In another stunning example of partisan behavior, Broward Supervisor of Elections (SOE) Brenda Snipes headlined a Democrat panel for political candidates at a conference organized by her office’s attorney. Snipes was the part of the “Running for Office and Promoting Issue-Based Campaigns” session at the 2014 South Florida Women Of Color Empowerment Conference in Fort Lauderdale. As REDBROWARD reported last week, the group is the brainchild of Burnadette Norris Weeks, Snipes’ “right-hand” private contract lawyer. Snipes is a member of the group’s advisory board.
Earlier this month, Broward County Commissioner Mark Bogen asked Snipes about her employees playing any role in matters regarding candidates they may have supported. Bogen asked if Snipes knew Norris Weeks supported his opponent in the 2014 election. Snipes said she was not aware of Norris Weeks’ support for Lisa Aronson. The election faced several legal challenges with Norris Weeks representing Snipes in court.
Hoping to short-circuit his line of questioning, Snipes called Bogen a “bully” and rejected calls for her to be a “leader in ethics.” When Bogen placed his request on the County Commission agenda, Norris Weeks claimed it was a race-based attacked on Snipes’ office. Bogen pulled the item for a later meeting.
Snipes’s claim to be unaware of Norris Weeks’ partisan political actions strains credulity. In a June 8th editorial urging Snipes to accept Bogen’s proposal, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel wrote she must, “Apply the highest ethical standards, integrity and professionalism, and avoid even the appearance of impropriety.”
At the 2014 conference, Snipes’ panel provided an “overview of the key elements of a campaign, including assessing and establishing oneself as a candidate and voter contact. This session will also cover how to promote and support an issue-based campaign.”
Moderated by Kathy Eggleston, the panel was composed solely of Democrats: Snipes, Deirdre MacNab of the League of Women Voters, Rep. Hazelle Rogers and Palm Beach Commissioner Priscilla Taylor.
Why is the Supervisor of Elections giving advice on “establishing oneself as a candidate?” The Broward SOE website has complete instructions on how to file for office. Was Snipes providing different information? Was she giving inside hints and tips?
As for “voter contact,” the Broward SOE website gives information on purchasing voter information. Was Snipes talking about other forms of voter contact?
Which “issue-based campaigns” were discussed? Did Snipes offer opinions on which issues she preferred over others?
REDBROWARD exposed get out the vote rallies organized by Norris Weeks were promoted by Congressman Alcee Hastings and Sun Sentinel editor Douglas Lyons.
Hastings and Lyons sat next to each other at Snipes’ “Running For Office” panel. Days after the Sun-Sentinel editorial was published, Lyons announced he was leaving the Sun-Sentinel. BrowardBeat.com wrote, “Speculation in the city room is that Lyons was either laid off because of the newspaper’s dire finances or he had a falling out with Rosemary O’Hara, the editorial page editor and Lyons’ boss.”
Lyons told Facebook friends he was interested in starting a blog.
Perhaps his friend Burnadette Norris Weeks can help.