I’m hearing a fair amount of concern over PWCRC Chairman Tom Kopko’s work for 51st District candidate Faisal Gill, which showed up on Gill’s latest campaign finance disclosure. Apparently this issue will be the subject of some discussion at tonight’s committee meeting, and will likely soon become a concern for RPV. Some firm resolution to the questions raised by this are sorely needed, as this has great potential to be a campaign issue in the general election.
Not only is there a potential problem with having the effective Chairman of the 51st District being on the payroll for one of the candidates seeking the Republican nomination, but the timing of this episode is deeply disturbing. On January 4th, Julie Lucas asked Tom for a primary to decide the means of nomination. Later in the month, Tom Kopko announced that there would be a convention, which was the method favored by Faisal Gill. On January 5th there is a line item in Faisal’s finance report which showed a $1,000 payment by Faisal Gill’s campaign to Tom Kopko for “consulting.” This timing may well be entirely coincidental. Given that it’s not entirely proper for the chairman of the legislative district committee to be on the payroll of a candidate seeking a nomination in the first place, there are questions being asked about what the actual nature of the work was that was performed for Faisal Gill, and whether that work ended up corrupting the process of establishing the method of nomination in the 51st District.
The appearance of impropriety here is undeniable. This payment has all the hallmarks of the solicitation and acceptance of a bribe. While I have always been convinced that Tom Kopko is an honorable and fair man, this sequence of events is hard to explain in a way that will reassure committee members and the larger public.
UPDATE: After reviewing the call, it seems that delegate forms for the convention are being sent to Tom Kopko’s house. That was a decision of the 51st District committee. That committee has one member: Tom Kopko.
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