While I’m getting so much love from the SEC (North Carolina Democratic Party) this morning, we should get some more information out there. Most Dems know some of this story, but let’s put the pieces together.
STOP: Some of the information in this report contains information during the time Mr. Perry Woods worked/consulted with and around the NCDP. Mr. Woods has commented on Facebook to refute certain aspects of this report. I have added his comments at the bottom of the post for clarity
Report on use of Lexis-Nexis Account for Democratic Party to Investigate Candidates for NC Democratic Party Offices in 2012 and 2013
August 17, 2013
To: NCDP Chair Randy Voller:
This is a look into the issue of the use of the Lexis-Nexis capability that the NCDP reacquired in February of 2012 and discounted by a program supported by the DNC. The investigation looked into persons attempting to use data obtained by the use of the party’s account to influence the February 2, 2013 officer elections and was requested by Chair Randy Voller after the discovery of the account and the searches run on the account. On February 2, 2012, the NC Democratic Party, at its State Executive Committee meeting in Durham, NC elected the following officers:
-Chair Randy Voller 3rd Vice Chair Andy Ball
-1st Vice Chair Nina Szlosberg-Landis Secretary Melvin Williams
-2nd Vice Chair Zack Hawkins Treasurer Muriel Offerman
Bob Etheridge was offered as a candidate after Eric Mansfield dropped out of the race for Chair and Mayor Chris Rey briefly flirted with a run for the position. Gwen Wilkins, seeking to continue as 1st Vice Chair from the previous term, lost to Nina Szlosberg-Landis.
After the election, a group, including several officers along with others, and some Young Democrats, for six months directly and repeated challenged Randy Voller as Chair, conducting a public campaign intended to make Chair Voller to resign, including continual personal, professional and political attacks in the public media and in party communications. This group disrupted the State Executive Council meeting on April 28, 2013 at the Goodwin House.
The subsequent submission of a spurious grievance against Chair Voller under the Plan of Organization, to Nina Szlosberg-Landis as 1st VC, by John Burns, Greg Flynn and Montica Talmadge and Treva Johnson seriously damaged Party unity and created a media firestorm.
This activity was kept in the public media by videos and Twitter actions by Frank Eaton and his firm Bully Documentary, Inc. The attacks on Voller were a continuation of the attacks on ex-Chair, David Parker, in Spring 2012 – ironically some of the same people were involved, including consultants and some of the YDs.
It is pertinent to note that in December 2011, Chair Parker dismissed Brad Crone and Perry Woods, consultants for NCDP and the legislative caucuses for various causes. It is suspected they were instrumental in the later attacks on Parker April and May of 2012.
In 2013, Frank Eaton, who had worked for the NCDP in 2011 and 2012 as a videographer, posted defamatory public videos accusing Chair Voller of malfeasance in office as well as personal sins and errors-all untrue.
This information is essential to put the following into some context regarding use of NCDP Lexis-Nexis capabilities to look for information concerning candidates for chair and 1st VC.
In March of 2013 it came to the attention of Chair Voller that someone had used the Lexis-Nexis account owned by NCDP in January to investigate (by reviewing statements from Lexis-Nexis):
-In January 2013 Randy Voller, candidate for Chair, twice
-In January 2013 Gwen Wilkins, candidate for 1st VC and sitting officer, once
-In January 2013 Jeff Starkweather of Pittboro, not a candidate, once
-In March 2012 Linda Coleman, candidate for Lt. Governor against Eric Mansfield, once
-In April 2012 Gwen Wilkins, 1st VC and sitting officer, once
On Thursday, March 21, at the law offices of Russell Goetcheus & Associates, P.C., Kathie Russell and John Wallace (Wallace and Nordan, LLP) interviewed Daniel Gilligan, formerly an independent contractor to the North Carolina Democratic Party, with regard to the use of the Lexis-Nexis account to track Randy Voller in January 2013. Tammy Brunner, the previous Executive Director, was responsible for hiring, managing and monitoring Daniel Gilligan. (Note the 2012 Lexis-Nexis searches on Linda Coleman and Gwen Wilkins occurred during the primary against Eric Mansfield prior to Brunner’s assumption of office.)
