Many of you have heard of the recent vote by concerned conservatives such as myself to require that the 6th Congressional District appropriate the amount of $30,000 to pay for the defense of Scott Sayre, Hud McWilliams, Al Tucker, and the Committee itself. This is being portrayed as an attack on Ben Cline and on the party itself. Nothing could be further from the truth. In my role as Vice Chair of the 6th District Congressional Committee, I supported the motion put forth by Ken Adams to allocate the $30,000. And let me explain why I support this motion.
In mid December of 2015, my company received a letter from the IRS, stating that they wanted to do an audit of our books. For those of you who have ever received one of these letters, they send a chill up and down your spine. Either I or my company has been audited by the IRS 3 times. 1997, 1999, and 2015. Interestingly enough, these are the same 3 years in which I ran for public office. I have never gotten past these, and the concept of ever receiving another letter from the IRS is enough to scare most anyone away from running for office or for being involved in American politics.
In 1997 and 1999, I was running against a Democrat – but in 2015, it was very different. I was running against a former member of the Republican party in Shenandoah County for the Board of Supervisors. Meaning that in all likelihood, it was a former Republican Committee member (I can’t prove this but most likely a previous chair of the Committee) who reported my company to the IRS. See, we tend to think that this was something that only Democrats do to Republicans, but the fact is that weaponizing an arm of the federal government happens with both parties. In 1974, Article 2 Section 1 of Richard Nixon’s Impeachment states and I quote: He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavored to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposes not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner. Aka Richard Nixon was forced to resign from office for weaponizing the IRS against his political enemies.
For the record, the IRS gave to us a clean bill of health – but the cost in accountant’s fees was tremendous (over $20,000). Not to mention the angst that anyone goes through when receiving audit papers from the IRS. All of this because I helped orchestrate the removal of a liberal Republican from the party because he repeatedly advocated tax increases on working families.
We need to be the party of law and order. Not of using the government as a weapon against our political opponents or those who we are campaigning against.
During this past 6th District GOP Convention, there were multiple allegations hurled at then Chairman Scott Sayre, by supporters of his opponent. These allegations were all filed with the FEC during the last 2 weeks leading up to the convention. I have not looked at these allegations personally, other than I have a vague idea as to what they are about. Allegations which were filed within 2 weeks of a nominating deadline are often found to be specious. We cannot say for certain this is the case – maybe there is some truth to these allegations, maybe not.
But the fact is these allegations were brought by Republicans against a duly elected Republican, 6th District Chairman Scott Sayre. And not only were these allegations brought against Scott Sayre, they were brought against 2 other members of the District Committee and the Committee as a whole.
There is no guarantee that RPV will pay for the legal costs necessary to defend both the Committee or the members of the Committee named in the lawsuit. However you felt about Sayre vs Jennifer Brown, the fact is that we need to come together as a Committee, and the fact is that we need good people to both run for office and work on campaigns. Republicans should not be filing federal allegations against other Republicans, and to make sure we have a fresh supply of volunteers, it is imperative that those people who are on the Committee and the Committee itself be defended properly. The sum of $30,000 for a retainer may seem high, but the fact is that election law is very complex and you need a specialist. For the record, these allegations may be factually based. And if they are, I will be highly disappointed in my friends. But the fact is that the timing of the FEC filings is suspicious at best. This was a prudent vote taken by 2/3 of the 6th District Committee.
There has been a lot of misinformation about the Committee paying for legal fees for Cynthia Dunbar. For the record, yes it is true that Cynthia Dunbar did retain this law firm. But seeing as this firm has many attorneys who practice Federal Election Campaign law, the rest is meaningless. For the record, the motion which passed by the Committee specifically bars the Committee from having or even being allowed to pay for any legal expenses incurred by Cynthia Dunbar. There have been many wild claims stating that the Committee is trying to pay for Mrs. Dunbar’s legal bills. No way ever that I or most of the people who voted for the allocation of the $30,000 would have ever voted to pay for a congressional candidate’s legal fees – whether they supported that person in the nominating process or not. The motion put forth by Ken Adams strictly prohibits any non member of the Committee from having Committee money going towards their representation.
It is my hope and the hope of most everyone who voted for the motion to allocate $30,000 to retain a law firm to defend the 6th District Committee that this matter can be dealt with quickly and judiciously, and that we can get go onto the matter at hand – which is to get Ben Cline and Corey Stewart elected. But the people who filed the FEC claims must remember that they also named the Committee in the ethics claim. The Committee must be allowed to defend itself. There is no guarantee that RPV will defend the Committee in any legal action. We need good people to serve, and people who serve must not be afraid that they will be handed legal papers just because they have a different political point of view than others.
People who oppose this faction of the GOP say that we should be made to “own our votes”. My name is John Massoud, I am the Vice Chair of the 6th District GOP Congressional Committee. I am proud of my vote to protect my fellow Republicans. I would take these actions again to protect anyone who wishes to serve the cause of liberty. I would vote this way again – to even serve those who would prefer someone else have won my seat on the Committee. I own this vote, and will wear it as a badge of honor for the rest of my natural life. I will also own my vote this coming November to elect Ben Cline to Congress and Corey Stewart to the US Senate and I will wear those as a badge of honor for the rest of my life.