We reported on a formal ethics complaint against Columbia County Republican Party Chairman Brian Slowinski by Lee Benedict. We sent this email to Benedict on October 10th: “Mr. Benedict, Thank you for your recent submission. It is a matter we would like to pursue further, and would ask that you forward the emails you mentioned in your communication. Please keep us posted to your comfort level. We are not interested in going on a witch hunt, but remain dedicated to any wrongdoing regarding politics or government accountability; first in Columbia County and hopefully soon those regarding our State Government. Also, we want to thank you for your continued reading of our blog. The comments you post are always interesting and thought provoking, and we as a group welcome them. Thank you again.
Columbia County Conservative Viewpoint”
Apparently his comfort level is very high because he sent a bunch and we read all of them. It was unanimous that the CCGOP has no leadership or organization (much more on that later). We did say that we received many emails and they are quite telling. What we will do is give you the origins of the complaint and the early dialogue between Benedict and the CCGOP followed by our opinion. There is no way to do this in one story, trust us, no way. So what you will see below is what started it all and we left out all email addresses, phone numbers, and the former ethics chairman’s name. This will be out part 1, and all future parts will have a link to its prior parts so that you can pull up every story dealing with this. Keep in mind that these are emails supplied by Lee Benedict and they all appear to be genuine with no alterations. If anyone from the Columbia County Republican Party cares to present anything, we will welcome it. Here we go.
August 17th at 6:27p.m sent from Benedict to the ethics chairman: “As you are Chairman of the Columbia County Republican Party of Georgia’s Ethics Committee, I am submitting the attached complaint to you. Please confirm that you have received this. Thank you very much.”
August 17th at 6:33p.m sent from Benedict to Brett McGuire: “As you are the Columbia County Republican Party of Georgia’s At-Large Chairman, and since my most local Executive Board member (District 2 Chairman) does not have his contact information on the Party’s website, I am forwarding this to you. Please follow with…to see if he received it (my communication to his aol.com account was returned as undeliverable) and his intentions on how to proceed. Thank you.”
August 17th at 8:25p.m. from McGuire to Benedict: “Lee, I received your complaint and reviewed it in detail. I think you covered your concerns very well. I have been out of town for most of the past 10 weeks and I am not aware of any radio comments, however I did read the article in the Metro Spirit. The District 2 Chair is Mr. Cy Meadows. I have only met him once and do not have any contact information, however I have requested it. I will forward it to you when it is received. I will try to discuss with…as soon as possible.
August 22nd at 7:32p.m. sent to 1st Vice Chairman Dewey Galeas, 2nd Vice Chairman Carolyn Kirkland, 3rd Vice Chairman Jim Bartley, 4th Vice Chairman George Snelling, and McGuire: “I submitted this attachment to…five days ago, but have yet to receive confirmation that he received it. Therefore, I am sending it to you (see chain of custody below) for resolution. Thank you.”
September 19th at 9:31p.m. sent to Slowinski, Galeas, Kirkland, Bartley, Snelling, McGuire, and other board members: “On August 17, 2011, I sent the below communication with attachment to…, Ethics Chairman. It was sent to both of the email addresses I have for him, and one was returned as undeliverable, which, leads me to understand that one made it to a valid and functioning account. I had hoped to send it to my local Chairman (District 2) as well, but your website did not have that information at that time, and as of tonight, it has even less and is copyright protected by your Chairman. Having not been given the courtesy of a reply, on August 22, 2011 I forwarded the communication to your four Vice Chairs (Dewey Galeas, Carolyn Kirkland, Jim Bartley, George Snelling) and your at-large Chairman, Brett McGuire since I knew his name and email address but not those of my District Chair. Still not being given the courtesy of a status, I am of the opinion that this is being swept under the proverbial rug with the hope that I will forget all about this and/or the Columbia County Republican Party of Georgia can implement spin and damage control. I have not and will not forget about this or otherwise let it go, and thus, I am now sending this to all of the Executive Board members whom I know to be such, and am probably 48 hours away from sending this to Sue Everhart. I submitted this complaint 33 days ago, yet nothing from the Party as far as its status. Being that I have proven that this was sent 33 days ago, you must have had at least one Executive Board meeting during this time, and I know that you had some sort of gathering with GAGOP representation. I was biding my time and patience for 30 days in order to give you time to conclude your investigation, as 30 days is the time limit. However, it is undisputed fact that I submitted this 33 days ago and that nothing has become of it, which leads me to believe that the only way in which this can be even given the simple courtesy of a reply and statement of disposition, is for me to forward this to the next level. On a personal note, I do not know what is going on or what games are being played, but the CCRPoGA should be ashamed and I sincerely hope that corrective measures are taken. Thank you.”
September 20th at 7:02a.m. from Debbie McCord to Benedict, Slowinski and the others: “Mr Slowinski forwarded your ethics complaint to me last night. You may not be aware of this, but…has resigned from the position of Ethics Chair. The chairman has asked me to step into this vacant position and I have agreed. Unfortunately, an emergency at work prevented me from attending last nights executive board meeting. Because I have just received this information, I hope that you will bear with me for a few days while I read through it and determine what additional information may be required before I assemble an Ethics Committee and call a meeting. Additionally, we are a little crazy at work right now with new computer systems going up October 1st along with the end of the Federal Fiscal Year on Sept 30th. So please give me a couple of days to become familiar with the situation! I can personally assure you that there is no intent to sweep this complaint under the carpet, nor will it be swept under the carpet. I take any such formal complaint very seriously,
Thank you for your patience!
