Black caucus issues statement; asks, “Where’s the media?
By Roger McCredie- The African American Caucus of the North Carolina Democratic Party is calling for the removal of state Democratic Chairman Patsy Keever.
And caucus members and others are now complaining that the move to oust Keever, which they say was announced statewide, is receiving no play in the media.
The complaint alleges that Keever, as state chair, was responsible for “wrongfully and deliberately, if not illegally” conducting conventions in “unconstitutional congressional Districts.”
Apparently that includes each and all of the state’s 13 congressional districts, whose configuration is in a sort of judicial limbo pending a resolution by the U.S. Supreme Court of the state’s redistricting controversy.
The petition itself alleges, “NCDP Chairperson Patsy Keever-Aycock’s wrongfully, direct/indirect, without authority, deliberately and recklessly imposed her personal and family designed racial discriminatory practices against the AAC-NCDP Auxiliary Caucus Administration and Operation [sic].”
It does not define “personal and family designed racial discriminatory practices.”
A press release prepared and circulated by the Caucus states, “The facts and the Federal Court Judges rulings and decisions say the NC congressional Districts were unconstitutional and violated the 14th amendment equal protection clause and also violated the Voting Rights Act. The facts also reveal the courts decisions are well known to most if not all NC political legislative members in the Democratic and Republican Parties Since February 17, 2016.
“Yet,” the release continues, “NCDP Chairperson Patsy Keever (Aycock) and her 13 NC Congressional District chairs deliberately disregarded/ignored the Federal courts ruling and decisions; that the 13 NC Congressional Districts had to be redrawn and filed with the court on a date certain; that no elections can be held in those districts until the 13 Congressional districts have been redrawn.”
This is apparently a reference to the action of a three-judge federal court panel, which in February threw out the congressional voting maps that had been drawn by the Republican-dominated General Assembly in 2011. That ruling found that two of the state’s congressional districts, the first and the twelfth, had been gerrymandered along racial lines.
At that time – with a March primary pending — the court ordered the state to redraw the maps immediately, and to hold no U.S. House elections until the new maps were in place.
The United States Supreme Court said Monday it will take up the North Carolina redistricting when its new term begins in October. Meanwhile, state Democrats held their convention on June 11 without incident, although records indicate Keever was “served” with the complaint on June 10, the day before the convention met.
The complaint/petition was signed by 125 state Democrats. It was spearheaded by Valeria Conyers, the second vice president of the state Democrats’ African-American Caucus; Chenita Johnson, the first vice president of Forsyth County Democratic Party AAC; and Perry Graves, an AAC member from Rockingham. It sets out 28 charges of “misconduct” by Keever.
While most of the charges have to do with alleged violations of the Plan of Organization — the state party’s rule book – they also include allegations that Keever interfered with the AAC’s efforts to have former AAC chairman Willie Fleming removed for alleged malfeasance in office.
Fleming had been accused of “taking money from the AAC” and of keeping in office a treasurer who, according to the petition, “didn’t file a report for three years.” The petition says Keever was aware of the accusations against Fleming but nevertheless kept him on board the state party’s administration in an advisory capacity, after she took office in February of 2015, despite vehement objections from the AAC.
Under the party’s own Plan of Organization, the petition, having been received, would be forwarded to its executive council for review. If the executive council, which consists of some 20 party members statewide, should determine that further action were warranted, the petition would then be sent to the executive committee, which comprises some 600 members.
There is no indication in state party documents that this has been done, or where the matter currently rests within the bosom of the party.
And although the petition and the press release elaborating on it are readily viewable online and the release itself was distributed to media outlets across the state, AAC members say they are frustrated that there has been no coverage of their actions by “mainstream” state media.
“ Where’s the media?” columnist Markeese Young asked. “North Carolina’s print and broadcast media were everywhere when North Carolina Republicans had their internecine war earlier this year, but they have disappeared now that a large group of black Democratic Party officials are at odds with the state Democratic Party leadership.”
Young pointed out that the unabridged complaint runs to “more than 80 pages.” He said, “The most notable accusations are that Chairwoman Keever ”fostered a racist environment“ for black Democrats and that she encourage [s] infighting within the Black Caucus.”
Google News searches for “Patsy Keever petition” and “Patsy Keever African American Caucus,” conducted just prior to press time garnered no results. Locally, no mention of the controversy has been made by any media outlets. A more detailed search yields reportage on the websites Lady Liberty 1885 and Media Circus.
The AAC’s attack on Keever is the latest in a series of controversies that have dogged Keever since before she assumed the leadership of the state’s Democrats. Shortly after she announced her candidacy for party chairman, 8th District Chairman Grace Galloway resigned from the party altogether, saying in an angry farewell letter that Keever’s election to the chairmanship “would further divide the party.”
Galloway cited another controversy, the so-called “shaming letter” sent over Keever’s signature to registered Democrats in at least four counties, saying records indicated they had not voted in the 2010 elections. The letters were seen by many as an implied threat and an invasion of privacy.
Some Democrats have also complained of Keever’s family baggage: she is married to James Aycock, a descendant of Democratic kingpin and governor Charles B. Aycock, who in later days fell out of favor in Democratic circles because of his involvement in white supremacist activities. Keever’s supporters have countered that such guilt-by-association is defamatory and has no effect on her ability to chair the party.