Will sex-harassment scandal in NC “doom” Democrats in 2012?

posted at 1:46 pm on April 14, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

The Democratic Party chose Charlotte, North Carolina to host its convention thanks to its new status as swing state, following Barack Obama’s narrow win there in 2008.  By putting Obama on stage in Charlotte, they hope to recapture the magic in the Southern state and deny Republicans and Mitt Romney the chance to swing 15 electoral votes in November.  The last thing they need now is a sex scandal in the North Carolina Democratic Party — but that’s what they have now, according to The Daily Caller.  But is it as dire as it’s being painted?

A former North Carolina Democratic Party staffer was sexually harassed by a party official, made a financial settlement with the party and signed a non-disclosure agreement to keep the incident quiet, according to emails obtained by The Daily Caller.

“If this hits the media, the Democratic Party, our candidates, and our credibility are doomed in this election,” reads one email exchange between state Democratic leaders.

An email chain between those Democratic leaders, obtained by The Daily Caller, indicates the executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party, Jay Parmley, and the alleged sexual harassment victim both signed non-disclosure agreements.

A North Carolina blog revealed the name of the other staffer involved in the complaint — which involved same-sex harassment.  As the Daily Caller explains and as the e-mail chain within the party corroborates, that comes as particularly bad news for North Carolina Democrats.  They are fighting a referendum that would define marriage in the state as between one man and one woman, and a same-sex harassment scandal might be the end of their ability to defeat it:

In an email to state Democratic Party chairman David Parker, North Carolina Democratic statehouse candidate Watt Jones said this sexual harassment looks bad for Democrats.

“With a Democratic Party which is suppose [sic] to be fighting to defeat Amendment One [which describes marriage as between one man and one woman] on the May 8 ballot, yet we have this in Goodwin House?,” Jones said. “How does that look?”

Parmley, the accused harasser according to the Civitas report,  is still employed by the Democratic Party.

That last factoid might be the most damaging revelation in the entire report.  If party insiders found this to be so bad as to be potentially “dooming,” why not cut Parmley loose?  Perhaps it might just be that the internal investigation didn’t find any evidence of wrongdoing.  I’ve helped investigate a few of these kinds of incidents, and this outcome is not unusual under the circumstances.  Cases like these don’t usually have evidence (unless people are dumb enough to use company e-mail — ahem), only testimony, and usually not much of that except from the complainant and the respondent.  Settling the matter with a financial payment and a non-disclosure agreement is rather standard, and intended to keep anyone’s reputation from being harmed without just cause, and such a “quiet” settlement isn’t necessarily sinister, and probably isn’t in this case.

Politically speaking, it’s not good news for Democrats, but I rather doubt that they’re any more “doomed” than before this revelation.  Few voters will change their minds after having read the e-mail chain from The DC.  Obama won North Carolina in 2008 by only 14,177 votes out of 4.28 million cast, and thanks to the economy and the NLRB attack on Boeing (in neighboring South Carolina), he’s going to have more problems in hanging onto that slender advantage than just a party-HQ harassment settlement.  Their biggest problem might be potential disarray in the state organization in the few months leading up to the convention, but the national party probably has enough resources in the state to deal with on-the-ground problems already.  The timing and location of the scandal is certainly bad news, but by August, I doubt seriously that anyone outside of the full immersion of politics will know who Jay Parmley is, even in North Carolina.

On the other hand, this is the first look I’ve gotten at the DNC convention logo, which I used for the front page.  They really used Obama’s campaign logo as a model?  I guess the entire Democratic Party is now all about the O.

Update: The Boeing plant was located in South Carolina, which I knew, but my point was that it was a big story regionally (and nationally, for that matter).  I’ve added a parenthetical to the text above to make my point a little clearer.

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Will they be willing go with token upheaval to keep the Convention from making Teh One look too closely associated with a city in flames, which would certainly help that Evil One Percenter from taking back the White 99%ers House.

eeyore on April 14, 2012 at 3:01 PM

The real question is whether Hussein will fiddle while Charlotte burns. Between stanzas he’ll blame those Tea Party extremists for the conflagration.

