Shaun Kenney and Bearing Drift Drop Anchor in Eric Cantor’s Treasure Chest

By Tom White

Cruise-Ship.0011Last night I received an email from Jim Hoeft, the founder of the Virginia Republican blog Bearing Drift. Jim is a fellow Navy Vet and he was on active duty when he started the blog. But we have known each other for several years and communicate regularly via email, as do most of Virginia’s bloggers on the right.

The email was both a bomb and a confirmation of what I had already suspected. And while I privately exchanged emails among my Conservative friends and mentioned my suspicions that, based on the content of posts on Bearing Drift, they were either suffering from an unhealthy love affair with Eric Cantor or were being paid by him.

I had considered point blank asking Hoeft if they were being paid for the puff pieces on Cantor, the puff interview with Peter Greenwald who Cantor would love to keep in the race as a spoiler, and the complete lack of the same type of posts favoring David Brat, the first serious challenge Cantor has faced.

When I published a post calling for Peter Greenwald to drop out of the race because Brat was clearly the better candidate (check the fund raising numbers if you want to see why), Shaun Kenney decided a post encouraging Greenwald to stay in was in order. And he called me out saying my post “didn’t sit right” with him on Bearing Drift. And now I know the reason it didn’t “sit right” with him is that his wallet was uncomfortably fat with Eric Cantor’s money. I am told that can be quite uncomfortable, but I wouldn’t know.

So I read this piece from Tom White over at Virginia Right over the week, and I couldn’t help but think that it just didn’t sit right.  So I took the time to do a “Five Questions” interview with former U.S. Navy commander Peter Greenwald at his home in Chesterfield.  What I found was that Greenwald — far from the lunatic or fanatic some are feverishly trying to paint him as — is a remarkably profound and Christian man with the courage to wear his faith on his sleeve.

But I now know that Shaun Kenney was paid to try to keep Greenwald in the race. Not only that, he completely characterizes Dave Brat as a Libertarian. Obviously Kenney has never heard Dave Brat’s stump speech. His entire campaign is built on the Republican Creed. But apparently Kenney, like Cantor has long forgotten those words. As a refresher, here is Dave Brat’s platform:

We Believe:

That the free enterprise system is the most productive supplier of human needs and economic justice,
That all individuals are entitled to equal rights, justice, and opportunities and should assume their responsibilities as citizens in a free society,
That fiscal responsibility and budgetary restraints must be exercised at all levels of government,
That the Federal Government must preserve individual liberty by observing Constitutional limitations,
That peace is best preserved through a strong national defense,
That faith in God, as recognized by our Founding Fathers is essential to the moral fiber of the Nation.

And I am still waiting for Shaun to interview David Brat and post the same questions, something that Kenney wouldn’t be allowed to do as a Cantor paid shill.

But the email last night from Kenney’s fellow Bearing Drift writer took a “I know our hand will be caught in the cookie jar when Cantor’s financials are made public tomorrow, so I am going to do some damage control” tone. And how best to do that? Perhaps a consult with Cantor’s other ally and hired consultant Marcus-Allen. You remember Boyd Marcus, the guy that, after decades of Republican campaigns decided to jump ship and work for Terry McAuliffe in exchange for a cushy job? Well, they would advise that the best way to deflect guilt and blame is to blame your accusers. Hoeft wrote:

Several weeks ago, a couple of bloggers accused Virginia Line Media and Bearing Drift of coloring our writing because K6 Consulting Group, a firm that Shaun Kenney, Jason Kenney, and I all represent, is advising two congressional candidates.

In the upcoming FEC financial disclosure, you will see that K6 is indeed providing service to Del. Barbara Comstock and Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

It’s at this point that those who have an axe to grind are going to latch on and say, “See, we told you so! They’re shills!”

… (Skipping some weird reference to black helicopters and time travel)…

But the accusations that have been, and will likely be, leveled at this site and K6 are equally preposterous.

Hoeft goes on to say they are preposterous because everybody has their own clients, bla, bla, bla.

Jim, if you believe that is true, how about putting out an honest and critical post on Cantor’s slating? And tell people how in Virginia Beach, a years long outreach into the Black community promising them that they would be welcomed as Delegates to the Convention and all they had to do was show up at the mass meeting in Virginia Beach. And after disenfranchising 1,000 potential Delegates and putting their votes in 34 Cantor picked people, not a single Black was selected by Cantor. Or how about a post on Cantor’s plans for Amnesty? Or, as I mentioned, an honest interview with David Brat – who at this point would probably decline to be interviewed by Cantor employees. Or call on Cantor to debate Brat? And there is not one story on Cantor’s Amelia Island meeting with the Soros aligned money men that I have found. And if there were, the only one Cantor would approve is one calling that story a myth (like the Campbell County slating myth).

Unfortunately, if you post those kind of stories you will find that Eric Cantor no longer needs your consulting services – which are completely separate, you say. The only value you have as a consultant is in what gets written or not written on Bearing Drift. Cantor is all about controlling the message. And he has done a great job at Bearing Drift.

Norm Leahy may be the lone exception to tainted posts.

And at this point, knowing Shaun Kenney is on Cantor’s payroll, his selection to be Executive Director at the Republican Party of Virginia is clearly an unfair advantage that will cast doubts on the integrity of the Primary. We have the fox in charge of the hen house it would seem. This is a major conflict of interest and Kenney should be removed from his RPV job.

The question is, did Kenney disclose this conflict before being hired, or did Cantor simply dictate the hire? Either way, this is an incredibly stupid action for the Republican Party.