Friday, April 28, 2017

What is the "Virginia Freedom Caucus"?

What is the “Virginia Freedom Caucus”?

Do you ever sit back and watch events around you and think to yourself, from where did this all originate?  No, I’m not talking in the existential, metaphysical sense, simply in the microcosm of things and stuff we are exposed to in our daily lives.  Well, I’m inquisitive by nature, so I do it all the time.  Being inquisitive by nature, I want to seek answers to my questions.  Enter: The Virginia Freedom Caucus.

Have you heard of the Virginia Freedom Caucus or VFC?  It seems to be more active on Facebook than anywhere else, operating a closed group, whose members frequently post blogs (such as this one, before I was banned by the moderator), articles, questions, polls, endorsements of candidates, etc.  It is a decidedly conservative group with sometimes unreasonable people dubbing fellow conservatives “cuckservatives” or “liberals” for disagreeing with them.  The VFC has been in operation less than 1 year.

But who is behind the VFC?  The VFC is not a PAC and I can find nowhere they have made political contributions as an entity.  A quick check of their website domain address reveals nothing as it is concealed.  However, the website makes several claims, including that they are a 501(c)(4) not for profit organization.  All such organizations need to be registered with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) and the IRS.  Here is what is revealed when the registration for the VFC is researched on the SCC website”


As mentioned in a previous article on this blog, Ms. Woods is a conservative activist and staffer for would-be gubernatorial candidate, Corey Stewart.  That fact is validated by VPAP:


The VFC website also openly solicits for monetary donations.  For your convenience, they accept checks, but they state the donations are NOT tax deductible.  Curious…


The address listed in Fredericksburg is the United States Postal Service local branch. 
So what does the VFC do with your donations?  Good question!  According to the IRS (and yes, I know we all loathe the IRS, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist), the parameters for operating a tax-exempt, not-for-profit 501(c)(4) or “social welfare organization” are as follows (highlighted portions are important):


So let’s summarize:  The VFC is a corporation owned by a documented paid staffer for Corey Stewart.  According to the IRS, the VFC cannot directly or indirectly be involved on behalf of or in opposition of any candidate for office.  Ms. Woods owns the VFC, which openly supports Corey Stewart on the VFC web page, Facebook page and other online outlets.  Here are 5 examples in just the first 3 pages of the VFC blog page:


For the record, there don’t appear to be any articles in support of either Ed Gillespie or Frank Wagner for Governor, nor are there any articles supporting Bryce Reeves or Glenn Davis (or any Democrats) for Lieutenant Governor, but there are articles endorsing Jill Vogel.  It would seem the very one-sided support of the VFC is in violation of the IRS guidelines for such organizations.

Furthermore, several contributors, including myself, have been banned from the VFC Facebook page by the moderator(s), of which Ms. Woods is one.  The reason for these bans?  We routinely speak out about our disdain for her boss, Corey Stewart.  That is also a clear violation of the IRS guidelines for social welfare organizations.  Mind you, I don’t care that I’ve been banned.  I just think it’s interesting to note that it's not just disagreeing opinions, there's actually a violation of the law on the part of the VFC page moderator.

So if you choose to donate to the VFC, where does your money go?  The somewhat hidden “Disclaimers” page on the VFC website states, in part, the following:


Again, they would appear to be in clear violation of IRS regulations for such entities.  Furthermore, if the owner of the VFC is a paid Stewart staffer, doesn't that mean she in fact is receiving a financial contribution?

More questions for the VFC:
  • Who is on the VFC Board of Directors and how is the Board elected or appointed?
  • Who manages the money/donations made to the VFC and where that money is expended?
  • Who decides which candidate(s) the VFC endorses or supports?
  • Does Waverly Woods use VFC donations to support the candidates she chooses are worthy of that support?
  • Does Ms. Woods receive payment from the Stewart campaign directly related to her affiliation with the Virginia Freedom Caucus?

