I still remember the 2011 CRA Convention fight and being accused of selling CRA endorsements. That issue was the central issue of that fight.
I never sold a CRA endorsement, or attempted to. I did get paid by consultants / campaigns many times to influence outcomes in the course of everything else I was doing. That is a very different thing as I never guaranteed or promised an outcome, manipulated CRA Records, Delegates, etc in order to win an endorsement.
The CRA currently has $51k in the bank. 38K of it I raised by selling sponsorships and soliciting donations. This was another thing the people that expelled me roundly criticized – perhaps I should have pocketed the money and done what has been the time-honored tradition of CRA versus trying to raise operating captial for the organization.
The mentality and the reputation of the CRA is well earned. The few real groups they have are made up of the fringes of politics. They had a 9-11 Truther Table at the most recent CRA Convention. Thomas N Hudson never met a check he would not take. When I participated in staging CRA Conventions, I turned down similar would be vendors.
Given that the CRA attracts people like this, it is a reasonable question to ask, “why wouldn’t a group made up of people that can’t function in the real would fight amongst itself all the time?”
Karen England, a woman I have lit up many times on this Blog was running for CRA President in 2011. Her psychotic rants and accusations are still parroted today by some. Late every October, I celebrate “FBI” day in honor of her straight-faced allegation at the 1/2011 Placer GOP Cent Com Organizing meeting that the FBI was investigating the Placer GOP. What was at stake in 2011 was control of the lucrative endorsement mill known as CRA. She lied, multiple times in an attempt to gain political advantage and had a decent group of dupes. Many have recovered from their brainwashing at the hands of Karen England, but those still can’t help but light a torch have found a home in CRA.
I personally wanted to see the CRA be a group for Real Conservative Activists. I had seen the fraud in front of my face for years and was very much personally frustrated to see the Placer CRA, a real unit of CRA with real members getting screwed by fake units controlled by political consultants and staff. The fake units got as much weight in an endorsement as the real ones.
In 2007, the Mitt Romney for President Campaign in an effort run by Mike Schroeder, Brandon Powers, Scott Voigts, David Reade and others created a string of 25 fake CRA Units in order to produce convention delegates to engineer a CRA endorsement of Mitt Romney. I remember that convention well. I remember voting to endorse Mitt Romney on the second ballot. I did not know at the time that 75 of the 148 votes Romney got were produced by this operation.
With a fresh batch of 25 bogus CRA Units, a series of events occurred that forced the internal corruption of the CRA to the forefront. At that time, I had no real idea that people like Steve Frank, Mike Spence, Jon Fleischman, and a couple of other allies at the time (whose names escape me) were all profiting (or had profited) personally (directly or otherwise) from manipulation by fraud or straight up rigged fabrication of CRA endorsements.
I’ve had political consultants tell me they did business with both Jon Fleischman and Mike Spence (both former CRA Presidents). I served under several CRA Presidents and I can tell you with certainty that neither John Briscoe nor Ken Mettler participated in leveraging CRA. I can’t say that about any of the others I served with.
David Stafford Reade and Mark Spannagel – both current Chiefs of Staff for Current Republican officeholders were expelled from CRA for fraud. As it turns out, they got screwed. They did nothing different than several of the people that voted to expel them. What they did was wrong, but getting disciplined and publicly railed by people doing the exact same thing was and is absurd.
Scott Voigts, A man I consider a friend today got expelled for fraud. He got screwed, see above.
In retrospect, I get why a bunch of them sued the CRA. I’d have done the same damn thing given that my 20/20 hindsight is clear on this.
Everyone on the current CRA board should be nervous about lawsuits. Why would someone care about getting banned from CRA for suing the organization at this point? Thomas N Hudson, the current President of the CRA was a vociferous opponent of taking out Directors and Officers Insurance for the group as he, get this, argued that it would INCREASE the chances the CRA would get sued. Guess what, enough board members bought that argument that they voted the idea down. This is the mentality of the CRA today. Those sitting on the CRA board are uninsured and will have to come out of pocket should the $51k in the CRA’s Treasury get exhausted in the next lawsuit.
Of all the people expelled from CRA in my lifetime, I do believe that only Karen England and Tim LeFever deserved their expulsions. It is clear to me that they wanted to take CRA to the next level for their commercial enterprise. The problem is that my side of that fight had people like Steve Frank, Tom Hudson and other on it that were scarcely different than those that lost and later got expelled. Many times over the years, I acted on the advice of Steve Frank and Thomas N Hudson without question, speaking of dumb things to do…
In retrospect, (to cite a recent example of a CRA lynching), I don’t think Steve Sarkis deserved much more than a 1 year suspension or perhaps just a prohibition from serving on leadership for what he did in Anaheim. That said, the morally corrupt Thomas N Hudson believes that Sarkis did nothing wrong and has raged on multiple people over it, (even though Sarkis was caught with falsified membership records, etc. over a three year period) apparently defending the time-honored practice of CRA Fraud.
Perhaps Hudson’s rage over what happened to Sarkis, is because Mr. Sarkis bad behavior mirrored his own bad behavior within CRA? If Sarkis got screwed so badly, Hudson should lead the fight to reinstate him. Thomas N Hudson needs to man up instead of raging on people like a bully.
Trying to reform the CRA has proven to be a fool’s errand. The bathroom boys and narcissists did George and I a huge favor by expelling us in the manner we did. We had proof of even more fraud. Those caught had to gaslight us and employ the pigpen strategy of writing specious, lengthy manifestos (that included bringing in our disdain for some so-called conservative officeholders in to the matrix amongst other things) to cover for their bad behavior when they expelled us.
The unbelievable truth is that whole thing was ignited by us sending in a Spam complaint against an email sent out by Mark Gardner in defiance of the then President John Briscoe’s wishes. From there, the leper colony erupted. Gardner has since announced he has moved to Nevada. Two of the other leaders of the effort to expel us moved to Florida. A fourth board member who voted to expel us moved to Florida. 17 of the 30 votes to expel us were appointed the day of the lynching to the CRA Board by Thomas N Hudson. Many are not on the CRA’s board anymore.
Some people have said that George and My expulsion from CRA was payback or “what comes around”. The smart people who did not have their ego in a wad or who were not trying to avoid conflict saw it as a takeover for Thomas N Hudson and his merry band of Bathroom Boys (many of whom don’t really like Hudson all that much).
Now that Thomas N Hudson is in “control” of the CRA and according to my belief is attempting to leverage it, the organization is basically in a free fall. Its’ membership is about half of what it was when I was expelled and it is continuing to get decimated despite whatever spin may be coming out of the ministry of information. Hudson has built his own reputation, the CRA has its’ own reputation. George and I were freed from the baggage and poor reflection of the CRA’s reputation on ourselves by their own stupidity when they expelled us.
Anyone seeking a CRA endorsement should adhere to the old adage, let the buyer beware. It is similar to willingly injecting bacteria in to your campaign.
P.S. Much of the proof of the contents of this blog is from personal experience, anecdotal stories and the like as most political types try to minimize their email/paper trail. The most common refrain when I blog about stuff is for those affected to call me a liar. Let em. They know what they did. The accounts of this post are things I believe to be true.