A HIT LETTER FROM... THE USCF!?

The first hit letter of the 2001 Executive Board election campaign has arrived... and it was mailed by the USCF office!

Sam Sloan has been certified as a nominee for the USCF Executive Board.  He may not be a very popular candidate, having placed last in a field of 16 when he ran in 1999.  But he submitted his signatures as required, which entitled him to a spot on the ballot and to treatment equal to other candidates by the USCF business office as well as the Secretary, who administers the election.

Instead, a mailing recently sent by the USCF office to all the voters, paid for from Federation funds, calls Sloan "a convicted criminal with a prison record," accuses him of "misstatements, distortions, half-truths, libels, and slanders," warns, "don't let this ex-con con you," and winds up, "What has Sam Sloan ever done for chess?" 

WHAT IN THE WORLD IS GOING ON?  Since when is the office allowed to make partisan political mailings?  

Sloan has said, "In 1992-1994 I did in fact serve19 months in prison in Virginia on a child custody matter."
So he probably would not be surprised if supporters of other candidates pointed out his prison record in mailings to the electors.  But to be attacked by the USCF itself is quite another matter.

It has long been recognized that the office must be totally impartial and nonpolitical.  When I asked Jeff Loomis a few weeks ago whether the office could be used to transmit nominating petitions to the Secretary in order to provide a record of what was sent in case of dispute, Loomis replied that he was afraid this might be seen as office involvement in politics, which is prohibited.  USCF Secretary Doris Barry referred to even my question to Loomis as "a serious transgression" and said, "Fortunately, Jeff, realized that Bill's actions were inappropriate."

How inappropriate, then, is what has now occurred?  The USCF office has mailed a "USCF Delegates" BINFO packet not only to the Delegates as commonly done in the past, but to the Alternate Delegates as well, reaching all 538 voters for the election to be held this August.  The outer envelope has a return address of "United States Chess Federation, 3054 NYS Route 9W, New Windsor, NY 12553." 

After a cover sheet from the Executive Director on top of the pile of hundreds of pages of material and a "Contact Information" blank to be filled out after that, the third sheet of paper in this mailing is a letter on USCF stationery, saying "President Tim Redman," which begins "To: USCF Delegates" and "From: Tim Redman."  Pages 3 through 5 of Redman's 8-page letter include the attack on Sloan; see yesterday's post for full text.

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