Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Debate excluding Republican candidate still charging $70 to get in on website

Debate ticket order form
still showing $70 admission fee
for general public this morning
Responding to a public backlash against the idea of charging voters $70 to hear three Democratic candidates for Montgomery County Executive debate on November 15, event co-sponsor Bethesda Magazine announced on its website yesterday morning that the entry fee would be waived, and the debate open to the public. But Republican candidate Robin Ficker, who remains excluded from the debate, questions why the forum's other sponsor is still charging the $70 admission fee on their website.

As of press time, the debate ticket order form on the Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce website still shows admission charges for members and non-members of the Chamber. It's possible that people are still buying tickets without knowing the event is now free.

Ficker and others continue to press for his inclusion in the debate. A non-profit hosting a debate that promotes only one of the several political parties active in the County raises some questions. Organizations with tax exemptions cannot endorse candidates or parties unless the expenditures are through a separate political action committee. The Chamber has operated such PAC in the past, but it is not listed as the sponsor of this debate.

Another reason Republicans are wary of Ficker's exclusion is that, in heavily-blue Montgomery County, few debates are held after the primaries. Republican, Green Party, Libertarian and independent candidates are given few public forums to reach voters then, and so it is urgent that organizations include them in primary season debates.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steve Hull started this kerfuffle just so Robert Dyer would have to type "Bethesda Magazine" on his blog.

Steve is a genius. :)

Anonymous said...

If you know a Chamber member business or Magazine advertiser, let them know if you don't like this debate setup.

Remind them that Republicans, Independents and Green party folks spend money too.

Anonymous said...

Only in Montgomery County would Republican candidates want to be invited to a Democratic primary debate. Ridiculous. Ficker really is a mini-Trump.

Robin Ficker said...

The Bethesda Beat did a little CYA, not by writing a new article about rescinding the fee, but by interlineating in the old article. They posted this on Labor Day when we know the Bethesda Chamber was not meeting.
The Chamber still has the $70 price on their website and they have a logistical problem: this is a Chamber Dinner where they are charging people for the dinner. So how are they going to accommodate all the non-dinner-paying people into their dinner?
Also the Chamber is a non-profit getting tax advantages. The can't both a non/profit and a partisan organization. They are going to get an IRS complaint.
Look at what George Leventhal said in the mymcmedia article: "I would hope that Roger, Marc and I would make a decision cooperatively on how to proceed."
This whole thing was set up with the council club, Bethesda Beat and the Bethesda Chamber--everybody scratching each other's back.

Anonymous said...

Are we sure this is really Mr. Ficker and not just a Dyer shill account? How can we be sure?

Anonymous said...

Here we go again. Yes, they can have this debate and not jeopardize their non-profit status.
A Chamber of Commerce is known by the IRS as a 501(c)(6) organization (business leagues, chambers of commerce, boards of trade, and similar organizations.)
Lobbying: Allowed --"One of the advantages of the 501(c)(6) tax status is that it allows organizations to engage in unlimited amounts of lobbying. Indeed, legislative and executive advocacy comprise a significant portion of the activities of many business leagues. Although they must abide by certain IRS rules and requirements."

Political Activity: Allowed.--"IRC 501(c)(6) organizations may engage in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to candidates for public office provided that such intervention does not constitute the organization's primary activity."

As I've mentioned before, non-profits aren't all or nothing. They have rules. They can have taxable income. They can have non-deductible expenses. For instance, lobbying may be allowable, but the expenses incurred may not be.

Think of it like individual expenses. You can legally own 3 or more residences that you use personally, but only the mortgage interest of 2 are deductible.

**Quotes are from IRS Exempt Organizations-Technical Instruction manual used for auditor training.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure its the real Ficker. Both are right-wing extremist conspiracy theorists.

Robert Dyer said...

7:32: Because he's actually signed-in with name and photo, unlike you.

7:33: While you are correct that they can lobby and so-forth on business issues, they cannot endorse or favor a particular political party or candidate unless they establish a PAC. As I mentioned, the Chamber has had a PAC as recently as 2010. However, the debate announcement does not cite a PAC as the host, just the Chamber.

Robert Dyer said...

7:36: Which conspiracy theory has Robin Ficker touted? I can't recall any - not that there is anything wrong with talking about a real conspiracy for which one has evidence, such as Hans Riemer's Wall $treet money machine.

Robin Ficker said...

Term Limits got 70% of the vote and majorities in 253 of 257 precincts. Half of the people who voted for it were Democrats. Shy Guy who won't say his name, likely a staffer of one of Term Limited opponents, sees a theorist behind every tree he can see from his county council window.

Anonymous said...

As much as I hate Dyer, I have to agree that this county is extremely unfair to republican challengers. It may be due to the number of registered democrats in the county, but I don't think republican's are ever given a fighting chance in this county. But again, even if you gave them a fighting chance, I doubt any would be able to turn voters who just select along party lines.

Anonymous said...

Dyer, could you please provide a list of contributions to Hans Riemer from "the Wall $treet money machine"?

To date, you've only cited one $500 contribution from Bain Capital.

Anonymous said...

"In 1990, Robin Ficker was publicly reprimanded by the Maryland Court of Appeals upon a finding that he had violated ethical rules prohibiting neglect, engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, and lack of diligence. In March, 1998, he was indefinitely suspended from the practice of law, with the right to reapply for admission after 120 days, arising from violations related to competence, diligence, fairness to opposing counsel and parties, supervising lawyers and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. In August, 1998, he was privately reprimanded by the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission for a violation related to competence. In January, 2002, he was privately reprimanded by the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission for a violation related to client communications. Ficker was again indefinitely suspended from the practice of law in 2007. A dissenting judge in the latest suspension commented, "If disbarment is not warranted in this case for these types of issues, with a respondent with this history, it will never be warranted.""

