Conservative media personality Allen West has created a firestorm of controversy in Montgomery County with the recent announcement that the former Florida congressman will headline a fundraiser for the county’s rogue Republican Party chairman, Wally Wilkerson.
“I appreciate Col. West’s service to our country,” said Montgomery County Republican Party Treasurer John Wertz. “However, I’m not sure he’s aware that he’s cozying up to a rogue county chair, who has been found guilty by the Republican Party of Texas of disgracing the Republican Party by his actions.”
West’s willingness to be an accomplice in Wilkerson’s misbehavior has disappointed many conservative activists in Montgomery County, including some who have been supportive of West’s bid for RPT chairman.
In October 2018, the RPT handed down a ruling that Wilkerson had engaged in “behavior designed to disgrace the Republican Party” by refusing to comply with the bylaws adopted by the county party and defying state party rules. Wilkerson, who has been in office for 54 years and was once dubbed “King Wally” by his friend Karl Rove, felt that the new bylaws, which were adopted by a majority of the MCRP’s executive committee and decentralized the complete power to which he had historically been accustomed, infringed on his authority.
The ruling, which followed a formal hearing under Rule 8k regarding Wilkerson’s conduct, also determined that Wilkerson “failed to perform a statutory duty.” In response, Wilkerson ignored the ruling, setting up a splinter organization which now operates outside of the RPT.
Wilkerson then took over $40,000 in party resources from the previous biennium to fund his operation. Needing funding to help Republican candidates in the upcoming midterm election, the MCRP 2018 victory committee made a request to Wilkerson for some of the money, which they planned to use on GOP campaign efforts. Wilkerson refused, instead spending much of it on his personal secretary.
As a result, fundraising for Wilkerson’s splinter account has dried up, with not a single elected official contributing to it in the last campaign finance reporting period. Lacking local support, and desperate for funding, Wilkerson attempted to get U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz to do a fundraiser for him. However, when the Cruz campaign was informed of Wilkerson’s recent actions, they canceled the event.
Soon after the Cruz event fell through, Wilkerson announced West had agreed to come instead.
“I just want to invite you to the 2019 Montgomery County Republican Party fundraising event. The date will be selected shortly, and they’ll get that information out to you,” West said in a video posted to Facebook. “God bless you all, and see you all down in Montgomery County.”
MCRP leadership has made it clear that this event is not affiliated with the Republican Party, and any funds raised will not go to the party, but will instead go to Wilkerson’s splinter account to pay his secretary.
“Dr. Wilkerson is deceptively raising money such as this proposed event for his organization that spends money on himself, his private secretary and his office expenses, none of which goes to electing Republicans,” Wertz told Texas Scorecard.
MCRP leadership has contacted West and informed him of the situation. However, they have not received a response. As of publishing time, he is still going forward with the event.
“I have always liked Allen West, so it really pains me to see him do this and damage himself with conservatives,” said MCRP Steering Committee member Jon Bouche. “I am still hopeful that he will come to his senses; but once the date is set, the die is cast, as far as I am concerned, because now he is fully aware of what he is doing.”