Some people affiliated (and not affiliated) with the VFC like to dub certain candidates with whom they do not agree “squishy”.  Well, I dub the VFC “squishy”.  It appears to function in violation of the IRS guidelines for social welfare organizations and I can find no documentation of accountability in funds or decision making, and they pay no taxes on any of the donations they receive.  To be honest, this whole thing sounds like a money-making scheme to me… and it stinks. 

As a final note, if you’d like to complain to the IRS about the Virginia Freedom Caucus’ clear violations of the tax code, you may use this link

Cheers!

UPDATE: As I generally appreciate it when a solution is proposed along with a problem (or in this case an answer posed with regard to many questions), I would be remiss if I didn't point out that there are actually legitimate members of the Freedom Caucus in Virginia.  They would likely appreciate your donation and it would go directly toward furthering the goals of the Freedom Caucus, instead of whatever agenda the business entity cited in this article may choose.  
Here are the contact and donation addresses for each of the Freedom Caucus members in Virginia:

Tom Garrett for Congress (VA-5)
P.O. Box 209
Ruckersville, VA  22968

Friends of Dave Brat, Inc. (VA-7)
P.O. Box 5094
Glen Allen, VA 23058-5094

Morgan Griffith for Congress (VA-9)
P.O. Box 361
Christiansburg, VA  24068

And even if you don't live in the 5th, 7th or 9th districts, I'm sure each of these members would appreciate a donation in support of their efforts.  And no, I don't work for any one of these campaigns. :)

Cheers again!

-O’Hanrahan
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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Stewart Staffer Dubs Law Enforcement Supporter(s) “Racist” In Online Statement

Stewart Staffer Dubs Law Enforcement Supporter(s) “Racist” In Online Statement

Does Corey Stewart know who he hires and why, or does he just throw campaign money at whomever he feels will be as outrageous and incendiary as he is?

In response to an online debate on the Virginia Freedom Caucus (VFC) Facebook page on 
April 8th, paid Stewart staffer and VFC Facebook page administrator, Waverly Woods dubbed this blogger “racist” and a supporter of slavery for displaying pictures of.... get ready for this one…

A Thin Blue Line American flag, which is to show support of law enforcement around the country, and a portrait of Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendering to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse (which coincidentally took place 152 years ago today), which were previously displayed on this blogger’s personal Facebook pages as cover photos.  Check out the post for yourself:


Feel free to read the entire post thread here.

While the online quips and comments between Ms. Woods and I have been many since the publication of two blogs here and here which detail her boss, Corey Stewart’s, inconsistencies and bombastic statements, the obvious personal attack was likely to be expected.  The context of this post is somewhat relevant and if you care, I would encourage you to hop on over to the VFC Facebook page to read multiple threads in relation to Mr. Stewart’s attendance and posting of a live video at a Confederate rally in Southwest Virginia recently.

However, as a paid online spokesperson for the Corey Stewart for Governor campaign, one would think Waverly Woods would have more sense than to blatantly insult law enforcement officers all over the Commonwealth and their supporters as “racist” on behalf of her Candidate for displaying that support, especially given that her questionable involvement has already landed her under subpoena in the ongoing Vogel-Reeves debacle.  Being that she is a formal representative of the Stewart campaign and no retraction, clarification or apology of these libelous and insulting comments has been issued, one can only reach the conclusion that this is the stance of the entire Corey Stewart campaign. 

As detailed here, I travel all over the country teaching police officers and soldiers how to better respond in critical situations to help people, so I see first-hand the dedication and sacrifice these men and women put forth to protect all of us when it matters most.  As such, I would encourage all law enforcement officers across the Commonwealth and their supporters to abandon support of Corey Stewart because of this statement from his campaign staff.    

-O’Hanrahan

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Corey Stewart: Smoke & Mirrors (or maybe just more lies)

Corey Stewart: Smoke & Mirrors (or maybe just more lies)

I’m not a fan of Corey Stewart, as this previous blog details.  But aside from the skin crawl and raw vitriol I feel when I hear his Minnesota-turned-Virginia accent pander to this lunatic fringe group or that one, I have a hard time putting my finger on some facts that make me dislike him so much.  It’s definitely more of a gut instinct than a fact-based intuition.  So what does someone like me do to balance out the emotion and facts?  I find some facts.

