Today I recieved some news that is just, well vindication that the Truth shall set us free. After being publicly smeared as a campaign finance violator by the Delaware Republican Party simply for supporting Christine O'Donnell over Mike Castle. The FEC had previously reached a split decision on the matter but the investigative committee found no reason to believe that the O'Donnell campaign nor I had done anything wrong. Here is a link to the entire report and here is the excerpt that vindicates me.
Finally, the complainant alleges that the O'Donnell Committee's press secretary stated on his Facebook page that he speaks to TPAC "daily. The complainant also states that TPAC was planning a radiothon during which O'Donnell would make an appearance. OGC recommended finding reason to believe that violations of the Act occurred based on those facts. We disagreed.My question is, where do I go to get my reputation back? When do I get to repair the damage that this false complaint has done to my career and potential political aspirations? Mr. Tom Ross, do you even care that you've destroyed the career of an innocent person? What about you Michael Toner? Do you care that your false allegations have impacted my career?
We note again that "opening an investigation to determine whether we could discover a basis for those suspicions runs counter to the statutory constraints imposed on the Commission. That "reason to believe" requires more than mere speculation has been established in prior enforcement matters. For example, in MUR 4960 (Hillary Clinton), the Commission summarized the requirements as follows:
The Commission may find "reason to believe" only if a complaint sets forth sufficient specific facts, which, if proven true, would constitute a violation of the FECA. Complaints not based upon personal knowledge must identify a source of information that reasonably gives rise to a belief in the truth of the allegations presented...
Unwarranted legal conclusions firom asserted facts, see SOR in MUR 4869 (American Postal Workers Union), or mere speculation, see SOR of Chairman Wold and Commissioners Mason and Thomas in MUR 4850 (Fossella), will not be accepted as true. In addition,... a complaint may jbe dismissed if it consists of factual allegations that are refiited with sufficiently compelling evidence provided in the response to the complaint...
Similarly, in MUR S467 (Michael Moore), the Commission stated that "[purely speculative charges, especially when accompanied by a direct refutation, do not form an adequate basis to find a reason to believe that a violation of the FECA has occurred." Therefore, under the Act, before making a reason-to-believe determination, the Commission must assess both the law and the credibility of the facts alleged. To do so, the Commission must identify the sources of information and examine the facts and reliability of those sources to determine whether they 'reasonably [give] rise to a belief in the truth of the allegations presented." Only if this standard is met may the Commission investigate whether a violation occurred. These requirements are not met here.
Assuming that the radiothon was paid for by TPAC, mentioned the candidate, and was broadcast shortly before the primary election, the available information, including the Facebook posts at issue, provides insufficient basis for a reason-to-believe finding. First, the Facebook posting for the event does not indicate whether or not O'Donnell was set to appear. While a Facebook post by Evan Queitsch, apparently directed to a WDEL radio station employee, reads "@Jensen 1150 WDEL let me know if you want to know about the Tea Party Express as I speak w/them daily," OCiC states that the posts on their face do not satisfy the conduct prong. We agree. And even if TPAC and the O'DonnellConmiittee were in daily contact, such contacts would not be sufficient to meet the conduct threshold. More specific information is necessary.
Our unwillingness to find reason to believe a violation occurred based on the O'Donnell Committee's original response is bolstered by later confirmation that Mr. Queitsch was not a member of the O'Donnell campaign during the primary campaign. Therefore, the complainant's accusations in this matter, including one of which was based on tiie incorrect factual implication that Evan Queitsch was the O'Donnell Committee's press secretary, provide insufficient basis to find reason to believe.
Also, to the media, you were quick to print my name in your articles alledging that there was wrong doing involved here. Now that Christine, TEA Party Express and I have been cleared of wrong doing, will you print your retraction and apology on page A-1?