A little more than a week ago Caffeinated Thoughts ran a press release from The Federalist Party that stated JD Rucker was stepping down from his leadership position of the new political party and agreed to a smooth transition for new leadership. This surprised me since Rucker was a recent guest on The Caffeinated Thoughts Podcast just a few days before the press release came out.

When I published the press release I noticed that their website was down and social media accounts were disabled. Jettisoning all of the party’s branding did not make sense with a transition of leadership.

Yesterday, Joel Kurtinitis (who has contributed to Caffeinated Thoughts), one of the co-founders of the party, announced that the press release sent out was a farce and was part of an attempt to take over the fledgling new party.

He wrote on Facebook:

A few days ago I asked for prayer for some difficult decisions facing me with regard to my public activism. At the time I couldn’t say much about it because a lot of things were still up in the air, now I’m at liberty to explain what was going on.

While a lot of folks know I stay very politically engaged in writing and (more recently) podcasting, fewer folks know that over the last year I’ve been directly involved in founding the national Federalist Party along with my co-founder, JD Rucker. JD has been the more public face of the party, but I’ve remained involved and supportive, engaged in decision-making, and helping chart the course for the party in every capacity, from state ops and messaging, to data management and tech partnerships. So what I’m about to say, I say as active co-founder of the Federalist Party with direct knowledge of the situation and context.

Within the last two weeks, the Federalist Party rebuffed an attempted takeover by an unscrupulous and opportunistic group of former volunteers who used the resources and contacts of the party to form a competing organization, and then blackmailed my friend and co-founder JD Rucker into shutting down the party’s assets and signing off on a false press release under duress.

We knew that it was ambitious and dangerous to build a new party from the ground up to counter the political swamp that is Washington. We did not, however, anticipate sabotage from within, by characters whose desire for prestige and recognition mirrors that of the DC cartel perfectly.

Many of you saw the press release announcing that JD was stepping down as the head of the Federalist Party willingly, to make room within a new party reorg. That entire narrative is patently false, and those peddling it are so aware of its vulnerability that their follow-up posts have quietly switched from discussing “The Federalist Party” to “the NEW Federalist Party”.

Here’s what happened.

Three former volunteers for the national party, acting under false pretenses, used the resources of the party to establish contacts and build a competing organization under the same name. They used our lists to recruit board members for the new organization and quietly bought a website with a similar name. With access to our internal communications, they knew that we were working on forming a board and transitioning from an LLC to a 527 nonprofit, and they used this information to time their attack.

Without resigning from the Federalist Party or even saying a word to anyone, they filed their own paperwork for a 501C4 named “The Federalist Party of America (™)” and then sprung their trap.

They called JD, who they knew was still dealing with a family medical emergency, and blackmailed him using two different copies of a press release. If he agreed to shut down the website and social media pages for the Federalist Party, they would put out the “nice” release saying he had willingly agreed to step down for the good of the party, and subtly ceding legitimacy to their coup. If not, they would drop the other press release, which claimed, without any substantiation, that the party was separating from JD for “questionable financial practices” – outright character assassination.

JD, stunned by the betrayal and conscious of his family’s well-being, complied with their demands.

They then contacted Senior Advisor and longtime ally to the Federalist Party, Pat Nicklaus, and told her that JD had decided to step down, that there was going to be a reorg with his support, and asked if she would like to be the spokesperson for the new party. Pat was surprised, but believed their story and agreed.

No sooner had she accepted than they slapped her name on their press release – not a word of which she actually said – and dropped it in social media groups that were organized for the benefit of the Federalist Party, in an attempt to co-opt the activist base.

Confusion ensued, and when questions started to arise, they promptly threw JD under the bus for shutting down the assets they had demanded he shut down.

The whole thing was a lie, and we have ample evidence to prove it, including both copies of the press release used to blackmail JD.

We also think it’s likely that the board members recruited by these dishonest folks have been recruited under false pretenses as well – I’m sure they haven’t told their prospective associates about their extortion scheme.

If anyone knows these board members, please do them a favor and tell them the truth, so that they can make an informed decision on how to proceed. My guess is that many of these decent and respectable folks won’t want anything to do with this kind of corruption.

Those who know me, know that I strive to be fair-minded in all of my analysis, and decent and respectful to those who honestly disagree. But it would be a mistake for anyone to mistake restraint for weakness.

The perpetrators of this scheme knowingly misused party resources for their own personal ends, damaged relationships and leadership structures built by many of us over the last year, sabotaged trust and damaged the party’s reputation, published a false press release in an attempt to mislead activists and allies of the Federalist Party, and lied to one of my friends in order to blackmail another.

JD Rucker is one of the most selfless and principled men I’ve had the privilege of knowing. If people even knew half of the personal and professional sacrifices he’s made to keep the party moving forward, the folks who perpetrated this attempted hijacking would never be able to show their faces on social media again.

And frankly, that’s what needs to happen. Bobby, Susan, and Tricia, all of whom have carefully hidden behind layers of online anonymity and used other people’s names to carry out their dirty work, are a symbol of everything that’s wrong with politics in America – everything the Federalist Party is fighting to change.

The corruption, the self-aggrandizement, the backstabbing, and the dishonesty won’t get them far in a Federalist Party that’s now wise to their subversion, but it could certainly land them a cushy job on K Street, should they be inclined to seek out their own within the DC cartel.

But there’s one really encouraging thing that every Federalist can take from all this: When these kinds of attacks start happening, you know you’re making an impact.

When unscrupulous and unprincipled people start trying to derail you from within and without, you can be sure that you’re on the right track.

We are still investigating legal options from several different angles, but whether we proceed in that direction or not, just know that there has been no change, the Federalist Party you signed up with is still the only legitimate Federalist Party, and though I’m sure these folks will try to do some damage to us on their way down, they have nothing, and will gain nothing.

Pat Nicklaus, another Caffeinated Thoughts contributor, had agreed to become the National Spokesperson (as Kurtinitis mentioned). She made the following video explaining her role, the fact she did not write the press release, and that those involved she learned wanted to change the purpose of the Federalist Party from a political party to an issue advocacy organization.

I have to personally apologize for publishing the press release and becoming, unknowingly, complicit in this deception. Running press releases from different groups under the byline Caffeinated Thoughts is a practice I’ve adopted when I want to help get the information out to our readers, but don’t have the time to write an article myself. I get lots of press releases every day. Some I publish directly as written (under the CT byline and will include a “press release” tag, some I incorporate into an article I’m writing if they provide a statement I want to include, but most are deleted from my inbox because I either don’t have the time or I don’t think it would be of interest. The Federalist Party press release was from a trusted source and it was about a transition in the party so I didn’t think to question it, and for that I am sorry.

I’ve been told that more information will be forthcoming about the future of this new political party. I’ll keep you updated when that becomes available.

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