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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