VFW battles VFW PAC over endorsements

posted at 11:36 am on October 12, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, the political world scratched its head over the endorsement of Barbara Boxer — “Senator Ma’am” — by the VFW’s political action committee.  It turns out that veterans weren’t very happy about it, either.  The leaders of the VFW have effectively denounced their own PAC for a series of endorsements that look more like an argument for entrenched incumbency than actual defense of veterans’ interests:

The national line officers of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) are at odds with the VFW Political Action Committee (PAC), calling the methodology process used by the PAC “seriously flawed at best this year and in immediate need of extensive review,” in the wake of the recent congressional endorsements made by the committee.

“Even though the law requires that VFW-PAC be a separate organization, the acronym ‘VFW’ is attached to the committee and the natural assumption is that the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is somehow making the endorsement decisions. Nothing could be further from the truth, but perception is reality,” said National Commander Richard Eubank.

“Obviously, an organization’s political positions have to reflect the opinions of its members. But those opinions can’t be perceived as ‘off the wall,’ and the methodology used this year to grade candidates obviously is skewed in favor of the incumbent. That isn’t fair, and it actually subverts the democratic process.”

How offended were National Commander Richard Eubank, Sr. Vice Commander Richard L. DeNoyer, and Jr. Vice Commander John E. Hamilton, all of whom signed this open letter on the VFW website?  Enough to propose dismantling the PAC:

Because of the controversy surrounding the endorsements, VFW line officers have decided to bring the question of continued existence of the PAC to the floor during the 112th VFW national convention in August.

As Orson Swindle pointed out in yesterday’s Ed Morrissey Show, the Boxer endorsement was just one in a string of choices that had veterans’ eyebrows raised.  The VFW PAC issued ten endorsements over the past week of Democratic incumbents, including Rick Klein over Col. Allen West, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Alan Grayson, all in Florida, and all considered rather Left-leaning.  Instead of acting in consideration of the membership’s wishes, VFW PAC apparently decided to act like lobbyists and ingratiate themselves with those in power now.

They may have argued themselves out of a job.  The VFW just learned a lesson about independent PACs.


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Hijacked by reactionary leftists?

N. O'Brain on October 12, 2010 at 2:52 PM

We contribute to the VFW, but will not any more. There are other veteran’s organizations that we will continue to support.

I just want to say that I understand the heavy hearts, shock and sadness that many of you feel to learn about the VFW’s liberal political involvement. The exact same thing happened to us in regard to the 10/2/10 progressive march in DC…which my *former* church, United Methodist Church, endorsed…then the day before the march, pulled its endorsement. In researching their political action agency, we were dismayed to discover the many areas of liberal political issues supported by the UMC.

We must stand firm in our principles, even when it is hard. We admire all of you who are doing so.

Cindy of TX on October 12, 2010 at 2:56 PM

I called the VFW, now granted I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but the woman @ the VFW said that they are have no control over who the VFW-Pac endorses.
And that they are going to do something at the next convention to address the problem they are facing with the pac.
Now that makes no sense to me!
Its called the VFW -PAC.
It seems to me that they want to have their cake and eat it too.
I called the number they gave me for the PAC, its disconnected.
My kids qualify to be members of VFW, but I am sure they wont join because of this nonsense.

If some one can explain how the Main organization has no control over the pac and still some how use the main organizations name , I would love to hear that explanation.

ColdWarrior57 on October 12, 2010 at 4:06 PM

I wonder why if the VFW is upset over the endorsement of Boxer,Grayson by their VFW-PAC, then why not go National and express that they are no part of the endorsement or support. The VFW used to be an honorable organization but after this, I now have my doubts. What is next? Honor Jane Fonda at their next convention and make her the key note speaker?
Boxer is anti-military and Grayson is anti-anything and belongs in a mental facility.

flintstone on October 12, 2010 at 4:32 PM

for a series of endorsements that look more like an argument for entrenched incumbency than actual defense of veterans’ interests

And it’s the same way for the NRA and probably lots of other special interest groups. They bet on the insider.

TheBigOldDog on October 12, 2010 at 4:40 PM

I think that people here who said they wont contribute to the VFW any longer, or who are going to quit and not renew their membership need to stop, drop and roll, and rethink their position(s). These endorsements are not from the VFW. They are from a PAC that the VFW set up years ago that is a completely separate corporation, and is in no way responsible to the VFW. The PAC is completely separate and does not answer to the VFW membership. It has to be that way per the charter that Congress granted the VFW. The VFW National is going to take care of this and I suspect at next years annual meeting, there will no longer be a VFW PAC, and no they can’t act any earlier than the National Conference that occurs every August per our bylaws. Let’s not over react.

Johnnyreb on October 12, 2010 at 6:33 PM

And it’s the same way for the NRA and probably lots of other special interest groups. They bet on the insider.