Political Consultant Perry Woods, in March of 2013 visited Casey Mann, State Director, NCDP and told her that he had gotten Gilligan to do at least the Voller, Wilkins and Starkweather searches and delivered the results to Nation Hahn, a consultant and campaign manager for Nina Szlosberg-Landis, prior to the February 2, 2013 party officer elections and a member of the media.
This was verified by William Franklin in a telephone discussion with Perry Wood in late June-early July of 2013. Further review of the records from Lexis-Nexis revealed a much earlier search for Linda Coleman when she was in a primary against Eric Mansfield. Nation Hahn was also Mansfield’s campaign manager for both his run against Coleman and for NCDP chair. And Gilligan had worked for Mansfield. (No one has interviewed Nation Hahn.)
Although Randy Voller had previously (in January 2013) announced that he had tax issues substantially stemming from helping his now deceased father and family and noted on his website, the Mansfield-Etheridge camp used that in public media against Voller, and the insurgent group used it to attack him for months subsequent to his election.
These Lexis-Nexis reports may have also influenced the election of 1st Vice Chair as the reports were used against Gwen Wilkins and were likely the source of information circulated about Gwen Wilkins in April of 2012 when the pressure was mounting against former Chair David Parker and the special meeting was called for May 12, 2012 in Greensboro.
The following is clear:
-Daniel Gilligan was hired by Tammy Brunner and given full access to the NCDP Lexis-
Nexis account in 2012, however it is not clear she agreed with or ordered the searches in question. However, he was paid by the NCDP.
-Perry Woods asked Daniel Gilligan to perform searches in Lexis-Nexis on Voller,
Wilkins and Starkweather and delivered the results in late January to Woods, who gave
them to Nation Hahn. No one has accepted responsibility for searches against Linda
Coleman; although Nation Hahn was Mansfield’s campaign manager at that time.
(The complete records were requested by Chair Voller and are available for review.)
-Nation Hahn received the reports and apparently used them in the campaigns of Mansfield, Etheridge and Szlosberg-Landis against Voller and Wilkins to affect the elections either with or without their (Mansfield’s, Szlosberg-Landis’ or Etheridge’s) knowledge.
-Goodwin House was not managed well in 2011 and 2012 and Chairman Parker and
Voller were not kept informed by the interim Executive Director Brunner, who was placed in a very difficult situation. (And who may have been in the dark on a number of these issues or clearly not completely informed.)
-Only NCDP staff should direct the actions of contract employees and should have clear
guidelines about use of resources. The NCDP was apparently mismanaged by people who allowed access to Goodwin House, including contractors working with the NCDP or other candidates, on a random basis.
-This set of incidents caused deep mistrust of the group of disaffected persons, including
three officers by Chair Voller and others. Repeated efforts by Chair Voller to create
comity and unity were met with hostility and further attacks. This seriously and
adversely affected the morale of the Democratic Party and its ability to counter
Republicans. It split the NCDP.
-There was little to no accountability. NCDP ED and staff, worked in coordination with
the disaffected (those opposed to Randy Voller being Chair) to impede the efficient
and effective transition from Chair David Parker to Chair Randy Voller, not providing
information as requested or on a timely basis, sabotaging efforts to communicate, and taking input for others beside the chair and/or interim Executive Director.
The NCDP, the media and its members can be unduly influenced by outside contractors and/or consultants who have incentives other than political (i.e. financial) to achieve goals that may not be mutually beneficial. (See consultant Brad Crone’s recent attacks of former Governor Bev Perdue and State Chair Randy Voller as well as Perry Woods’ continual attempts to undermine Chair Voller and former Chair Parker.)
This report was requested by several people affected by the misuse of this Party resource including former 1st VC Gwen Wilkins.
The letter from John Wallace and Kathie Russell concerning their interview of Daniel Gilligan, the contractor who got tasking from and delivered information to Perry Woods, a contractor, is attached to this report.