Anonymous said...

7:36 You are incorrect. Please look at 501(c)(6) on this: (also the table at the end of the page.) They CAN have a PAC, they do not HAVE to. This is from Venable, but used in IRS teachings.

https://www.venable.com/myths-about-lobbying-political-activity-and-tax-exempt-status-06-02-2010/

Anonymous said...

Mr Ficker,
As I mentioned in the other thread, in my conversations with hundreds of local residents, the vote FOR term-limits was tied to the Property Tax increase and their displeasure with the school system and over-development.

Anonymous said...

@7:50

In other words, if Trump was a lawyer, he would be Robin Ficker.

Anonymous said...

Dyer, why are you arguing with IRS guy? He's proved himself here before. He even gives sources.

Anonymous said...

You could set up your Republican Party debate? SNN can sponsor it. Charge $70 also.

Anonymous said...

Would one guy come and pay $70 to hear Robin Dyer and Robert Ficker debating?

At least Ficker has a resume.

Robert Dyer said...

7:48: A substantial number of Hans Riemer's out-of-state Wall Street contributors - and the factories they closed and exact number of jobs they shipped overseas to China - are listed in this very short 1:02 minute video:

https://youtu.be/LqHAMioeh0E

8:12: Trust me, if either the Chamber or Randolph Hills tried to endorse George Leventhal without a PAC, they would be smacked down by the IRS bigtime.

Anonymous said...

Robin, I appreciated your interpretation on why this isn't legal and I appreciate 7:33 as well. Robin, can you comment on 7:33s interpretation?

Anonymous said...

Is hosting an event for one party endorsement? Serious question. What qualifies as endorsement?

Anonymous said...

Robert, can you address this? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Robert. This looks like if is your video. Do you have a 3rd party source?

Have the Chamber or Randolph Hills tried to endorse George Leventhal without a PAC? Has the IRS agreed to smack down on them?

Anonymous said...

The first ever SSN debate? I would pay 20 to see it. It should be held at veterans park.

Anonymous said...

The SNN Republican debate between Robin Dyer and Robert Ficker should be held in the bathroom of the Norfolk Avenue Starbucks.

Anonymous said...

" they would be smacked down by the IRS bigtime."

I have just showed you they wouldn't.
No matter how many WWE references you use, it wouldn't happen.

Anonymous said...

Oh my..folks are still attempting to defend Hoffman's anti-Dyer 'October Surprise' dirty tricks in Randolph Hills?

Anonymous said...

8:38AM, not since IRS guy proved it was allowed.

Anonymous said...

What did Hoffman say about Dyer that wasn't true?

Could someone provide the text or a PDF scan of the mailer?

Robin Ficker said...

You won't win this in the Court of public opinion. Everybody knows that the council argument that the voters Term Limited them because the voters wanted to give them a promotion is baloney. So now they are trying the argument, "we won't let anybody argue with us."

Robin Ficker said...

I've completed almost 40,000 cases in Maryland Courts, more than all the council put together. I won 2 landmark cases in Federal Court overturning 2 state laws which passed almost unanimously forbidding mail solicitations of arrestees. Even the high-fee Md Defense Atty Assoc opposed us in the US Court if Appeals where I won. Now some file sour grapes complaints.
I also got $30,000 in attorney's fees for overturning my a state law in Federal Court which forbid paying people to collect signatures on voter petitions. And I won the frivolous lawsuit financed by our 3 Term Limited opponents which tried to keep Term Limits OFF the ballot.
I was appointed first General Counsel for the National Caucus on the Black Aged by Rosa Parks. And I have been a defense panelist on Nancy Grace's national crime show for years. Plus I'm 10 out of 10 in defending little kids against unjustifiable school suspension issues.

Robin Ficker said...

The Washington Post editorial said today,"The overwhelming approval by Montgomery County voters of Term Limits for members of the County Council was a pretty clear sign of discontent with the legislative body."
So why is the Bethesda Chamber and Bethesda Beat protecting them from someone who had a law office on Wisconsin Ave in Bethesda from 1982-2016?
I've talked to tens of thousands of MoCo residents about the county in the past few years. Our poll had Term Limits getting 63% a year before the 2016 ekection. The property tax and other increases jumped that up to 70%.
Anonymous, don't be a wimp. Give us your name. I guarantee you won't get an appointment with your next County Executive unless I know your real name.

Robin Ficker said...

Plus was Assistant General Counsel for the Information Business Services Division of General Electric and Assistant General Counsel for the National Soft Drink Assn. And am the only County Exec candidate. who has an Honorable Discharge from the US Army.

Anonymous said...

This just looks silly in the non-threaded view on the "web" version.

Robert, why can't you make the web version show comments with subthreads like your mobile version? All your other blogs do this.

Anonymous said...

I concur.

Anonymous said...

Mr Dyer:

Did you reach out to the Chamber and ask about the discrepancy? Or are you waiting for Bethesda Magazine to do the leg work, as they did finding info about the Apex sidewalk closure?

And why do you choose to ignore & delete comments instead of answering simple questions from readers?

Aaron Rosenzweig said...

I know chickens when I see them. Truth is Robin Ficker, if present, would restore the natural pecking order by putting citizens first! This is not a "debate" because, by its very definition, a debate would allow different points of view to be articulated. They are afraid of Robin Ficker because he is candid, well versed, and they know they couldn't handle the questions he would raise.