As the OC Political correspondent that lives and works in Washington DC I do not generally have time to write any articles for what has been called a local blog. This story which is being talked about in DC has some local Orange County ties. When I first heard the story while at lunch it sounded so preposterous that I figured peopled had been watching to many mafia movies. Once I got sent the Daily Caller link I was stunned.
The title I intended to use for the post although it was longer than would fit in the box was: “Never Bring a Knife to an Ideas Fight… The California Connection to Another Unprofessional and Brand Harming Campaign Consultant.
It appears local political consultant Jason Roe who is well-known in DC and his campaign firm in which he is a partner (Revolvis) is involved in a bit of controversy stemming from a primary election campaign in which he is involved. The heated race is taking place in Florida’s 7th Congressional District between Sandy Adams and John Mica. Both campaigns are making accusations against each other but rarely do the consultants get involved. In order for you to be able to follow along Roe is working on the Adams campaign.
It appears to have started when the Adams campaign levied accusations of threats from the Mica campaign. After the accusation was made the Mica campaign dropped a bombshell which has far more credibility because they named names.
Asked to comment on the alleged threats, Mica, through a spokesperson, told TheDC that the claims are “a total fabrication, and the only campaign who has threatened supporters is hers, when her paid political consultant, Jason Roe, sent a knife through the U.S. mail to one of our supporters.”
This is a really bad idea to send a knife in the mail to anyone, especially a police officer. Police officer Jim Bomford who was the recipient of the knife might be willing to pursue this in a legal forum against Roe although that is not for certain.
Here is the part of the story with some background on Bomford:
The recipient of the knife was retired New York police officer Jim Bomford, the president of the Ronald Reagan Republican Assemblies of Florida.
Bomford, who provided a photo of the knife to TheDC, explained that both Mica and Adams were members of his organization. He knew that Mica planned to run for re-election in the newly redistricted 7th District, but was waiting to announce it until the redistricting map was final. When Adams, who was redistricted into the 7th said that she, too, would run in that district – instead of running in a different district with no incumbent – Bomford said he spoke with her to try to convince her not to face off against Mica.
It is not illegal to mail knives through the United States Postal Service since they do not explode, catch fire, or cause any direct threat to those handling the parcel. The real issue that Roe faces is the charges made of issuing threats against a police officer.
I have personally met Jason before and he was very cordial with me and I was never familiar with any “recklessness” that he may have taken part in on any of the other campaigns that I have seen from afar. Bomford is not somebody that runs in the same circles as me in DC but he apparently feels otherwise about Roe.
“I advised her that Jason tends to be reckless,” Bomford said. He explained that he knew Roe from long before this campaign “because I represent retired police officers on Capitol Hill.” Roe previously worked as chief of staff to Florida Rep. Tom Feeney.
Roe resigned his position as deputy campaign manager to Mitt Romney in 2007, Hotline On-Call reported at the time, after the FBI asked questions of his former boss, Feeney, regarding a golf trip he took with superlobbyist Jack Abramoff to Scotland in 2003.
The part that really bothered me was the next portion of the article which reminded me of the Godfather scene where a fish is mailed to the Corleone family indicating that Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes. I am not a consultant but this could be construed as a threat on one’s life even if the recipient does not mention that to the press:
“I said I just want to keep this between us,” Bomford told Adams.
“Instead of keeping it to herself, she apparently immediately ran back to Jason … and told Jason what I had said,” Bomford alleged. “Three days later I had the knife in the mail.”
With the knife, he said, was “a subtle warning, you know, ‘you’re stabbing your friends in the back.’”
“I never interpreted it as a threat on my life … my feeling was that he was basically telling me that in the future anything I do [on Capitol Hill] is going to be interfered with,” Bomford said.
Bomford called it “a really dumb thing to do,” and said that it proved his point that Roe was “reckless.” “This is what I was concerned with Sandy,” he said.
Bomford said he went to Adams and asked her why she had told Roe what he said. According to Bomford, Adams responded, “that’s not my problem.” At which point, he said, he told her that his organization would not be supporting her in any way.
The admins at OC Political requested that if I was going to write the article I had to include the response from the campaign where the knife came from, so here is how they responded and I do agree that the candidate should not be held responsible for what mistakes that the campaign team makes:
The Adams campaign tells the story differently.
“Mr. Bomford refused to show Sandy the letter, after several requests. She encouraged him to file a police report,” said Lisa Boothe, Adams’ communications director.
But ultimately, she said, the incident “has nothing to do with the campaign. He never showed her the letter, he never filed a report, and this continues to stay between the two of them [Bomford and Roe].”
Bomford provided TheDC with photographs of the pocket knife and the envelope it came in – which has a return address of Revolvis Strategies, Roe’s consulting firm. He did not provide a picture of the note.
When Roe was asked by The Daily Caller to give a statement I give him credit for having the guts to not deny the charges of mailing the knife but gave a totally different story about what set him off to mail the knife along with the fact that he did not intend it as a threat:
Roe did send the knife, he confirmed to TheDC, but he explained that it was certainly not meant in a threatening way, and said that the note he wrote made that clear.
“That would be quite a variation on the reality,” he said, when presented with Bomford’s account of the story.
Roe said he met Bomford while working as chief of staff for Rep. Feeney, and described him as a “political gadfly … who was, what I would call, a constant troublemaker, and part of my job was to minimize the trouble that he could cause for the office.”
“We never had a hostile relationship, we actually developed at least a good working relationship,” Roe said.
All of this was before Roe was brought on as a consultant by Adams.
The way Roe explained it, “at some point [Bomford] approached Sandy and handed her a letter in which he accused me and my wife of being corrupt.” Roe assured TheDC that it was a letter, not a conversation, as Bomford had said.
“Needless to say, it kind of caught me by surprise that this happened … I was pretty aggravated by it. It was kind of uncalled for, he and I did not have an adversarial relationship, and I was kind of annoyed by it,” Roe said.
In response, Roe said, “I sent him a handwritten note that said, ‘Dear Jim, Sandy relayed to me what you said about me. I was disappointed and in the midst of it I extracted this knife from my back so you can use it on one of your other quote unquote friends. Sincerely, me. P.S. by the way, I hear you slandered my wife as well, who I’m pretty sure you’ve never even met.”
“He then, went on to tell everyone that I sent him a threat, which is not anywhere near the reality … the knife was making a point, I pulled this from my back,” Roe explained, saying that the fact that Bomford had not yet produced a note completely undermined his story.
“So I did send him a knife, and I unequivocally will say it was not a threat,” Roe said.
“Incidentally, if we’re going to go tit for tat on threats,” Roe said. “Mica has had lobbyists call me and tell me that if I stay with Sandy, that I will regret it and I will get no more clients out of Washington,” Roe alleged. He declined to give the name of any of the lobbyists who had called him.
Whether it is fair or not I picture that some mailers with knives will be landing in some mailboxes in Florida sometime soon.
In the effort of full disclosure I have done no lobbying work on behalf of anybody mentioned in this story.