August 3, 2010

A Disturbing Statement from the CYR Board of Governors

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August 3, 2010 - I received a very nice note for Meredyth Richards today. She's the new President of the Chicago Young Republicans (CYRs) who replaced Jeremy Rose yesterday (see "Pat Brady Prunes Rose From Chicago Young Republicans"). I'd sent Ms. Richards a simple note saying only, "Congratulations on your new position as President of the Chicago Young Republicans." Ms. Richards wrote back: "I am/we are also happy to sit down with you and talk about these unfortunate events, our success as an organization, our future plans, or anything else. Ideas or thoughts you have for our group as we rise above this difficult time are certainly welcome and appreciated." That's appreciated, but she/they might not want me in the same room with her/them after they read this post. (Jeremy Rose once bought me coffee seeking the same "ideas or thoughts.") In the post-Jeremy Rose world of the Chicago Young Republicans, life goes on -- but with a sharply defensive tone. Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady forced the ouster of Rose from his Cook County Republican Party Executive Director position, amidst allegations of a sex scandal CYR. Days later the same powers forced Rose from the presidency of the CYRs. The following statement appeared on the CYR website today. Let's look at the statement, and rip it apart as we go along: CYR Board of Governors Statement We have not taken the attacks against our organization and our president, Jeremy Rose, lightly. As many by now know, Jeremy has resigned from his position as President of the Chicago Young Republicans amid false allegations of inappropriate conduct from June 2009. He has done so for the ultimate good of the Republican Party. COMMENT #1: This is significant. By calling the still-uninvestigated allegations against Rose "false," the CYR Board of Governors is essentially saying that Pat Brady acted without justification and crucified an innocent man. We steadfastly support the conclusion reached over a year ago by the officials in the state Young Republican organization responsible for addressing the incident. On July 1, 2009 a complaint against Jeremy was lodged, and quickly thereafter it was thoroughly investigated. As of July 22, 2009 all involved agreed that the issue had been appropriately resolved, which included an apology from Jeremy himself. COMMENT #2: "Thoroughly investigate?" Really? Chicago News Bench requests the CYRs to immediately release all documents, including meeting minutes, of the so-called investigation. We also request a definition of "appropriately resolved." Furthermore, if allegations against Jeremy Rose are "false" and Rose is innocent of any sexual misconduct, what exactly did he apologize for? Though the matter was addressed to everyone's complete satisfaction more than a year ago, over the past few weeks partisan factions have spun the story for their own political advantage and continue to circulate false information. Despite their manipulation of the facts, at no point were Jeremy and the complainant ever alone. Two others, including one female, were present in the same room throughout the evening. COMMENT #3: The matter was obviously NOT "addressed to everyone's complete satisfaction more than a year ago." Had it been, Jeremy Rose would still be the Exec. Director of the Cook County Republican Party and President of the Chicago Young Republicans -- and we would not be analyzing a CYR Board of Governors statement about the subject in August, 2010. While we denounce inappropriate sexual behavior in all forms, this incident never rose to the level now suggested. All questions of criminality are wildly inappropriate and unfounded. This same conclusion, we repeat, was reached by the external investigation conducted last July.

COMMENT #4: The CYR Board of Governors seems guilty of Freudian uncertainty. On the one hand, they state that Rose is absolutely innocent of any sexual misbehavior. Yet here they hint that perhaps Rose did something inappropriate but that it wasn't as bad as alleged. You can't have it both ways: Either he engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior or he didn't. As for the "external investigation," what the heck is that? The one in July 2009 "by the officials in the state Young Republican organization responsible for addressing the incident?" You call YRs investigating YRs "external?"

Unfortunately, this sort of infighting is common in politics, but that does not excuse it.

COMMENT #5: No, it's really not. It's not common for charges of serious sexual misconduct to be lodged against the leadership of any organization, whether in politics or otherwise.

The CYRs take pride in our ability to unite the Republican Party in Chicago and across Illinois. After all of our hard work this past year reaching out to the City’s young people, building a 1000-person member base, and hosting Chicago’s largest Republican gathering in decades, we realize our success has made us a target. We are angered by the personal attacks against Jeremy and the organization.

COMMENT #6: Nobody, up until now, was attacking "the organization" (the CYRs). This blog and others have pointed out the allegations against Rose and the coverup of them by Pat Brady, Lee Roupas and some of the individuals within the CYR. The organization itself is not the problem, it was - and seems to remain - some of the individuals within it currently.

Were it not for the countless hours and personal sacrifices he and the other volunteer board members have poured into the group, the CYRs would not be where we are today: the premier Republican organization for young people in the City. After two years of consistent growth, the CYRs fill a critical void in left-leaning Chicago and will continue to thrive in spite of recent developments. Particularly in such a critical election year, the CYRs will not allow this manufactured controversy to disrupt our great work in Chicago or detract from our electoral goals. Calls for candidates will continue, ground-breaking events will inspire courage and action from diverse new members, and formerly hidden Republicans will mobilize over the coming months for victory in Illinois.

COMMENT #7: They call the allegations against Rose a "manufactured controversy," but that ignores reality and their own contradictory statements. The sexual misconduct allegations have not been investigated by a truly independent body, and the CYR Board of Governors itself said that Rose apologized for ... for something. There's more, however, to this affair than the allegations against Rose. There's the secrecy and coverup aspect, which is quite real and certainly not manufactured. Even if all allegations against Rose are false, they should have been openly investigated. They weren't, and that's what led to avoidable - but not manufactured - controversy. The blame for this lies squarely in the lap of IL GOP Chair Pat Brady.

In accordance with our bylaws, Board Officers have elected Meredyth Richards the new President of our organization. Meredyth has been instrumental to our success over the past year, and is ready to lead us through the critical phase of the upcoming political cycle. She has the full backing of each and every Board member. Moving forward, we ask everyone, including those who have wished us ill in the past, for support and guidance. The consequences are too great in November -- we must join together again.

COMMENT #8: We have no reason to question the integrity of Ms. Richards, and wish her and the CYRs all the best for continued success in the future. We would suggest, however, that both she and the members of the CYR Board of Directors sign up for Press Statements 101 at the nearest community college.

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