Candidates seeking endorsement paid thousands to young Democrats

ByGatekeepers Association

Candidates seeking endorsement paid thousands to young Democrats

From AL.com, 1/21/16 by John Archibald

Thursday night the executive board of the Alabama Young Democrats voted to suspend the Jefferson County Young Democrats chapter on assorted charges related to endorsing candidates in the primary. A big complaint was “the appearance of impropriety.”

Because it really does appear propriety took a bag of money and lit out for the hills.

Candidates who paid thousands of dollars to officers of the Jefferson County Young Democrats received the group’s endorsement, prompting cries of pay to play. But we’ll get to that, because it is complicated.

It started last week – I wrote about parts of it a couple of days ago – when Jefferson County Young Democrats President Le’Darius Hilliard announced endorsements. Hours later the state organization declared the endorsements invalid because the Young Democrats’ constitution bans endorsements for the primaries.

But it got nasty.

ayd.PNGThe Alabama Young Democrats say the Jefferson County Democrats are flying too close to the fire.

Hilliard said the state group’s intervention amounted to “sabotage.” He said the county group wasn’t actually making endorsements – even though the headline on his press release read:  “Jefferson County Young Democrats Release 2016 Primary Endorsements.” Instead, he said, his group in December set up a PAC – called the Jefferson County Young Democrats PAC – that issued the endorsements.

Still, the executive board of the state group on Thursday voted to suspend the Jefferson County chapter until the group changes the name of its PAC and meets other demands.

Hilliard said the rift is indicative of the way Democrats in Alabama can’t seem to get along.

“Nobody wants to come together,” he said. “It makes no sense for the chapter to have to fight the state organization.”

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