In Chapter 4, I shared my impressions of how the Dynasty allegedly manipulated emergency management processes and systems to grow the State Active Duty System, and to harass their adversaries inside the Guard. I concluded with my recollection of how Maj. Gen. William Wade intervened, but arguably too late. In chapter 5, I recount my observations of how the Dynasty was:
- Allegedly connected with the 2010 Recruiting Fraud Scandal;
- Arguably behind channeling scandals to the Sacramento Bee; and
- Purportedly masterminding the legend of the “Corrupt Command.”
Reopening the Shinbone Star Pipeline
Perhaps fearful Brig. Gen. Mary Kight’s support of the recruiting fraud investigation might reveal the Dynasty’s link to it; the Dynasty launched a preemptive strike.
In what appeared to me as a pattern spookily reminiscent of the ’05 Cal Guard Spy scandal, a whistle-blower leaked documents to Charles Piller, Sacramento Bee. Piller wrote an excellent series documenting allegations of fraudulent student loans to Guardsmen, kickbacks, falsifying records, and collusion.
But many within the Guard family were disturbed that Piller minimized Kight’s leadership in helping launch the investigation. Piller barely quoted her, and unwittingly, may have implied she was part of the controversy. Kight was constrained from discussing the investigation in detail by both federal investigators and her conscience to allow due processes to proceed before publically laundering the Guard’s dirty linin.
The Dynasty, however, arguably had no such restraints. The public exposure of the recruiting fraud and subsequent scandals suspiciously had their signature with the same cast of characters in the ’05 Spy Scandal. It was allegedly insiders leaking, timing releasing, and defining the scope of Piller’s investigation.
It was too coincidental, in the minds of several guardsmen, that the Bee reporter was outpacing a national investigation of the Army Recruiting Assistance Program (RAP) that spanned the National Guard (G-RAP), Army Reserve (AR-RAP), and Active Duty Army (A-RAP) components. News coverage the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) concluded was “shallow in-depth,” “selective in scope,” and “included sensational headlines based on half-truths, innuendo, and anonymous government leaks.”
Baldwin’s wife reportedly had advance knowledge of the scandal. She was a civilian contractor for the Cal Guard’s Recruiting Command when, according to California Senate confirmation testimony, she was approached by whistle blower Capt. Ron Clark for her husband’s intervention. Clark told a Senate investigative panel that Baldwin’s wife said her husband, “wasn’t to get involved” (sub caption “Opposition” in linked story).
Many inside the headquarters were disappointed that Piller didn’t pursue Clark’s disclosure. A plausible scenario, Baldwin’s opponents argued, was that he was aware, involved, distancing himself from the scandal, and exploiting Clark’s leak to plot the Dynasty’s retaliation against Kight and Wade. Baldwin, arguably, also had authority to intervene, but disputably refrained knowing he was setting a trap for Wade and the Dynasty’s internal military rivals.
Piller and the Bee were arguably susceptible to the Dynasty’s “white washing.” Piller disputably lacked the military savvy to understand, and the Bee the instinct, to sniff out the full story. The Bee hasn’t had a dedicated military beat reporter since the late 1990s when Base Realignment and Closures (BRAC) shutdown Northern California Army installations, or privatized Air Bases in Sacramento. The Dynasty presumably: kept Piller reliant upon them as his primary information source; off kilter of the internal Machiavellian politics occurring inside the Guard; and alienated from the Dynasty’s adversaries since Baldwin’s gag order policy, imposed after the ’05 Spy Scandal, was still in effect.
While the Bee’s series appeared to bring justice to some, their lack of instinct arguably allowed the Dynasty to help at least one former daily cigar seminar attendee to evade it. A high-ranking officer suspected of being part of the Dynasty was prominently featured in Piller’s breaking story, but gradually faded from the headlines in his subsequent pieces. Military Officer Candidate (OCS) training emphasizes that authority can be delegated, but responsibility cannot–stressing duty to inspect, audit, and mentor subordinates.
Piller’s perceived omission of senior officer liability was a red flag in the culture of duty, honor, and country. Several in the Guard community believed it unconscionable that a handful of senior enlisted, junior, and mid-grade officers bore the brunt of prison sentences and fines, while the general in charge seemed to escape any legal responsibility. Somewhere along the line, many inside the culture reasoned, a general in charge must have approved fraudulent loans, and was therefore arguably equally culpable for any criminal activity (see sub caption pressure to recruit in linked story).
