Glass Houses ?

  The controversy surrounding  Mr. Vance Phillips, current Sussex County Council of Delaware president, seems to revolve around the fact that he is on the campaign payroll of a developer, Glen Urquhart who is running for the office of U.S. Representative.

  Many have a concern that because Mr. Phillips is on the payroll of the campaign, that in the “FUTURE” there “COULD” arise a conflict of interest. Mr. Phillips has stated that he would recuse himself if this were the case. This has not satisfied his critics. They then state that by doing this he would be leaving his constituents without representation.

  The critics cling to the phrase, ” APPEARANCE OF IMPROPRIETY”, some have taken a liking to “PERCEPTION”.

  What follows is an attempt to point out that perception is a matter of which side of the fence you happen to be standing on.

   The numbers and names that I use here are public record, they come directly from The National Institute on Money in State Politics web site. I am not accusing anyone of anything, in fact I am sure that all campaign regulations were followed to the letter. Again my goal is to demonstrate that if someone wishes to see wrong doing they can take even that which is legal and twist it to seem as if there is wrong doing.

  I have chosen Rep. John Atkins 41st Rep. Dist. of Delaware(D), only because he has chosen to place himself in the middle of the Phillips controversy by contacting myself and other media outlets with his concerns about Mr. Phillips relationship with the Urquhart campaign. I have no doubt that I could do the same thing with the history of any sitting public official, and any former public official, from the president down to some small city councilman. I am equally sure that someone could also do this about Mr. Phillips and that is my point.

  Since so many people seem to be concerned about Mr. Phillips taking a pay check from a candidate, who happens to also be a developer, that “MAY” in the “FUTURE” come before the county council for consideration of some project and that this “MIGHT” create a conflict of interest, I ask those people, how do you feel about campaign contributions. Are these not payments to a candidate? Are we so blind as to not understand that in many cases they are payment for future consideration of some issue relating to the contributors interest or business?

  So let us look at Rep. Atkins’ 2008 campaign disclosure. First let me say that I commend Mr. Atkins for being his own largest contributor.

  I would like to also list the House Committees that Rep. Atkins sits on.

   Agriculture

    Corrections

    Energy

    Manufactured Housing

    Natural Resources

    Public Safety and Homeland Security

   Veterans Affairs

    I have gone through the 2008 campaign finance disclosure that Rep. Atkins and every other candidate must file. Including Mr. Phillips.

    Here are some of the highlights.  As I list the donations I will state the relevant committee as “I SEE IT”.

   Let me say once more that I am not making any accusation of any criminal act or any wrong doing.

   $250.00 from, The Correction Officers Association of Delaware, Dover(House Committee on Corrections).

   $200.00 from, United Troopers Alliance,Felton, De  (House Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security).

   $25.00 from, Manufactured Homeowners of Delaware (House Committee on Manufactured Housing).

   $500.00 from, The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Washington D.C. . $500.00 Chesapeake Utilities, Dover, De.. $100.00 Delaware Electric Cooperative. $100.00 Delaware Utility Workers. (House Committee on Energy).

 These last few are a collection of groups that do not pertain to any specific committee, but do draw your attention.

  $600.00 from, Independence Hall, (I believe this is a Schell Brothers project opened in 2008)

  $600.00 from Ocean Atlantic Agency of Rehoboth, ( this is a realtor association).

   $300.00 Jim Parker Builders of Millsboro, De (BUILDERS!!!!)

   $250.00 from , Eastside Developers Millsboro, De ( DEVELOPERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

   $250.00 from, Medical Society of Delaware Newark, De. (advocate group)

   $200.00 Delaware State Dental Society Newark, De (advocate group).

   Now I could take the time and research each and every vote that Rep. Atkins has ever made to find out if he has ever given any special consideration to any of these contributors . But we aren’t concerned with actual conflicts of interest are we. No in the case of Mr. Phillips , perception is enough.

 So can we say that there is a perception of a conflict of interest for Rep. Atkins when he accepts donations from two of the largest energy suppliers in the state, Chesapeake Utilities and Delaware Electric Coop.. Two companies that have constant dealings with the Legislature. I’m sure that it has nothing to do with the fact that Rep. Atkins sits on the House Committee on Energy.

  With Mr. Phillips, we are to be concerned that he takes a paycheck from a candidate for services rendered as a campaign advisor, because the candidate is also a developer.

 Are we also to be concerned that Rep. Atkins takes donations from, builders,realtors and developers?

  What services has Rep. Atkins provided?

  The point of this article is not to accuse Rep. Atkins or any of his contributors of any wrong doing, it is only to once again point out that anyone can take anything and twist it to their own advantage if they are so inclined.

  Now I know the “APPLES and ORANGES” crowd will show up and say that donations are legal, well so is what Mr. Phillips is doing. If not please someone show me the law. And remember, when you start throwing stones, ask yourself, am I without fault?

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8 Responses to “Glass Houses ?”

  1. judson bennett Says:

    Now in all fairness do Vance Phillip’s campaign finance reports and reference all the $600 contributions (the max) for this office from Developers and the building trades. John Atkins pales in comparison to Vance Phillips in regard to the obvious, but insipid point you are trying to make.

