Yesterday, Andy over at Towleroad.com posted a story about how The Human Rights Campaign who is holding the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” lobby day in Washington, DC had decided to scrap bus transportation to the many LGBT veterans to and from the rally in Wahington to put the funds toward a reception and cocktail party for its Board members instead.
After reporting this and other blogs picking up on it HRC issued a statemen: “HRC is proud to have contributed significant resources to this event including direct costs and significant staff time. Last night the question of paying for a bus came up but contrary to reports, the matter wasn’t resolved at that time. We will be paying for bus transportation as we have paid for nearly the entire cost of the event. Never was there a question of prioritizing a reception over transportation.”
Pam Spaulding over at Pam’s House Blend got the same statement. She also received an email from an anonymous source (screenshot above) sent by Marty Rouse at HRC.
Highlighted (see red in HRC statement above) are the problematic areas. The first highlighted area (“Last night…”) is not true, according to my source because the bus question did not just pop up anew the previous night; it was brought up in the beginning and discussed numerous times over the past two months. Only now did HRC reverse course on cutting out the bus to transport the vets to the Pentagon despite the fact that the email shows that they had certainly decided to cut it and announced this decision via email to 10 people. Note the topic of the email – “cost controls.”
Also, I was told that nine or 10 people were also present at the recent meeting at which Rouse announced the news that they were now going to add in a Tuesday evening reception at the HRC building for HRC board, steering committee, and regular members who are in DC during the Veterans Lobby Days. Now that the budget for the veterans bus has been restored as a result of the controversy that erupted, there has been talk of canceling or reframing the Tuesday evening members reception
Every move HRC makes is an incredible public relations disaster. It’s really quite an accomplishment. Perpetual incompetence on such a scale is so hard to find.