Chip Hanlon could have simply ejected me from the Red County blog with no fanfare -i.e. “hey Aaron, your arrangement isn’t going to work for us”… rather, they saw an opportunity to drive traffic and profit -so they took it. That’s the real issue – then they grandstanded about ethics.
Haven’t Republican leaders learned enough about leveling the ethics finger? Just do your business and be done with it, but apparently, that would have inhibited some perceived gain those at Red County saw as a possibility.
As I blogged previously, posts were deleted, comments were deleted, lawsuits were threatened in addition to constant complaints about money.
Whitman’s Job Offer
As I had told a few people, back on December 24th, 2008 – the third of three meetings between Mitch Zak and I had occurred. The third meeting was the decision point, we had negotiated terms and I was to get back to Mitch about what I’d be doing for my compensation (the one-pager referenced below).
The entire email thread is available – but in an email dated 12/24/2008 at 8:50AM, Zak wrote:
Good morning Aaron,
Great seeing you this morning. I enjoyed breakfast and good conversation. As promised, I’ve attached Meg’s commonwealth club speech as well as an op-ed she penned on Prop 5. Please send me the one-pager asap and I’ll begin working on it. I look forward to reading the next installment from Captain Kool-Aid.
Merry Christmas to you and your family.
I consider Mitch Zak to be a friend – he did nothing wrong in trying to hire me on to the Whitman Campaign. Mitch replied on 12/26 after I had let him know I was not going to rescind my endorsement of Steve Poizner:
Thanks for the follow-up Aaron,
While I’m disappointed that we won’t be able to work together, I certainly understand. We can revisit our conversation when the general election comes around.
In the meantime, lets stay in touch.
I have been forced to set Zak on fire because of the actions of Chip Hanlon and Matt Cunningham. This is one of the despicable things in politics… but in the case of Meg County vs. the Whitman Campaign, there is no honor amongst thieves.
Now – when I went to Steve Frank about what transpired in the conversation on 12/24/2008 to let him know that there was an offer on the table… that is what ultimately led to my arrangement with Steve Frank. Note that I worked for Steve Frank, not Steve Poizner.
Obviously, Steve Frank thought I had a job offer from Whitman.
Lies of Omission by Red County
Chip Hanlon was told both facts on 10/29/2009. Many who follow the Meg County blog have seen parts of the emails. Hanlon found out about my arrangement, because I told him – on 10/29/2009. However, I was not ejected from Red County until 12/09/2009 – why?
It is not as simple as Red County adhering to an ethical code – they took money from Whitman and said nothing about it. Hanlon wrote the following to me on 10/30/2009:
Understood. Clarifying from yesterday’s call: if you had to disclose the payments from Steve Frank– or whatever the related entity is– so it’s clear you have a Poizner interest, how big a problem would that be for you? I mean, would you reeeaaaalllyy prefer not to, is it no big deal, or somewhere in between? Again, I just have to think through what RC can live with, and I can’t ask Matt for guidance on this specifically. Thanks.
It is absolutely 100% true that I answered with the following: “The problem is that I would lose the deal and would be devastated financially. I told you about it so you’d understand the backside pressure I have. ” – I had just closed escrow on a new house. Today is a different story.
Mind you, there was no further communication until 12/09/2009 when Chip called me telling me it was over. There were no intermediate options given – such as, “look dude, you’re going to have to go public”. Chip characterized my follow-up questions as begging in the post he had already written before we hung up the phone – as it was up before I got in to my office.
Chip Hanlon chose to do it is public and messy as he could – picking and choosing facts as it suited him in order to get even with Steve Poizner for not buying advertising on the Red County Blog.
They then went out and said I failed to disclose and that was the reason why they did what they did. I did disclose – some six weeks prior and asked if I could keep the disclosure out of the public. I got my answer.
Hanlon’s company – greenfaucet got $20K from Whitman 12/03 – I was axed 12/09. When coupled with the direct and extremely personal nature of Hanlon’s angry string of blog posts that followed – draw your own conclusions as to what happened.
There it is – that simple. A blog with an extreme financial interest in the Whitman Campaign attempted to publicly destroy a blogger working as a consultant for a consultant with an interest in the Poizner camp.
Campaign combat 101.
P.S. as of 2/18/2010 – Three months after my ouster – the Red County System has finally removed all of my posts.