David Brat, the long-shot challenger to Congressman Eric Cantor (R-VA) in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, is demanding an investigation into the new executive director of the Virginia Republican party, Shaun Kenney, after it was revealed Kenney’s consulting firm is now on Cantor’s payroll.
“If Eric Cantor’s campaign or any of his affiliates has hired Shaun Kenney’s consulting firm, any pretense of fairness in the upcoming Seventh District Congressional Race is diminished,” Brat wrote in a letter to Pat Mullins, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia (RPVA).
Brat told PJ Media Tuesday he wanted an investigation into the matter, but the letter, sent Wednesday, represents a formal demand to the state party.
On Monday, a posting by a contributor at the blog Kenney founded, Bearing Drift, revealed that a consulting firm Kenney co-founded with his brother Jason, K6 Consulting, recently landed Cantor as a client, igniting a firestorm of controversy within Virginia’s Tea Party community.
On Tuesday, Kenney told Breitbart News “My brother Jason advises for the Cantor campaign, absolutely. Been very open about that.”
Kenney added “I have a very strong reputation in Virginia for being able to bridge the gap between Tea Party and establishment Republicans. I am extremely proud of the work we have done for Majority Leader Eric Cantor and former Governor George Allen, as well as our Tea Party stalwarts such as Pete Snyder, Curtis Colgate, and E.W. Jackson — among others.”
Brat’s letter asks for an investigation and review of ties between K6 and Cantor, but does not call for Kenney’s resignation.
“How long has this relationship existed, and is there a relationship with Young Guns PAC or any other Cantor affiliated political committees?” Brat asked.
“If so,” Brat continued, “for how long have these relationships existed, do these relationships continue, is Mr. Kenney still involved in any way with his consulting firm, does he profit in any way from that firm’s business, or does he do any work of any sort that contributes to the profitability and branding of that firm?”
“These unanswered questions are why we are calling on you as Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia to investigate these issues thoroughly and impartially,” Brat stated in the letter. “We ask for an independent investigation into the relationship between Shaun Kenney, K6 Consulting Group, Eric Cantor, and the Republican Party of Virginia. The ethical and legal findings should be made public as soon as possible.”
Brat also raised questions about whether the arrangement violates party rules, which prohibit material financial interests that “would, or reasonably could, affect a Responsible Person’s or family member’s judgment with respect to transactions in which the Party is involved.”
Kenney did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Brat’s letter.
A review of records at the web site of Virginia’s State Corporation Commission indicates that Shaun Kenney’s wife, Melissa Kenney, is the registered agent for K6 Consulting Group, a limited liability company.
Breitbart previously reported that Kenney’s appointment came at a critical time for the party, with no major statewide political office held by a Republican and a bitter civil war brewing at the county level between Tea Party activists and establishment Republicans.
“It takes a little bit of finesse, twenty years of experience with the party, and generally being tolerated by all side to be an effective executive director,” he told Breitbart News on April 3. “The executive director is kind of like the first diplomat. You listen to all sides, give them the truth, and they generally respect that.”
But a series of missteps on Kenney’s parts has left some Tea Party activists wondering publicly if the conventions and primaries can be run in a fair and unbiased manner under his leadership.
First came reports of a February blog post in which he referred to opponents of illegal immigration as “nativists” and called for their purging from the party. Then, in his first week on the job, Kenney invited representatives of the pro-amnesty immigration lobby in for a video coffee clatch at RPVA headquarters.
Now the Cantor revelation, which has incensed some on the right.
Larry Nordvig of the Richmond Tea Party told Breitbart News on Wednesday “[i]n order to work with Kenney going forward, Tea Party conservatives would need to see a track record of fairness and honesty.” According to Nordvig, “that requires the one thing the GOP doesn’t have–time! The Republican Party of Virginia needs to ‘right the ship’, and must do so quickly!”
“Party dysfunction has already resulted in devastating state-wide losses,” Nordvig added. “The GOP civil war between the true conservatives and the Party ‘establishment’ political elites, like Cantor and Kenney, will not be over until one side devours the other, or the right person can be found to somehow bridge the gap between the two.”