September 20th at 7:25a.m. from Benedict to McCord: “A few emailed last night abd said that…resigned last night. Still, I informed him 33 now 34 days ago, and the. VCs 4 weeks ago. I was not aware that Brian appointed a new Chair who was approved by the Board as well as Ethics Committee members. Since you are a State officer, are you able to serve as a local officer? Be as it may, the facts remain as do my previous comments. Thank you.
September 20th at 7:54a.m. from McCord to Benedict: “I was approved last night. I have not yet apptd committee and yes as a state officer I can also hold tHis office!
Sent from my…”
September 20th at 5:59p.m. a forward of McCord’s 7:54a.m. email from Benedict to Galeas, Kirkland, Bartley, Snelling, McGuire, and others: “Is what Debbie said correct? Since I was not there, I cannot state one way or the other. I will say that if she was indeed nominated and seconded and the Executive Board voted to make her Ethics Chair, then in my view a severe conflict of interest is present in that she is a GAGOP officer and a past Chair of CCGOP. Just my opinion…”
September 20th at 6:11p.m. from Galeas to Benedict and McCord: “Lee: Yes she was appointed last night.Debbie knows the rules better than any of us,but several officers hold county,state,and or district positions.It would serve all concerned best if you will allow the process to assume proper and deliberative course.”
September 20th at 6:40p.m. from Benedict to Galeas and McCord: “I know that she knows the rules. My question was not that of being appointed, but, after the Chair appointed her, was the motion made, with a second, with a vote following? Reason being, when Lawrence was Chair, soon after the complaints were filed, he went appointing people to the Ethics Committee and appointed those who side with him, to include his brother. The Chair can appoint committee chairs, but each must be presented to the EB for a vote of approval. Lawrence just put on his I’m the boss hat. Thus, I am just trying to ascertain if everything was done by the book; i.e., the Chair appoints someone, in this case Debbie, then her name is presented with a second followed by a vote. If approved, Debbie will seek committee members, and if their names are submitted to the EB for approval, I don’t know. Again, just checking since neither Debbie nor myself were present. Regarding, “It would serve all concerned best if you will allow the process to assume proper and deliberative course”, to that I will simply say that I submitted the complaint on August 17, 2011, to the Ethics Committee Chair, who, remained such until September 19, 2011. On August 22, 2011, I forwarded my communication of August 17, 2011 to the four Vice Chairmen and the At-Large District Chairman since your website does not have each district’s chair’s contact information. Dewey, you know I like you, but I have waited for 34 days, and from what I am hearing and have heard, nothing has been done and as an excuse for the delay, I have been told that the Ethics Chair resigned last night, 33 days after the complaint was submitted. In my opinion, five weeks is time enough to be given the time of day, which I was not given until I received Debbie’s email this morning. In short, the Columbia County Republican Party of Georgia’s Ethics Committee Chairman was sent the complaint on August 17th, and was in said position until September 19th, correct? The Columbia County Republican Party of Georgia’s four Vice Chairs and At-Large District Chairman was sent the complaint on August 22nd, correct? I believe that I have waited more than long enough. There is no excuse for such a lengthy delay, other than the CCRPoGA is trying to “wait me out”. If anything I stated above claiming to be factual is not true, please let me know. But I can prove and have proven that this began with two emails sent on August 17th, one email was returned, meaning, the other made it to the intended destination. I can prove that the emails were sent on August 22nd. I have been told that the Ethics Chairman resigned on September 19th. So why the delay?”
September 25th at 10:01p.m. from McCord to Benedict and Galeas: “Lee – We are in the process of assembling an Ethics Committee over the next several days. This requires a vote by the Executive Board to approve the members of the Ethics Committee. As the 1st Vice Chair, Dewey will be the one to request the meeting and present the names for the committee to the Board approval. Once this action has occurred, you will receive notification of the persons named to the committee. In order to prepare for and expedite the review process by the committee, would you please forward to me all emails between you & Mr Slowinski that are referenced in your complaint. It would be best if they were in pdf format if that is possible.
Again thank you for your patience in this matter.
Chairman, Ethics Committee
Columbia County Republican Party
(email address removed)
(cell number removed)
(office number removed)”
August 17th, Benedict submits an ethics complaint to the ethics committee chairman and its at-large district chairman (McGuire) because Benedict’s district chairman’s contact information was/is not on Slowinski’s website.
August 22nd, the complaint gets sent to all vice chairmen and McGuire because the ethics chairman did not acknowledge the complaint.
September 19th, Benedict has received no news, even after at least 2 meetings, so he sends the complaint to a majority of the executive board to include Slowinski.
September 20th, McCord contacts Benedict and tells him that she is the ethics chairman and will handle the complaint when she gets around to it due to her work schedule. Benedict questions if she was properly nominated and voted on, and asks if she is permitted to serve as a GAGOP and CCGOP officer. She emphatically states that she was approved and can serve at both state and local level. First vice chair (Galeas) urges Benedict to be patient and reinforces that McCord is the ethics chairman and knows the rules better than anyone.
September 20th, Benedict shows that the Mr. Nice Guy demeanor is about off. Just WAIT and see what’s coming in our next installment on this circus. Hint: McCord and Galeas get a dozen eggs on their faces, Benedict tells them what’s what, Slowinski…just check back in a few days, and for immediate update notices, sign up on our home page