Vandermeir addresses Conflict of Interest questions as Emails Promoting His Candidacy Emerge

DPOC Chair candidate Henry Vandermeir has been questioned repeatedly about what some say are a conflict of interest that would exist between his possible election as DPOC Chair and his role with the Democratic Foundation, that he sent an email to voting members of the DPOC.  That email is below along with two other emails urging his election.

Here’s the email from Vandermeir:

While I have tried to run my campaign for DPOC Chair based on my own merits and vision for the Party, it is clear that there are supporters on the other side who refuse to talk about issues and, instead, have attempted to make this race about  there being a ‘conflict of interest’ regarding my running for or being Chair of the DPOC due to my working for the Democratic Foundation. 

Anyone having worked extensively in politics is already aware that there is no legal conflict of interest between working for a PAC/candidate committee and/or other PACs or in this case, political parties.

 It’s unfortunate that no one felt the need to verify these allegations by contacting the Federal Elections Committee (FEC) before publicly attacking my judgment and ethics across the Internet. Since my word alone has not been enough to satisfy this issue, I called the FEC myself to obtain their official opinion on this matter.

 After explaining the situation and the allegations being made regarding fundraising and coordination, the FEC agent stated there is absolutely no conflict and said this is a common occurrence within the political arena and cited several examples:

 – Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schulz, Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), raises money and coordinates campaigns for her own campaign, other candidates as well as the DNC.

 – Congressman Steve Israel, Chair, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), raises money and coordinates campaigns for his own campaign, other candidates as well as the DCCC.

 – Sen. Michael Bennet, Chair, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), raises money and coordinates campaigns for his own campaign, other candidates as well as the DSCC.

 There are also many well-respected county chairs across California who currently work directly for an elected official, a Labor organization or a PAC.

The agent mentioned that many legislators hire lobbyists onto their campaigns or as staff and, as you know, those lobbyists have multiple clients/interests and raise money from and for a variety of candidates.

He further stated that anyone making claims of a conflict should cite the USC or CFR where this is supposedly stated.  He said they will not be able to because it simply does not exist.

He also suggested that those making the allegations should call the Office of the General Counsel (202-694-1650) and that they will also inform them there is no conflict of any kind. 

Anyone wanting to verify this for themselves can call the FEC at 800-242-9530 – press 6 to get the Information Department.

I have always believed that Democrats, unlike Republicans, will accept facts when they are presented to them. I hope I’m right.

If we all truly agree that we want a united central committee after this election, then I would hope everyone involved would focus this final week on discussing the merits of each candidate and what they uniquely would bring to the position of Chair rather than continue with these personal attacks on my ethics and judgment.

Democratically yours,

Henry Vandermeir


Vandermeir’s candidacy got some email plugs over the weekend too.  This one from Jesse Durfee, chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party:

To the Orange County Central Committee:

When I took over as Chair of the San Diego Democratic Party in 2004, our county was very similar to yours. Even though we had hundreds of thousands of registered Democrats, the number of locally elected officials did not represent that.  Through strategic planning and organizing, we’ve been able to build the infrastructure needed to help elect more Democrats at every level.

The job of a County Chair for the Democratic Party requires knowledge of the party structure, the ability to work with all factions of the party, and the tenacity to find the resources and tools required to elect more Democrats to office. 

Tomorrow evening, Orange County will select a new Democratic Party Chair. With Henry Vandermeir in that position, I feel confident that your county will be on track to become California’s next political powerhouse.

Over the past several years, I’ve worked directly with him through the California Democratic Council (CDC) as well as the California Democratic Party and have seen his energy, dedication and leadership up close. I’ve watched Henry rebuild the CDC and help clubs and county committees across the state become more successful.

I know that Henry will also have a strategic plan for Orange County and feel that his leadership, organizing and communication skills are exactly what DPOC needs from its next Chair.

There’s a lot of work to be done but I have no doubt that Henry will roll up his sleeves on Day 1 to make sure that Orange County moves closer to the blue column.

And this email from Joe Kerr, of the OC Firefighters Association:

Dear Central Committee Members,

As President Emeritus, Orange County Professional Firefighters Assoc., I’ve had many years of experience running a large political organization with a diverse group of members.  Tonight we will be electing a new chair to take our Party forward.   We have two great candidates with different skill sets and experience.  However, after careful evaluation and consideration, I’ve decided to support Henry Vandermeir for Chair.

This has not been an easy decision given the quality of the candidates, but in the end, I feel that Henry’s political skills and leadership experience are more suited for this particular position.  The Chair of the Party will be responsible for electing Democrats to office and will need the organizing, grassroots, campaign and state-wide leadership experience that Henry brings to the table.  I’m impressed with his detailed vision of how we can turn this county from red to blue, and believe in his ability to work with everyone and garner the resources necessary to accomplish our common goals.

We will all need to work hard together to elect good Democrats and I look forward to working with Henry and all of you in that endeavor.


Joe Kerr, President Emeritus, Orange County Professional Firefighters Assoc.

As I’ve said before, we have two exceptional candidates for DPOC Chair.  Regardless of which one wins, the Party members and Democrats throughout OC are best served by uniting behind the winner and moving this party forward.

  2 comments for “Vandermeir addresses Conflict of Interest questions as Emails Promoting His Candidacy Emerge

  1. Sal Sapien
    January 15, 2013 at 7:50 am

    Now that the election is over I hope we all can pull toghether and advance our partie’s goals!

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