Weekly Update: Vernon the Victim

July 9, 2010

It’s been a busy week of revelations about Vernon Parker, GOP candidate for Congress in Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District.  Let’s review where we are in the ongoing “Vernon the Victim” saga.

1.  Parker, through his business VBP Group LLC attempted to use affirmative action laws and become classified through the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) “small disadvantaged business” in an effort to move ahead of others to try to secure a taxpayer-funded $1.25 million contract from the federal government.

2.  It has been reported in the media that Parker’s business did use the preferential treatment to secure that $1.25 million taxpayer-funded opportunity.  Should information become available indicating that Parker did not apply for the preferential treatment under the affirmative action program, we will share it here.  Otherwise, a $1.25 million contract funded by taxpayers is not an opportunity afforded to most.

3.  According to the filings, the government found that Parker was still an employee in the federal bureaucracy when he applied for the position (which is also a taxpayer-funded position).  As reported in the media, it was further alleged that Parker may have falsified records in making this application.  Apparently, Parker disputes that he was an “employee” and claims that he stopped being an “employee” days earlier and became a contractor himself (who didn’t have a contract, still received the same salary and still received the same benefits, according to what was reported in the media).

4.  Parker’s business, if you look at his website appears to essentially be modeled after the idea of revenues ultimately coming directly from the taxpayer-funded government contracts and benefitting from the existence of liberal, big government programs and helping others cash in on taxpayer money.  To date, according to a search for such information, we do not know who Parker’s clients were at VBP Group LLC and whether any of them received or attempted to receive any taxpayer-funded grants, loans or contracts.  Likewise we do not know if any have received or attempted to take advantage of preferential treatment such as that Parker’s business directly attempted to secure.

5.  In what appears to be as much of botched public relations move to obscure Parker’s alleged wrongdoing and efforts to secure $1.25 million in a taxpayer-funded contract, Parker has sued the government and wants the taxpayers to give him and additional $2 million for “injuries sustained” including “past and future medical expenses, lost wages, financial damages, emotional harm and pain and suffering” presumably resulting from the investigation and findings made by the government and termination of Parker’s company from the program that was allowing him to receive preferential treatment.

6.  Despite the obvious problems of filing a lawsuit and claiming to be a victim when you apparently have developed a pattern of behavior designed to benefit from victim status, the effort to secure additional monies from the taxpayers does obscure the underlying issue of what legal activities Parker’s firm was engaged in.  If the public and media focuses on the legal questions, the Parker team is no doubt hoping they won’t ask what other efforts to secure taxpayer dollars or preferential treatment directly or for others the firm might have engaged in.  It will be worth watching to see any such information is publicly disclosed.  It’s hard to imagine voters providing Parker with enough support to win until a myriad of questions are answered.  Did Parker’s business secure the taxpayer-funded government contract?  Have they ever secured any other taxpayer-funded contracts?  Have they ever helped any other entities apply for preferential treatment or benefit from preferential treatment from the government in securing taxpayer-funded grants, loans or contracts?

7.  According to a news report this week, Parker allegedly spread an unsubstantiated rumor that one of the men running against him had previously been charged with sexual assault.

8.  The same news report indicated that despite attempting to secure the benefits of affirmative action at a minimum in the form of a $1.25 million taxpayer-financed contract (separate from additional $2 million Parker is seeking from taxpayers currently), Parker allegedly claimed in an editorial board interview with a Phoenix paper that he did not support affirmative action.

9.  And, Parker allegedly suggested to a newspaper publisher that another man running against him may have been in rehab for drugs and alcohol though there has thus far no basis for spreading such an rumor about another of his opponents.

10.  Operatives and close supporters of Parker have been making efforts to make veiled or implied threats against at least one more of his opponents to get out of the race or become an additional victim untrue and completely unsubstantiated rumors.  It is unclear whether Parker has been informed or directed such efforts or not.

11.   Parker, who has enthusiastically endorsed John McCain’s reelection bid against JD Hayworth, may well be in the process of cutting a political deal with others to secure support in the primary by withdrawing his support from McCain and/or reversing his prior position and endorsing Hayworth.  This will be a story to watch and indicative that a backdoor deal may have been reached with Hayworth operatives to push Parker if he gets on board.  Hayworth has not endorsed anyone to date in this race, nor expressed any preference whatsoever publicly (nor has McCain).

Prior to any news being published about Parker’s efforts to secure an additional $2 million from the taxpayers, an earlier post this week solidly made the case that Parker is one of three center/left candidates in the Republican primary.  Vernon Parker’s long-standing, demonstrated record of seeking taxpayer-funded benefits and building a business model seemingly around others attempting to gain similar benefits or navigate the liberal, social program bureaucracy.  Parker, to our knowledge, has yet to disclose information to dispute those appearances and the appearances come from Parker’s very own business website.

These are the underlying problems beneath Parker’s ongoing legal challenges and his effort to secure an additional $2 million from the taxpayers in contesting the government’s finding that he violated requirements and “falsely certified that he was not a federal employee” and that (according the newspaper report from this week) he actually created after-the-fact invoices designed to make it appear that he had a contract with the government (and was a contractor not an employee) while he admitted (according to the news reports this week) that he had no formal signed contract with the government.

Democrats are no doubt licking their chops and hoping that somehow Parker is able to emerge from the Republican primary because of the swirling legal and ethical questions about Parker’s record (and what we have yet to learn) would be a treasure trove of material with which Democrats could attempt to win this seat.  Congressman Shadegg’s seat has been solidly Republican and it appears to be a good year for Republicans nationally.  Parker as the Republican candidate would clearly give the Democrats the best chance at winning this seat that they have ever seen since the District was created and since it was filled by a conservative, John Shadegg.

There have been no indications to date that Parker is considering dropping out of the race in response to these ongoing legal and ethical lapses that are surrounding his candidacy.


3 Responses to “Weekly Update: Vernon the Victim”

  1. Nathan said

    Hmmm – Interesting – Who do you represent? I find it curoius that you will write this stuff but not allow any response. How about doing a bit of digging on the other side of the issue – you might find that the suit has merit? Maybe?

  2. UMBC said

    The Dems would like nothing better than a Parker victory.

  3. rolomonkey said

    Parker’s candidacy hasn’t smelled right from the beginning. PR team has also made campaign stink.

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