By Mike Thayer
The following is an email I received a blind copy of from State Rep. Bobby Kaufmann. It so exemplifies what voters are just so sick and tired of. I couldn't have drafted up an article better than how the following email lays it all out in real world fashion. I have decided to post it in its entirety and I've made some comments following the email read.
I think you missed the whole point of my last email. I fully expect and am publically asking for an apology. If you choose not to do so I will have to ask for one very publically Saturday at the LWV forum. I would be shocked if a single member of the LWV would condone your name-calling and personal attacks. Your newsletter was the most unprofessional and vile thing I have read in my time in politics. Without ever discussing the issue with me and worst yet having no accurate knowledge of my past or future attendance you chose to wage a personal attack against me. Just for a reminder, in your words, you called me “childish, rude, disrespectful towards women, hold women’s groups in low regard, and implied I wasn’t a stand-up guy”, just to name some of the things you said. As I stated in my email initially, it takes zero intellectual firepower to call someone names. It take real leadership to voice your concern to another elected official. This is something you did not do.
I am completely taken aback this is even an issue. Every conversation I have had with you has been positive and professional.
I do not take the time to track down every bad thing said about me – I have actual legislating to do. I do, though, think you should be held to a higher standard because you are an elected official. I would never dream of saying the things you said about you or anyone else. I can’t imagine anyone in else in the Johnson County delegation or Board saying those things. I feel I am owed an apology. I have heard back overwhelmingly from my Johnson County folks that were Bcc’d in my first email and I have yet to have someone disagree with me. Keep in mind these aren’t just members of the Johnson County GOP I am speaking of – over 2000 Democrats voted for me and I even won a heavily Democratic township in Johnson County and came close in several others.
Regarding my 11/12 comment here is for clarification:
-3 Iowa City Chamber forums
-4 League of Women Voter forums
-5 forums for each of my 5 Johnson county precincts.
Of the 12 Johnson County events on my calendar I am making 11 of them. My point in telling you this is your little jab about it being a shame my constituents don’t get to hear from me is ridiculous. I also have a problem with you implying my town halls are less important than League forums because they are “non-partisan, open to the public, and recorded.” To be frank, I care more about where my constituents want me to do be and to be doing. They want me to come to their homes, their local libraries, and have face-to-face time with them. All of my town halls are open to the public, non-partisan, and often times recorded by local media.
This will be my last email I will subject my Johnson County constituents and the Board to. I am formally asking for an apology for an unprovoked and undeserved attack that your entire list was subjected to.
I will happily accept, let it go, and put this behind us. I will also happily pass it along to everyone if you choose to do so.
See you Saturday
From: Rod Sullivan [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, February 14, 2014 10:48 PM
To: Kaufmann, Bobby [LEGIS]
Subject: Re: Extraordinary Unprofessionalism
Dear Representative Kaufmann:
I am extremely pleased to hear that you plan to attend 3 out of 4 League events. I'm not certain exactly what you are counting when you say "11/12"; I am more interested in the League events. The League events are nonpartisan, open to the public, televised, and recorded. That makes them critically important.
I know you worked hard on your campaign; that was never in question. And my desire to see elected officials attend these important meetings is hardly partisan; as I noted, I respect former Senator Miller (a very conservative Republican) for his willingness to attend.
I hope you do in fact attend 3/4 League events, and I hope you'll encourage Senator Greiner to do the same. If so, I'll praise you for it.
Meanwhile, I hope you'll share this with your list. Hopefully we all agree that these types of public events are important to our mutual constituents.
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone from i wireless
From: "Kaufmann, Bobby [LEGIS]" <Bobby.Kaufmann@legis.iowa.gov>
Date: Sat, 15 Feb 2014 02:45:28 +0000
Cc: 'email@example.com'<firstname.lastname@example.org>; 'email@example.com'<firstname.lastname@example.org>; 'email@example.com'<firstname.lastname@example.org>; 'email@example.com'<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Extraordinary Unprofessionalism
Cc’d in this email is every member of the Johnson County Board of Supervisors
Bcc’d is every member of my email distribution list for Johnson county – which spans in the hundreds and as many School Board members and City Council members that I have contact with in Johnson County.
Supervisor Rod Sullivan chose to wage an aggressive personal attack against me in this Newsletter – “Sullivan’s Salvos”. First I will copy and paste the direct quotes from Mr. Sullivan’s newsletter than respond accordingly.
“All typically attend the Chamber event. Then Senator Greiner and Representative Kauffman leave Johnson County. They refuse to attend the League events. So their Johnson County constituents never get an opportunity to speak with them, unless they happen to be Chamber members.
