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Campaign Gatekeeping 101 in the DC mayoral race – Update

11 Sep
I did a little more investigation of the people behind one of the two larger debates I am being excluded from (I am invited to almost all of the smaller and medium sized ones).

Yesterday I had an odd exchange with one Debra Linick, the outgoing PR person for the debate sponsor, the Jewish Community Relations Council of the DC metro area.  Ms. Linick told me they only invited candidates who had raised at least 10% of the amount raised by the frontrunner, Muriel Bowser.  Boswer, like most Democrats in DC, has raised hundreds of thousands in corporate and union PAC donations.  (For example, DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who sits on Congressional Committees that sell and lease federally owned buildings and parcels in DC, routinely collects $400,000 every election cycle from real estate developers and building trades unions as well as government employee unions, even though she is often running unopposed.  No DC journalists ever investigate this, just as they never noticed any DC corruption until independent citizens like Tim Day brought it to light.)

The problem for Ms. Linick, who tells me she is going to “relook” her math, is that they are inviting (my friend) Carol Schwartz (an independent candidate who is a former Republican city council member).  Ms. Schwartz has raised around $70,000, around 3% of the $2.1 million Bowser has raised.  In looking into who Ms. Linick and various other people running the JCRC were yesterday. I see that she and I were both students at Georgetown University’s MBA program, overlapping, in the early 90s.  GU’s program is very light on math – and very heavy on ethics! – but even the students there know that $65,000 is not 10% of $2.1 million.  I will be curious to see if Ms. Linick is as good as her word, despite her computational deficiencies.

Then I began looking at the board of the JCRC.  Of the few I have looked at so far are seasoned citizens (see below) and often don’t seem to be still gainfully employed or to have much of an internet footprint.  They also seem to be fairly partisan, mainly Democrats (though one has some John Boehner connection).  They seem like a group that would be naturally inclined to protect the Democrat’s one party rule in DC, and certainly a group that would protect the two party monopoly.  (A Jewish libertarian friend, who alerted me to their forum in the first place, says that when he moved here he went to some of their events, and also came away with the impression that they were mainly Democratic party partisans, with few independents or others, and mainly older than people in similar organizations.)  It’s sad that there are virtually no independent organizations in DC (as well as none that represent tax payers, people victimized by the drug war, students unserved by DC’s failed schools, etc.)

Joseph Sandler, of Sandler and Reiff, getting his partisanship on

One of the people I looked at was the chair of the JCRC, Joseph Sandler.  Who is he?  A long term lawyer for the Democratic National Committee. (From his Wiki:  “Joseph Sandler is a Washington, D.C. attorney who served as in-house general counsel for the Democratic National Committee from 1993 to 1998 and continued in this role at his firm Sandler, Reiff & Young through 2009. He now serves as an adviser to prominent Democrats, state parties, and progressive organizations, such as Moveon.org.”)

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Linick, Debra
Date: Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Subject: Mayoral forum
To: Bruce Majors

Bruce, thanks for your response. I will need to relook my math on the below. As regards the literature, it can be brought to Sixth & I the day of the event. If someone wishes to drop it off earlier, please let me know so I can provide a heads up to my colleague there, Lisa Yochelson, who would be able to hold onto it until we can display it.

From: Bruce Majors [mailto:majors.bruce@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 2014 3:11 PM
To: Linick, Debra
Subject: Re: Mayoral forum

I do have two questions though:

1) Where should I bring the literature and when?

2) According to the August 12 campaign reports I see online with the Office of Campaign Finance, my friend Carol Schwartz has raised a total of $65,000 which is over 1% but much less than 10% of the over $2 million dollars raised by front runner Muriel Bowser. (Ten percent of $2.1 million would be $210,000.)

So to be able to formulate a rationale by which you exclude me and continue to invite Ms. Schwartz, you will need to tell everyone that your rule is that all candidates must have raised 1% or 2% of the amount raised by the front runner. Is that what you meant to write?

On Wednesday, September 10, 2014, Linick, Debra wrote:

Mr. Majors, thank you for getting in touch with the JCRC about our upcoming forum. The JCRC invites all candidates who have secured at least 10% of the funding of the front runner candidate in a given race in financial reports current at the time of our invitations. Although this does exclude some individuals from speaking roles, we do welcome all candidates to provide written material that we encourage audience members to review and take before or after the program. We allow two separate items per campaign to be displayed. We do not allow soliciting on the premises at Sixth and I, however campaigns have often had a presence on the public sidewalks outside of Sixth and I were our line of attendees forms. I hope that these opportunities might be of interest to you and thank you once again for reaching out to JCRC.

Debra Gold Linick
Director for DC & Northern Virginia
703-893-4007 / 202-552-5355
dlinick@jcouncil.org

About the Jewish Community Relations Council
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC) is the public affairs and community relations arm of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington representing over 100 Jewish organizations and synagogues throughout DC, Maryland, and Virginia. The JCRC focuses on government relations, Israel advocacy, inter-group relations, and social justice.

6101 Montrose Road, Suite 205│Rockville, MD 20852│Tel. 301-770-0881│Fax. 301-770-7553│www.jcouncil.org
Virginia Office: c/o JCCNV, 8900 Little River Turnpike, Fairfax, VA22031-3123│Tel. 703-893-4007│ Fax 703-323-1993
DC Office: 1720 Eye Street, NW Suite 800, Washington, DC 20006│Tel. 202-552-5355

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From: Bruce Majors [mailto:majors.bruce@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2014 9:58 AM
To: Linick, Debra
Subject: Mayoral forum

I am available should you decide to be ńonpartisan in your debate format.

I spoke last night at the Capitol Hill Arts Center mayoral forum, as I had earlier before the National Capitol Area ACLU and other forums, and I think it was viewed as a positive addition.

Bruce Majors

202 704 6401


JCRC:

header_leadership

 Executive Committee

President
Joseph Sandler
Vice PresidentCookie Hymer Blitz
Vice PresidentMichael Friedman
 Vice President
Erwin Groner
TreasurerBarbara Zakheim
Financial SecretarySam Kaplan
Recording Secretary
Miriam Galston
Executive Director
Ronald Halber


Board of Directors

Ira Bartfield
Rabbi Stephanie Bernstein
Bob Budoff
Jerome Chapman
Andrew Cooper
Behnam Dayanim
Alyssa Dortort
Jack Edlow
Anita Epstein
Robert Epstein
Debra Feuer
Judith Flippen-Anderson
Mennachem Gottlieb
Ralph Grunewald
Peter Haas
Sheldon Klein
Edward Kopf
Julie Krachman
Rebecca Krasnegor
Alyza Lewin
Lucky Malamut
Gerson Panitch
Orlee Panitch
Ronald Paul, M.D.
Rabbi Mindy Portnoy
Thorn Pozen
Daniel Prywes
Edward Rehfeld
Joan Sacarob
Rabbi Arnold Saltzman
Frederick Shapiro
Irving Shapiro
Michael Eric Siegel
Gerald Sommer
Steven David Stone
Stuart Tauber
Susan Turnbull
Irving Varkonyi
Eugene Youngentob 


Past Presidents

Douglas Bloomfield
Stephen N. Gell
Ronald Glancz
Norman Goldstein
Sophie R. Hoffman
Helen Karpa
Hon. Peter B. Krauser
Nathan Lewin
Rabbi Jack Luxemburg
Harvey Reiter
Elaine Senter
Jack A. Serber
Bert A. Silver
Andy Stern
Marcia Weinberg
Susan Weinberg