook page and on the website:
On Bearing Drift’s website, an article was posted accusing Bill Haley
of using the Chesapeake Tea Party banner to send out a message without
I am using a friend’s facebook page because I can’t get into my own.
I don’t use it much.
I sent that newsletter for Bill Haley to our Chesapeake contacts.
This has been what the tea parties have done for their local candidates
ever since the tea party was founded. We have in the last few years taken the position to not formally endorse candidates; but we pass on their positions for the benefit of the voters. John Cosgrove also has the opportunity to send a message through us on his positions. Someone who received the newsletter took it for an endorsement and contacted Cosgrove’s office and Cosgrove’s staff contacted Chesapeake Tea Party
Chair, Dan Dooley to confirm it was an endorsement which he replied it was not. Dan copied me on the reply and I immediately sent out a disclaimer to all our contacts explaining the official position of the tea party on candidates.
Bill Haley has been wrongly accused and needs an apology from the source who gave this to Bearing Drift, and an apology from Bearing Drift.
If this is a tactic to hurt Mr. Haley’s campaign, whoever you are, I pray you have not succeeded. Shame on you!
Brenda Hardison, Chesapeake Tea Party
Bill Haley’s campaign has weighed in on the controversy:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MAY 19, 2015
Contact: Tim Minor
Bill Haley For Senate Campaign Statement on Outrageous False Claims of Wrongdoing by Brian Kirwin
CHESAPEAKE, Va. – The Bill Haley For Senate campaign would like to respond to outrageous and knowingly false claims of illegality by the campaign made today by Brian Kirwin, a Virginia Beach area political consultant, in the Bearing Drift political blog. Mr. Kirwin claimed that the Haley campaign fraudulently represented itself as an established and well-known political group, and endorsed itself as that group in an email.
If Mr. Kirwin had taken a few seconds to read the email, he would’ve seen that it was indeed actually from the local political group, which forwarded an email sent out previously by the Haley Campaign. A simple phone call or email to the Haley campaign asking about the email in question would’ve also sufficed. A follow up email by the group sent out prior to the publishing of Mr. Kirwin’s article cleared up any question of who sent the email. Unfortunately, Mr. Kirwin took it upon himself to print a story with serious allegations of criminal wrongdoing by the Haley Campaign, allegations that were both knowably false and malicious in intent by Mr. Kirwin.
The smallest cursory investigation of the facts would’ve revealed the truth that the email did not come from the campaign, just like it would also reveal John Cosgrove’s record of voting for record tax hikes and doubling the Virginia Budget while in office.
We do, however, agree with Bearing Drift that this race bears closer scrutiny, especially given the extraordinary differences in policy positions and records of the two candidates. We are not surprised that Bearing Drift has launched into an outrageous and unwarranted attack on Mr. Haley. That seems to happen more often than not when one of their big government, tax and spend favorites faces a legitimate threat from a conservative on the right. We expect entities to put up outrageous smokescreens in an attempt to hide their friend’s glaring vulnerabilities on policy and record. In this particular instance, however, we demand an apology and a retraction from Mr. Kirwin and Bearing Drift for what can only be described as intentional journalistic malpractice.
Bill Haley is a principled Constitutional Conservative who believes in limited government and the rule of law. He and his wife, Ruth, have been married for 25 years and they have three daughters attending college. Bill has worked in sales for a Fortune 50 subsidiary for over 20 years, and his website can be found at www.BillHaleyForSenate.com.
# # #
The fact is, between the Towne Bank scandal and the slating scandal from last year, suddenly the politics of Hampton Roads looks incredibly corrupt and cronyistic. Kirwin’s actions, while vile and repulsive, may be only a symptom of the larger problems in the region. The Cosgrove campaign should fire Kirwin and make clear it wants no part of this ‘den of villany and scum’.
Anyone who has met Bill Haley knows that he is a straight shooter, a good man who would discharge his duties honestly and without the apparent corruption endemic to the region. A donation to him at www.billhaleyforsenate.com would send a powerful message about this mess.