With input from the State Executive Council in March, Chairman Randy Voller set up an Internal Committee for Best Practices and Management to review this situation and other issues in order to create a better foundation for the NCDP. Chairman Voller subsequently requested this report.
William A. Franklin
William A. Franklin
Internal Review and Best Practices
NC Democratic Party
NCDP Report: Interview of Daniel Gilligan Regarding Lexis-Nexis Account
March 21, 2013
On Thursday, March 21, at the law offices of Russell Goetcheus & Associates, P.C., Kathie Russell and I interviewed Daniel Gilligan, formerly an independent contractor to the North Carolina Democratic Party, with regard to the use of the Lexis-Nexis account. The interview established the following:
Over a period of time, Mr. Gilligan had provided research services to the Dalton Committee, the Perdue Committee, and the North Carolina Democratic Party. In each of the positions, he had access to a Lexis-Nexis account, which he utilized from a computer in his home office. The Lexis-Nexis account apparently belonged originally to the Perdue Committee, but was, by January 2013, an account of the North Carolina Democratic Party.
Mr. Gilligan indicated that he was hired by Tammy Brunner to work for the Party to assist Clay Pittman with communications, because Mr. Pittman was relatively inexperienced, and because Mr. Gilligan had a substantial knowledge of the McCrory record by virtue of his service to the Dalton Committee.
Mr. Gilligan was hired by Ms. Brunner on or about January 27, 2013, at the rate of $2,000 per month.
Mr. Gilligan was asked as to whether he had conducted research regarding Randy Voller and/or Gwen Wilkins, and acknowledged having conducted such research. He was asked as to whether he was directed to do so by Ms. Brunner, and indicated that she had not requested that research nor was she aware of it. He was asked who, if anyone, had requested that research, and he acknowledged that someone else had requested that research but declined to acknowledge the identity of such person.
Further, Mr. Gilligan stated that he had conducted research regarding Linda Coleman. He expressed the belief that as a researcher, it was necessary to “know your own people.” He did not, however, research Eric Mansfield, because he felt he had all the information he needed with respect to Mr. Mansfield from earlier searches. Mr. Gilligan did not know why candidates other than those mentioned above were not researched.
At the conclusion of the interview, Mr. Gilligan gave notice of the termination of his service to the Party effective March 28, 2013.
John R. Wallace /s/ Kathie Russell /s/
WALLACE & NORDAN, LLP RUSSELL GOETCHEUS & ASSOCIATES, P.C.
Below are the Facebook comments re: Perry Wood
Perry K. Woods George Fisher. You are jumping the shark by publishing made up stuff and officially are becoming a #tool. STOP! 1.) I never had a Consulting contract with Caucuses or NCDP. David Parker never fired me, ended my contract, or dismissed me from the NCDP in any way. Although the Caucuses had vendor consultants, I have never known the NCDP to have General Consultants until Chairman Voller gave one a $6K/month contract without EC approval. His War on Consultants was something else Parker made up to whip up support. I did work for the Senate Caucus in 2006, but that job ended, and I went on to other opportunities. You post is damaging to my reputation, defamatory an libelous. I demand you correct it immediately.
Perry K. Woods I did come out early and Call for David Parker to resign because he either covered up sexual harassment, or committed awful political malpractice by signing a non-disclosure agreement and keeping the ED. Either he was lying or Sallie Leslie was. Despite he 18 years of service she was attacked viciously. The Governor, the entire Council of State, and the Gubernatorial nominee also asked Chairman Parker to resign. That disastrous Press Conference was reason enough for him to do so. He said he would, and we made the mistake of taking him at his word. Never in the history of the NCDP had an SEC meeting been called to accept a resignation, and there certainly have been many a County Chair resignation without a meeting of their CEC’s to accept it since. For the good of the Party, those of who thought David should step down stopped attacking him, and went about finding a replacement Chair. The night before that SEC meeting David told the Lt. Gov. and the White House he was going to have dog and pony vote, then step aside anyway. That morning SEC members were greeted with with pamphlet that detailed a made up conspiracy theory that David and many of the same folks filling your ear and comments now that the Consultants and the Council of State was trying to oust Parker over the check off money. They were particularly vicious in going after Elaine Marshall, and Janet Cowell. Well, at the end of the day, after a stem winder speech, and closing any debate before the vote, David came down, and said, “you crazy people, I accept. Thus the death of NCDP as a functioning political organization.