  2. frankknotts Says:

    The point is, if you would open your eyes or take off the blinders , is that every candidate.past and present, out there takes money from those who wish to influence. You and others are willing to ignore this fact and try and make it seem as if Mr. Phillips is doing something unique. If you or anyone else can show me a case of Mr. Phillips casting some sort of unusual vote, in relationship to his history of voting for developement, that also involves Glen Urquhart, I am willing to listen.
    Currently all I am seeing from Mr. Phillips’ detractors is a lot of presumption and assumption, and we all no what happens when we ass-u-me!
    We have Democrats and there attack dogs in the media, we have GOP members who are frightened by Mr. Urquhart’s conservatism and others who are anti-developement. Please feel free to place yourself in any category that you feel fits your neds.
    Honestly Mr. Bennett, you never took donations from anyone that might have created a conflict of interest, if you had been able to actually win a campaign?

  3. judson bennett Says:

    When I was running for office and if I was to run for office again which is unlikely considering my age and personal circumstances, I would take a campaign contribution from anybody who would give me one. You used the campaign finance researh as part of your argument which is legal. You also use John Atkins as an example for what reason?. Frank, I’m an old war horse–I know what goes on and the handshakes and promises that are made. Hell I used to work for a big developer after I retired from the maritime industry and saw it all. THat was one of the reasons I ran for the Sussex, because it was obscene.

    However, the campaign finance business is entirely different than the Phillips/Urquhat relationship. Yes it is used to gain influence. BUT– How about if every Council Person was employed by all of the developers and those related industries, nothing would ever get done would it, because the entire council would then be dysfuntional ? Of course they then do it in different ways??? It’s Ok for Vance though? Who knows, there certainly were some perceived conflcts with the former council–Signs,Lumber, and Steel Contracts after a project was approved.

    One thing for sure, All of this controversy will put a spotlight on all of it and the Sussex Council will be under a microscope from now on by an aware and suspicious public.

  4. frankknotts Says:

    My point here is not to justify anyones bad behavior. My question is, are those who are so critical of Mr. Phillips as concerned with the influence of campaign donations? I used Mr. Atkins only because he is one who is pushing this issue. Hense the title of “Glass Houses”.
    I realy believe that this is a made up controversy. Politics is a cut throat game, as you well know. Often revenge and ulterior motives are dressed up as righteous indignation. I will be completely honest as I always try to be and tell you, that if a scorned Republican gone Democrat, and some of the more liberal Republicans are working this hard to cripple a campaign, well it may just be worth supporting.

  5. judson bennett Says:

    That sir was entirely predictable– I have not decided yet. who I will endoorse. What is unfortunate for Mr. Urquhart is he didn’t need this controversy and hassel. It was unnecessary. He has made in my opinion (which you apparenrtly disagree) poor choices that could be the difference come September. As Dan Gaffney said this morning, “it’s not going to go away.” I’m glad I’m not in the barrel this time.

  6. frankknotts Says:

    I will agree that there are those out there who wish to keep this in the news for their own purposes. The voters will decide and though I know it is a very small group in a very conservative district, I just received this.
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    FOR MORE INFORMATION

    CONTACT: Kim Stevenson

    302-588-2760

    Urquhart Campaign Wins First Congressional Straw Poll

    It was Glen Urquhart with a strong lead after the Monday night straw poll at the 35th District Republican Committee meeting in Greenwood. The straw poll occurred after Congressional candidates Kevin Wade, Michele Rollins and Glen Urquhart gave presentations and fielded questions for the committee. The final vote tally was: Glen Urquhart, 21; Kevin Wade, 7; Michele Rollins, 2; and Rose Izzo, 1.

    Glen wishes to thank everyone who listened to his conservative message and stepped out to support him. We hope more people have a chance to hear the message – cut taxes, streamline and/or eliminate regulation to allow entrepreneurs to rebuild this economy and create new and needed jobs.

    Glen has great respect for the ideals of the Republican Party and the people of Delaware who work so diligently to uphold those ideals. He is looking forward to the upcoming Republican Convention on May 15 and the Republican Primary scheduled for September 14.

    So maybe I’m not the only one who can see past the partisan aspect of these attacks.

  7. Collins Batchelor Says:

    I wonder what the results would be if the individuals from the 35th District Republican Committee, who took part in the straw poll, knew about the efforts of Phillips to sell his influence to another candidate before coming to work for the Urquhart campaign. This is no longer an appearance of impropriety, it is an impropriety. Urquhart’s only chance is to cut Phillips loose. Phillips is now the proverbial anchor around his neck. Extreme right wing republicans may like Urquhart, but the rest of the voters in Delaware will ignore someone who makes such an error of judgement and refuses to properly deal with it. Right now with the current state of the Delaware GOP it looks like a cake walk for John Carney. Keep up the good work.

  8. frankknotts Says:

    Collins, please check out Mr. Benntt’s post on my other article”Courage of Your Convictions” it contains an e-mail from Mr. Phillips explaining this issue. Of course if you are one of the people who have made up your mind , then it will not matter. As for the 35th, I am a resident of the 35th, and we are a fairly conservative district. As for the rest of the state? Only time will tell. Some of the other GOP candidates have some anchors of their own. Like taking large bonuses from TARP funds. This is what happens, for right or wrong in a primary. The candidates have to air the others dirty laundry.

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