Political Consulting: A Misleading Trend - And Response

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
As a former chair of the Hamilton County Republican Party, I’m concerned about recent tactics by paid political consultants in Chattanooga. An election should be the choice of an informed public and, yes, candidates are free to spend campaign funds to inform the people. Paid political consultants in this town are selling themselves and promoting candidates for their own financial gain.

In this current election, Pamela Fleenor’s paid political consultant is Robin Smith. Ms. Smith submitted a “letter of support” for Ms. Fleenor to the Chattanoogan. Seeking to disguise her letter as genuine support from a private citizen, nowhere in this letter did Ms. Smith disclose that she is Ms. Fleenor’s paid advisor.

It’s also important to note that the campaign posted a Facebook picture of Ms. Smith with Ms. Fleenor captioned, “Great to run into my good friend Robin Smith,”. This  is equally misleading. As Ms. Fleenor’s consultant, Ms. Smith and her partner Albert Waterhouse are paid to attend such events. There is no surprise there.

Now, I see that Ms. Smith has openly solicited party faithful through the use of our headquarter's email list to plug Ms Fleenor as "prepared" to serve.  As the pockets of Smith/Waterhouse get fuller, the more bold Robin becomes.

I support any citizen’s right to recommend a candidate to the voters, but if that opinion is bought, then that financial relationship should be disclosed.

Let me say that Kathy and I support Joe Manuel for Chancellor, Ms. Fleenor’s opponent. Joe earned my respect based upon my experience with him, his outstanding reputation as a lawyer, and his service to the Republican Party – no financial incentive was required for this endorsement.

Marty Von Schaaf

Immediate Past Chair

Hamilton County Republican Party

* * *

The Grand Old (Man) Party chair has spoken, former that is. Thank goodness for those election cycle Lincoln Day dinners to bring the local party out of the deep red zone that accumulated during the “immediate, past, yesterday’s news, glad it’s over” former party chair.

If conservatives really valued Mr. Von Schaaf’s opinion perhaps they would have elected him to a second term.  The self-proclaimed Grand Old Men need to give it a rest and admit that a girl will beat your man in a judicial race. Na Na Na Boo Boo.


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