Mike Allen reported last week that the American Conservative Union asked FedEx for some $2 million in return for the group’s work on its behalf in a legislative dispute involving the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board. Allen disclosed that ACU chairman David Keene flipped and sided with UPS after FedEx refused to engage the ACU’s services.
Allen’s story includes a copy of the ACU letter to FedEx outlining its proposed services. The letter states: “We stand with FedEx in opposition to this legislation.” The letter is signed by ACU executive vice president Dennis Whitfield.
Allen also posts a copy of the letter signed by ACU chairman David Keene taking the side of UPS in the legislative dispute. The letter bears the logos of the groups whose signatories are on the letter, the ACU included. It does not indicate that Keene was signing in his personal capacity or that the indicated affiliation of the signatories indicated has a limited purpose.
The ACU stands by the the position stated in its offer to Fed Ex. According to Whitfield, the ACU has therefore not changed its position on the legislatiion. What about ACU chairman David Keene? According to Whitfield, “Keene endorsed the second letter as an individual[.]”
Really? It should be noted that among the services offered by Whitfield for the ACU’s indicated asking price were “op-eds and articles written by the ACU’s Chairman David Keene[.]” This pungent detail somehow escapes both Mike Allen and the New York Times in its derivative story.
FedEx is not amused. It has obviously decided to expose the ACU’s flexibility on purported matters of principle for the right price. It must be a funny matter of principle involved in the legislation for the ACU’s chairman and executive vice president to be on opposing sides. I seem to recall a famous Republican who said something once about a house divided.
UPDATE: The point I make in the fifth paragraph occurred to me after I posted this. I have taken the liberty of adding it to the post. It should also be noted that the Wall Street Journal carries a good article today by Alex Roth on the underlying legislative issue dividing FedEx and UPS.
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