Annar on April 15, 2012 at 7:54 AM

Without the Blame Game, The O is getting exposed. Blaming the problems in Charlotte on Bush will not work. Throw in the hookers in South America that are not Bush’s fault either. Without Bush to blame, this spoiled brat’s record is worse than Carter’s. Jimmah Carter was considered to be the most incompetent president in our history until Obozo was elected. He has only divided this country on race, class, and gender more than any president in history. He is the greatest hate mongerer ever to occupy the White House.Without hate, he has no chance.

volsense on April 15, 2012 at 9:02 AM

Interesting.. I think I’ll contact my Rep, Mr. Schuler and ask his some ??’s.
This will be made public.

mmcnamer1 on April 15, 2012 at 1:00 PM

If party insiders found this to be so bad as to be potentially “dooming,” why not cut Parmley loose?

Because that would be unlawful under the EEOC rules and regulations. I believe that the filing of a claim is protected, regardless of whether there is merit to the claim or not. And any adverse action taken by an employer that can be linked to the filing of a claim is retaliation, which is an separate offense apart from the initial claim. Even if the initial claim has no merit, a retaliation claim stands on its own.

Jim M. on April 15, 2012 at 1:46 PM

The BIG “sex scandal” is “GATE RAPE,” a policy initiated by the Obamacrats and based on political correctness and total disregard for the rights of ordinary citizens.

landlines on April 15, 2012 at 3:30 PM

O to be in Carolina in the moooooooroorning.

ironked on April 15, 2012 at 4:25 PM

********************* UPDATE **************************

************* RESIGNATION *********************************

NC Democratic Party executive director resigns
Published Sun, Apr 15, 2012 05:30 PM
Modified Sun, Apr 15, 2012 05:53 PM

RALEIGH — The executive director of the N.C. Democratic Party resigned Sunday as calls for his ouster mounted amid questions regarding a secret agreement to pay a former staffer to keep quiet about sexual harassment allegations.
Jay Parmley, who served a year at the helm of the party, denied harassing any employee and blamed right-wing blogs for “spreading a false and misleading story” about the incident.
“Even though I have not done anything wrong, it is clear to me that I need to move on,” Parmley wrote in the resignation letter.

canopfor on April 15, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Oh crap,I overlooked this golden nugget………

denied harassing any employee and blamed right-wing blogs for “spreading a false and misleading story” about the incident

Witness the,

Power of a Fully-Operational RightSphere Blog

canopfor on April 15, 2012 at 7:02 PM

Witness the,

Power of a Fully-Operational RightSphere Blog

canopfor on April 15, 2012 at 7:02 PM


Seven Percent Solution on April 15, 2012 at 7:09 PM

From the same link canopfor posted”

Earlier this weekend, party activists called for Parmley and Parker to resign amid questions about a financial settlement given to a low-level staffer earlier this year who was fired soon after he complained about being sexually harassed by a senior party official.


I guess I missed the part where the person filing the sexual harassment complaint was male, not female.

Jim M. on April 15, 2012 at 7:57 PM

North Carolina Democratic Party executive director resigns in wake of same-sex sexual harassment allegations

The emails TheDC first reported on were between state Democratic chairman David Parker and Democratic statehouse candidate Watt Jones. They expressed concern that the sex scandal could doom the state party and its candidates in the upcoming election.

“If this hits the media, the Democratic Party, our candidates, and our credibility are doomed in this election,” Jones wrote to Parker.


So the million dollar question is if we are to beleive the Chairman that there was nothing at all to the allegations, why would there be a concern that the scandal would “doom” the party, democratic candidates and the credibility of the Democratic Party in the upcoming election?

Kudos to the Dems for keeping a story alive and worthy of an extended news cycle. And by their statements that the allegations were unfounded, I’ll bet they just breached their side of the confidentialty provisions in the settlement agreement. If so, the victim may take the time to set the record straight.

Jim M. on April 15, 2012 at 8:13 PM

canopfor on April 15, 2012 at 7:02 PM

Seven Percent Solution on April 15, 2012 at 7:09 PM

Seven Percent Solution:—–:)

canopfor on April 15, 2012 at 8:48 PM

The E-Mails*!!!

North Carolina Democrats’ Emails

Uploaded by

The Daily Caller


canopfor on April 15, 2012 at 8:53 PM