TheBigOldDog on October 12, 2010 at 4:40 PM

That dog won’t hunt. The NRA has always endorsed the candidate with the best 2nd amendment stance, whether incumbent or not. In fact, they’ve been taking some flack for endorsing some democrats in this cycle.

chewmeister on October 12, 2010 at 6:45 PM

What happened to my post?

chewmeister on October 12, 2010 at 6:49 PM

Never mind.

chewmeister on October 12, 2010 at 6:51 PM

I’m eligible to join the VFW… just hadn’t gotten around to it…. but I might still join, depending on how this works out.

From the VFW website… VFW calls upon VFW-PAC to rescind endorsements:

Comrades, we cannot sit idly by while a great organization is being disparaged and maligned, even unintentionally. It is vitally important that you take a direct role in alleviating this current flood of criticism by reminding members and supporters that:

– The VFW PAC was created by the VFW members and not by VFW national leaders. 2/3 of the delegates of the 80th VFW National Convention (1979) voted to establish PAC as a standing committee.

– VFW By-Laws stipulate that VFW leadership does not direct PAC activities and that the VFW convention is the governing body of the organization. As such, it is only the delegates at the convention that can determine the continuation of the PAC.

– Encourage VFW members to get involved in their VFW Posts and to exercise and further direct their concerns to convention delegates so that there can be an informed debate on the existence of the PAC.

That is a future process. But, as indicated, we also have an immediate necessity on the recent PAC endorsements. VFW’s values and guiding principles aren’t grounded in a desire to participate in partisan policies in political activities. As veterans of foreign wars, we gave substantially more of ourselves than most to ensure the viability and the integrity of our great democratic process. However, our recent endorsement process unintentionally provided favoritism to the incumbents. It is now evident it was unfairly skewed and actually subverted that process.

As determined in the VFW By-Laws, as the national officers, we have specific responsibilities to take definitive action when events can have a detrimental impact on the organization. It is clear to us that the current situation now demands direct action; therefore, we are requesting the chairman and the directors of the Political Action Committee immediately rescind their endorsement actions.

darkpixel on October 12, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Apologies for anal/cranal inversion and gluttonous quote – I quoted the same post as Ed did in starting this thread.

darkpixel on October 12, 2010 at 7:32 PM

Give me a F’ing break: it says VFW.
PAC. I don’t need to have a lawyer decipher what stuff means. Glad I never joined. US Army (Ret)

Dingbat63 on October 12, 2010 at 7:58 PM

PS: If it said “Boxer-PAC” (or Pelosi, Reid, Dufus running against LTC Allen West) I’d know what it meant.

Dingbat63 on October 12, 2010 at 8:06 PM

Gee, this didn’t really turn out the way the chimney sweep expected, did it?

applebutter on October 12, 2010 at 8:17 PM

Color me skeptical that the VFW PAC hasn’t just been an Incumbent PAC before now.

I’m sure there has been a problem, and the VFW ignored the problem.

mockmook on October 13, 2010 at 2:30 AM

That dog won’t hunt. The NRA has always endorsed the candidate with the best 2nd amendment stance, whether incumbent or not. In fact, they’ve been taking some flack for endorsing some democrats in this cycle.

chewmeister on October 12, 2010 at 6:45 PM

Un huh, prove that for WV’s Senate seat this year.

Supporting any Dem keeps us on a glide path to socialism, and that is no way to protect the 2nd amendment.

Oh, and how the hell do you justify the NRA’s support of the DISCLOSE act!!!

mockmook on October 13, 2010 at 2:36 AM

Did HotAir delete a post?

I have this link in my inbox which no longer works:
http://hotair.com/archives/2010/10/13/escalation-vfw-directors-demand-vfw-pac-rescind-endorsements/

About face.
________________________________________
The nasty VFW/VFW PAC political endorsement spat is boiling over into open political warfare between the two groups. When Ed posted on this story yesterday, VFW leaders were already expressing dismay over their political action committee’s “seriously flawed” candidate endorsement methodology–going so far as to raise the prospect of scrapping the PAC altogether. This posture [...]
Read this post »

Where’d it go?

Chris of Rights on October 13, 2010 at 7:47 AM

Glad I declined their invitation to join, I would hate to think my dues went to endorse the likes of Boxer. Guess I’ll have to look at the American Legion.

Spiff
MSG, USA (RET)

SPIFF1669 on October 13, 2010 at 8:04 AM

Instead of acting in consideration of the membership’s wishes, VFW PAC apparently decided to act like lobbyists and ingratiate themselves with those in power now.
They may have argued themselves out of a job. The VFW just learned a lesson about independent PACs.

Shut down every rotten outlet of the rotten establishment.

disa on October 13, 2010 at 8:37 AM

Stuck on Stupid and doubling down…their latest. Wish I had joined so I could quit. LINK

Dingbat63 on October 13, 2010 at 4:12 PM

I emailed the crew at VFW and asked to be removed from all future solicitations. I am sickened by the attempt from top brass in the VFW to “distance” themselves from something that was so wrong in so many ways to begin with….I will still support our troops, but it won’t be through the VFW.

psychocyber on October 14, 2010 at 12:29 AM

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