Perry K. Woods I said nothing until after the election, and then helped Eric Mansfield because I feared Parker would run again, and I was on the anyone but Parker band wagon. During that time, Randy’s campaign and some of the same people began attacking Eric, so I asked Daniel to check into it. I did not know he was using party account. He did in essence doing work for the Dalton campaign. in less than 15 minutes, he did come back with the tax lien stuff. I shared it with Nation and Bob Geary. Bob wrote about it. Then Randy explained it, and he got elected. Great. If I was at that SEC meeting (I went to a funeral instead) I would have voted for Randy. When press brought tax liens 4 months later, I publicly supported Randy, and chastised them for reporting old news.
George Fisher Perry K. Woods I’m not jumping the shark, the report isn’t mine. The report is from Internal Review and Best Practices. This information is already circulating (has been since it was published) and I’m tired of the swirling rumors and the information not being necessairly available to you to refute in a logical open environment.
Perry K. Woods So you are saying that is a party report that says David Parker fired me? Regardless, it is false and libelous and you are re-publishing it. I demand a correction.
Perry K. Woods Continuing this story for last time since you brought me into it, I went to Casey said hey, I’m who asked for NCEC report, be mad at me. You guys won and should let this go. Instead, they get going on what was little more than a witch hunt. It has been their MO since. Demand unity and then attack anyone who raises questions. I’ve not been publicly beating up the NCDP before the election. I did oppose Ben Chavis as ED because that is a administrative position that he had proven himself ill equipped to do. I would urge him to consider running for Chair which would be more appropriate, but he is registered to vote in New Jersey. I did say after that incident Chairman Voller should consider resigning, and that he apparently did not understand being Chair gives you no power, on the ability to help democrats attain power..
George Fisher If you would like to send me a correction statement, I will put it under the document and give you all of the available space you need to refute, line by line, if necessary.
Perry K. Woods I want you to remove this false statement. “It is pertinent to note that in December 2011, Chair Parker dismissed Brad Crone and Perry Woods, consultants for NCDP and the legislative caucuses for various causes.” You can use my first comment here refuting it in your blog post if you wish.
George Fisher I’ll post all your comments on there if you’d like.
Perry K. Woods In conclusion George, by tool, I mean by attacking Patsy you are continue the same pattern executed by your buddies Bill and Chris there spewing made up conspiracy theories and continuing a long silly war on electeds, consultants, country club dems or whatever else they call us. I’m not a county club dem and their actions are hardly progressive, particularly when it comes for their penchant of attacking women. If you have a good idea for Chair, let’s here it. I just want a functioning NCDP that at first, does not harm, gets us good data, and serves as a unifying not dividing force among Democrats. I do not want, nor would I accept being ED as has been implied.
Perry K. Woods Feel free to post my comments, but I still want the offending false statement removed. If you want to say I was an early opponent of Parker, fine, but it had nothing to do with my pocketbook. .
George Fisher 1. I have never called you a country-club dem. 2. I’m not attacking Patsy, but from here I sit she isn’t right for the Chair in light of recent events. East of Raleigh and I-40 south will be neglicted. 3. Bill who? 4. The document you’re fussing about was published last year in light of 2012 election. (Another wonderful election cycle for us). 5. For the past two years–on and off, we’ve talked about this issue on Facebook. My posting it on the blog is an effort to present the chronological order of things and references, giving the actual report as guide. 6. I will be happy to copy your comments (and anything else you might want to add) –give you the chance to go line by line and refute, at will, any and everything the report says. 7. Per the comment above, I will post those comments.