Anastasia from Ohio Daily Blog was at last weekend’s ODP Ohio Democratic Women’s Caucus meeting and reports that State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) unleashed a torrent of criticism about how the Lancer Group’s payroll screw up hurt the Ohio Democratic Party with the African-American community:
Hundreds of workers were left standing outside a locked campaign headquarters in the cold on Election Day. Said Turner, “They were ready to riot. If Representative Williams and I had not shown up, they would have rioted.”
She pointed out that “99.9%” of these people were black, and that this was one of the Democratic Party’s most faithful constituencies. Turner’s fiery comments emphasized how crucial they are to the party and how essential it is that they be treated with respect, which she made clear she didn’t think they had been or were being.
One of the others — I think it was Williams — asked what if anything would be done for people who incurred fees for the bouncing checks. Chairman Chris Redfern assured her that the party would reimburse the cost. Still, that may be cold comfort to people who feel disrespected.
Once the Lancer Group screwed up the payroll (their primary, if not sole, duty in the GOTV operation, we’ve been told from multiple sources) the Ohio Democratic Party was in a no-win situation. You had a group of people who are also a major constituency of the party, and they’ve been left to scramble to get money they were owed by the party. It doesn’t matter to them who was responsible, but that it gets fixed.
From all accounts, ODP has agreed to do everything it can be expected to be done to make the situation right, but it knows that all it can do is mitigate the damage the Lancer Group wrought.
In a perfect world, a political vendor wouldn’t screw up and send hundreds of paid canvassers left with checks they cannot cash or get honored. And once you leave that perfect world, ODP is left in a position in which it cannot win, but only lose worse. ODP, and even the Lancer Group, did what they could to resolve the situation. Once ODP became aware of the situation, I simply don’t know what ODP could have expected to do to mitigate the situation any better for the folks waiting to get paid than they did. ODP wasn’t really liable to pay the bounced check fees on checks a third-party vendor drafted, but it did because it was the moral thing to do to get this matter resolved.
I talked to a person who was also in the room during the discussion and added a few more things that Redfern told the crowd a few other things that ODP is prepared to do about the Lancer Group:
- Promise to never do business with the Lancer Group again.
- Notify in writing every State party about ODP’s experience with the Lancer Group and strongly urge those State parties to avoid doing business with Lancer;
- Sue them. Redfern had told me personally they were prepared to do so, but didn’t want it out there a few weeks ago because Lancer still had ODP’s money in which to pay people, and they feared Lancer might freeze the accounts;
ODP has long understood the gravity of the situation. And I think if anyone has a reasonable suggestion as to what more they could do, they’d welcome it.