By Paul Gable
It’s not a unique event, but the SCGOP and its Chairman Chad Connelly will be defending another lawsuit in the coming weeks, this time over the verbal bombs Connelly has been dropping on fellow Republican Brian Frank over the last week. Was malice aforethought involved?
According to party records, the SCGOP has spent approximately $366,000 in legal fees during the nearly two years of Connelly’s tenure as chairman. This is all expense that diverts the party from its primary mission of getting candidates elected.
However, that’s another story.
Frank filed his complaint in Cherokee County during the afternoon of Thursday April 25, 2013 alleging Connelly committed both slander and libel against him in written e-mails and verbal speeches delivered from Connelly to a wide audience of the SCGOP membership.
Connelly personally and as chairman of the party, the SCGOP Executive Committee and the SCGOP proper are all named as defendants.
The key area of the lawsuit alleges Connelly “intentionally” made false statements about Frank to harm his reputation and ostracize Frank from other party members.
Since April 19th, in both e-mails and speeches, Connelly has compared Frank to the recent ‘Boston bombers’, accused him of “rant(ing) endlessly hateful stuff” and said Frank “has threatened me and my family.”
It took Frank no time to answer, not in kind, but in a manner that will force Connelly to demonstrate these were not vicious, unprovoked attacks against Frank.
Verbiage in Connelly’s e-mail makes it appear Connelly thought, wrongly it turns out, Frank was a principal supporter of Connelly’s opponent, Sam Harms, in the upcoming May 4, 2013 party chairman election during SCGOP Convention.
Political speech is generally unregulated and may be intentionally false without consequences. If the charges had been lodged against Harms directly, this action would probably be a non-event.
But, lodging these verbal assaults against a third person could make the legal action interesting.
Connelly said about Frank, “I’m going to crush him” during his speech to the Cherokee County Republican Party meeting Monday April 23.
‘Malice aforethought’ can be a terrible thing.