Thursday, August 27, 2009

Complaint and Petition to be Delivered to the Commonwealth Attorney – Complaint Attached

Mark Powell and President Obama

Mark Powell and President Obama



Mark Douglas Powell lived abroad and moved around in the U.S. until he was able to put down roots in Roanoke in 2006. Powell said that he has “always embraced and supported the core principles of the Democratic Party.”

As a precinct captain Powell organized and managed volunteers for Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. He registered voters and opened his home for precincts to use for Election Day operations. He knocked on thousands of doors.

Powell was asked to introduce Evan Bayh who replaced Joe Biden in an Obama Rally in October. His most memorable day was when he was asked to drive in then Senator Obama’s motorcade during his visit to Roanoke. He was a volunteer on now Senator Jim Webb’s campaign and worked for the local city Democratic candidates in 2008.

Why then does such a “yellow-dog” Democrat and member of the Roanoke City Committee feel compelled to complain to the Commonwealth Attorney about his Democratic state representative, Delegate Onzlee Ware?

Since being Martin Jeffrey’s campaign manager during the June Primary Powell has been disillusioned by the lack of transparency of the candidate’s campaign filings and the complacency he says he has experienced with the Virginia State Board of Elections. Jeffrey ran against Delegate Onzlee Ware in the Democratic Primary.

Powell had complained to the Commonwealth Attorney when he was unsuccessful in gaining copies of Del. Ware’s primary filing petition. At the deadline for submitting petition signatures Powell had an altercation with Tony Reed, the Democratic Chair of the Roanoke City Committee. He then filed simple assault against Reed that were eventually dismissed.

On Thursday at 11:00 AM following delivery of the complaint along with a petition of over 300 signatures Powell will make a public statement on the steps of the Roanoke City Courthouse. There he will explain the complaint and his compelling reasons for his decision. Members of the press are invited said Powell. Powell has confirmed that he will release to the press a copy of the complaint along with a statement following delivery of his complaint to the Commonwealth Attorney Thursday morning.

In an email Powell wrote:

“The findings that I will be presenting in the form of a complaint stem from research that I have been conducting since April 2009 regarding the Ware campaign’s use of political campaign funds. I have had ongoing conversations with the State Board of Elections, the State Corporation Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, and others that relate to these matters of campaign finance. Most of the information related to the complaint has come directly from the State Board of Elections website and is available to the public.

The complaint alleges that Delegate Ware has been engaged in a long pattern of wrongdoing in violation of state and federal laws. The state board has written to the Delegate that it considers his filings “suspicious.” The State Board of Elections, as recently as this week has contacted me to acknowledge that staff is continuing to review the complaints that I have lodged. They will be considering matters regarding Delegate Ware at an upcoming meeting of the board. I am putting forth this complaint, along with a petition of over three hundred concerned residents of the region, in order to compel the Commonwealth Attorney to investigate these allegations and/or compel other agencies to investigate these matters.

Note that I will ask the Commonwealth Attorney’s office of Roanoke to recuse itself from considering these matters given the sitting Commonwealth Attorney, Don Caldwell’s longtime friendship with; financial campaign support of, and public endorsement of Delegate Onzlee Ware. I am confident that in time the State Board of Elections will give these matters consideration as well. However, I am dismayed that the SBE has not followed through with their responsibilities under Virginia State Code regarding the review and corrections of Delegate Ware’s campaign finance filings as required by law. The fact that the State Board of Elections has not fulfilled its duty does not in any way excuse, in my opinion, wrongdoing by any elected official.

As a Democrat, making this complaint distresses me. However, the more I ponder Delegate Ware’s campaign finance issues and ethics, the more I am convinced that these matters must be seriously addressed. Having been in office for more than five years, Delegate Ware cannot claim to be unfamiliar with Virginia election law. As a practicing attorney he should be more than familiar with the legal code of Virginia.

The public should not interpret this complaint to be a complaint against the Democratic Party; it is not. It is a complaint against a person who happens to represent many of us in the state legislature. I fully support and have worked tirelessly to further support the core principles of the Democratic Party and will continue to do so.

I am compelled to deliver a comprehensive complaint to the Commonwealth’s Attorney regarding the campaign finance issues of the sitting Delegate in the 11th House District, Onzlee Ware. I am directed to do so by Title 24 of the Virginia Code that reads:

§ 24.2-1019. Complaints and allegations concerning election law offenses.
Any complaint or allegation concerning unlawful conduct under this title shall be filed with the attorney for the Commonwealth of the county or city in which the alleged violation occurred.”


NOTE: Repeated phone calls and emails from RFP over the last month to both David Allen, Campaign Finance Manager and James Alcorn, the Policy Advisor with the State Board of Elections have gone unanswered.

Related Article: Del. Onzlee Ware Has 10 Days to Respond to the State Board of Elections

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Election 2009, Politics, State Politics

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Comments (4)

[…] again a writer for The Roanoke Star-Sentinel–Valerie Garner of The Roanoke Free Press–has engaged in the dissemination of false and misleading […]

Henry Hale

August 26th, 2009 at 10:46 PM    

Let the truth come out, so everyone will be satisfied that their concerns have been heard and addressed. Then, and only then, will any suspicions be alleviated. Name calling won’t resolve any of these problems; ensuring the Mr. Powell and his constituents’ questions/issues are bought to resolution is the only means of silencing the crowd.


August 27th, 2009 at 1:29 AM    

Mr. Allen responded to my telephone call Wednesday afternoon and confirmed as he has many times before that the State’s Attorney, Mr. Hopper is still reviewing the allegations.

He made clear again that the SBE’s authority is limited.

Mr.Hopper is the State’s Attorney assigned as an adviser to the SBE.

The letter’s contents is a matter of attorney/client privilege and cannot be summoned by FOIA – the SBE being the Client. Just have to wait until Hopper completes his review.

Mr. Allen apologized for neglecting to return my calls and emails over the past month as my “NOTE” refers to.

The bottom line is nothing has changed and the State’s Attorney is still conducting the review.

E. Duane Howard

August 27th, 2009 at 1:32 PM    

Thank God we have people is this country who have fortitude, stamina and guts to stand up to the “Status Quo” and probe, ask question, and do not rest until the answer come forth. What is wrong with seeking the truth? It would appear there are many out there with their own personal agenda in criticizing and attacking Mark Powell more than they are with having the truth revealed. Greater question here is what do they fear if they think there is no wrong doing going on?

AND, should a complete discovery of questions and issues raised reveal no wrong doing with Mr. Ware, then to dome degree Mr. Powell’s effort will be for naught, but he still should be praised and commended for the effort of keeping our politician’s on the straight and narrow. Wrong doings with politicians are as old as time itself. When we stop questioning and accept the status quo……..Then is the time to be seriously concerned.

E. Duane Howard

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