First, I cannot believe how rude the GOP folks are toward the League and its’ members. I think the League should make a much bigger deal out of the disrespectful way they are treated. The League should be especially interested in spreading the word to women who live in Washington, Keokuk, and Cedar Counties. Women in those counties should be aware of the low regard in which female organizations are held by these two elected officials.
While Representative Kauffman’s father also chose to purposefully snub the League of Women Voters, not ALL Republicans have always done so. Former GOP Senator David Miller was a regular attendee when he represented southern Johnson County.
I rarely agreed with Senator Miller on anything, but he will always have my respect for showing up and addressing his constituents. He was far too right wing for my tastes, but he was a stand up guy.”
First off, I cringe when people bloviate on issues with which they are incredibly ill-informed. During my election I went to the LWV forum and enjoyed it. Last year I went to 2/4 of the LWV forums. This year three of the four LWV forums are on my schedule and I am looking forward to attending. The only reason I left after the Chamber forum a couple Saturdays ago was because I had a long-held forum scheduled in West Branch.
In addition to a third of my district being in Johnson County I also represent Cedar and Muscatine Counties. I have 21 other forums scheduled. I am also holding town halls in Morse, Solon, Scott township, and Lake MacBride. Given the fact that there are a finite number of Saturdays during this short-session I would offer that making it to 11/12 Johnson County events while simultaneously holding 21 others makes for busy Saturdays.
In addition to attending 11/12 Johnson County forums I also have or plan on attending over 40 other individual community and constituent meetings in Johnson County. I also have knocked on nearly every door in my portion of Johnson County. You don’t have to take my word for it – ask around. I have great relationships with my Johnson County constituents and they all know they have 24/7 access to me via email, personal cell phone, forums, or in-person visits.
My question for everyone in this email is simple – do you expect more from a Supervisor whom you all elected and directly represents you?
Bitter partisan politics are getting old. It is sad to see a member of the Board result to these tired tactics. In addition to it not taking a lot of intellectual firepower to call someone names, it’s embarrassing when the accusations are categorically false.
Supervisor Sullivan, your extraordinary unprofessionalism frankly shocks me. I have a great working relationship with every member of the Johnson County delegation. I have had many conversations with Supervisor Harney. He and I have a great relationship. I count John Etheridge as a friend and my conversations with Supervisors Rettig and Neuzil have always been productive and professional. I have been very excited to work with Rep. Stutsman to try and get legislation important to the Supervisors regarding electronic records.
Why have you chosen to take the bitterly partisan, distasteful, and unprofessional route, particularly on an issue you are so ill-informed on?
Why not come to me in private and have this conversation with me?
To finish, I am formally demanding a public apology for your rude and unprofessional personal attacks. I will accept your apology if you choose to issue one. Either way, I wish to end this kind of behavior and work together for what’s best for the people of Johnson County.
Representative Bobby Kaufmann
Here's why this whole thing is disgusting.... At every level of it....
- That Sullivan always pulls this kind of crap is a surprise to no one.
- That the Board of Supervisors continues to put up with his antics, his crap, his fabrications, his misinformation is a surprise to no one. That nobody on that board has the backbone to publicly admonish Sullivan, to call him out on the carpet for his repeat acts of unprofessional conduct is a surprise to no one. For once I'd just love to hear another member of the board go on record and say something like, "Sullivan, just shut up with your bullshit."
- And while Kaufmann has a valid point in bringing up Sullivan's unprofessionalism, look at how he went about it. He did it a bit on the sly and for political gain, rather than to just point out a wrong and move on. Kaufmann sent out a blind copy to constituents and others rather than follow his own advise to Sullivan, to use Kaufmann's own words, " Why not come to me in private and have this conversation with me?" Kaufmann also knows some on his mailing list are members of the media, some are bloggers like yours truly. Kaufmann calculated that somebody like me - most folks know I have very little respect for Sullivan - would write a scathing article about Sullivan, with the 'controversy' getting some public attention resulting in Kaufmann being viewed by the public very favorably and Sullivan with scorn. Here's the thing, a real leader doesn't grandstand and demand an apology from a cheesy politician like Sullivan, everybody knows the apology if offered, won't be sincere. A real leader doesn't concern himself with political games like that, to make himself look better by tearing another down, by manipulating/teasing the media and bloggers into creating a controversy.
- Kaufmann knows Sullivan is what he is. Pointing out Sullivan's wrongdoing is fine but not actually necessary and to feign alarming frustration is like all of the rest above, examples of the politics voters have become so tired of. Kaufmann wasn't shocked or "taken aback" by what Sullivan wrote, not at all. Kaufmann just isn't that naive. He's just as guilty as Sullivan is in playing partisan political games. Sullivan punched, Kaufmann counter-punched. A real man would have laughed Sullivan off and walked away instead of continuing the silly fight.
Be wary of any politician demanding fairness.