Mr. Stewart hails from the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, Minnesota.  As such, he attended schools in Minnesota and was apparently admitted to the Minnesota Bar at one point.  As was detailed on the Virginia Freedom Caucus Facebook page a few weeks ago, his status with the Minnesota Bar is not quite on the up-and-up, however.  As you can see, according to the Minnesota Judicial Branch, Mr. Stewart is not in good standing with the Minnesota Bar for failure to pay dues and he is “involuntarily restricted by court order” (whatever that means, but it doesn’t sound good):



Also, according to the Minnesota Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, Corey Stewart is NOT AUTHORIZED to practice law in the State of Minnesota:


“But O’Hanrahan”, you ask, “Corey’s Firm is based in Washington, DC!  It says so right on his website!”
Yes, according to this link to Stewart PLLC, the firm is based at 1250 Connecticut Ave., Ste. 200, Washington, DC.  Corey Stewart’s bio on the firm’s website also states “He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and is also admitted to practice in Minnesota.”  See for yourself:


But according to the State of Minnesota he is “not authorized to practice”.  Now, any good attorney (and several Corey sycophants) will note that “admitted to practice” and “authorized to practice” are not the same thing.  Fair enough.  But my personal opinion about this is, he’s lying.  I know, don’t act so shocked!

Further inspection of Mr. Stewart and his firm reveals some interesting facts.  He is admitted to the DC Bar as discovered through a search, but not The Virginia Bar.  




However, his firm is registered in Virginia through the Virginia State Corporation Commission:


It is not unusual for certain business entities to have a registered agent in multiple locations.  This is done with Google, for example, because they operate globally and receive lots of legal requests in multiple states.  Stewart PLLC is not Google.  But surely there must be a record of Mr. Stewart’s business in Washington, DC, right?  Well, not so fast.  A quick check of the DC Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs for the address of 1250 Connecticut Ave., NW, Ste. 200 reveals many (no less than eight) businesses registered to that address.  Unfortunately for Corey, Stewart PLLC is not one of them:


A quick check on Google Maps street view reveals that this is a non-descript, run of the mill, Washington, DC Building. 

This smells remarkably familiar, doesn’t it?  Wasn’t there another bombastic alt-right-esque Yankee vying for the Republican nomination forthe 5th District Congressional seat last year that employed a similar business tactic?  Is this chapter 3 in “Sleazy Business Practices for Dummies”?  Unfortunately, I don’t really have the time to visit 1250 Connecticut Ave. in DC right now, but if I find myself there some time in between now and June, I’ll definitely check it out!

Oh, wait.  I don’t have to…


Caption: Corey Stewart pays $75.00 per month for shell corporation

So let’s see.  Corey has misled (at best) or lied (at worst) about his status with the Minnesota bar.  He has a business registered in Virginia with a primary office location listed in DC, but DC doesn’t have a record of his business being operated out of the “principal office” location in DC, so is the business operated out of DC or out of Virginia?  If it’s operated out of Virginia, should he not be admitted to the Bar in Virginia?  And if it’s operated out of DC, as his firm’s website and the Virginia SCC indicates, shouldn’t it be registered in DC and pay the requisite fees, etc. to operate in DC?

“So what’s your point, O’Hanrahan?”  My point is, Corey Stewart stinks.  I haven’t found where the proverbial pile of shit is hidden yet, but all of this information leads me to believe that there’s one (or more) stinky piles to be found.  Combine that with his overly incendiary speech and calling campaign plays from the alt-right playbook, I want nothing to do with this guy.  I posted online earlier today that if Corey Stewart is the nominee, I won’t vote for him.  I’d sooner abstain from voting on that particular part of the ballot than vote for him.  Yes, I know what that means and yes, I know the possible consequences of that decision, but for the sake of the Commonwealth, I hope none of us have to be put in that position.  Because the bottom line is, he can’t win anyway, so what’s the point?  At least Gillespie has a fighting chance.

Do ya miss Denver Riggleman yet?

-O’Hanrahan

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