The observed oversight caused some to lose Faith in the fourth estate, fearing to share information with Piller, dreading he would reveal them to the Dynasty if they dared speak out. Many speculated the Bee, unaware of the military politics, left lingering questions: Did the Dynasty negotiate a behind-the-scenes plea bargain to exempt its alleged members? Were officers on the fringe of the scandal publically implicated to distance Dynasty involvement? Or did the Bee embellish isolated instances of recruiting fraud, as NGAUS suggested, to perpetuate a new legend of command corruption?
In the minds of many, the fraud scandal re-opened the Shinbone Star pipeline to pump out allegations of double-dipping to usurp Kight. The Lucifer holics, now purportedly connoisseurs of the devil’s elixir, had debatably wetted elected leaders’ palates for scandal, developing their taste buds, preparing to intoxicate them on more scandals.
The Empire Strikes Back
The 144th Fighter Wing’s (FW) ‘Dozing for Dollars’ scandal disputably had the residues of the 2002 filmmaker strong-arming allegations. A March 2010 National Guard Bureau audit of unit’s alert mission found “some cases” of pilots receiving pay twice in one day, according to court records.
The 144th FW commander requested a legal opinion of the Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) to determine if they violated the law, which the SJA confirmed they hadn’t. According to his finding, the Air Guard commander “acted reasonably and within proper authority in executing their mission, and that any technical violations were well within their proper authority in executing their mission.”
But Piller reportedly shows up at the Cal Guard Public Affairs office with nuggets of information–primarily the audit and 144th FW pilot’s work schedules to write a story. Conspicuously absent was the SJA legal opinion, triggering, in my judgment, a catastrophic mistake on Kight’s part–to publically declare her lost confidence (see Loss of Faith in referenced link) in both the current 144th FW Commander and its previous commander, and relieving them from their posts. Her announcement arguably played to the interests of the Dynasty, adding fuel to their information ops campaign, as they disputably did with retaliation allegations in the ’05 Spy scandal. This time, however, they disputably spun the legend of a corrupt command.
A campaign, some speculate, that Kight’s own staff–many believed owed the Dynasty for their SAD status–may have been involved. Many inside the Guard wondered if the SJA had rushed the 144th FW allegations to the Dynasty, as I suspected he did with the 2002 filmmaker shakedown conspiracy scandal. Further doubts of these officers’ fidelity to Kight’s command surfaced among the whispers of the rank and file.
Infidelities and murmurs that the former adjutant general, Maj. Gen. William Wade, challenged the Dynasty to account for when they allegedly bypassed his right of due process and proceeded directly to Piller. With Kight preoccupied with the recruiting fraud and dozing for dollars scandals, a third scandal suspiciously materialized alleging Wade accepted $155,000 in state pay above the statutory limits for dual pay.
“The very people who advised me on the legal performance of this federal duty can attest to the fact that I performed it in good faith and the belief that it was proper,” Wade said in a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown. These people, Wade added, “have been prohibited from talking to the media and are afraid to tell the truth because of fear of reprisal.”
Wade argued that he was unaware of questions in his pay records until it appeared in the media, and he immediately accepted accountability and attempted to reconcile pay stubs. “I proposed a repayment option that your office rejected out-of-hand,” Wade wrote to Gov. Brown’s office, adding “All I have done from the outset was tried to get some due process in reviewing the accounting of anything that I might owe.”
The Dynasty arguably had sprung its traps. Arguably ploys with themes. Themes that were debatably part of strategic communications planning that I had coached Baldwin’s hand-picked team in 2005. Flawless planning, in my opinion, designed to intoxicate civilian leaders on the Dynasty’s theme of the “Guard as the most investigated department in state government,” consuming the Dynasty’s message for a “Governor’s Mandate,” and inebriating their judgment as to which Cal Guard leader was that righteous leader for executing such a mandate.
Gov. Jerry Brown was apparently tipsy on the Dynasty’s Lucifer’s brew, oblivious to Lucifer’s effects on the Cal Guard command, structure, its troops, and its future. Brown was debatably inebriated in his judgment that Baldwin was that righteous leader when he recalled him from Afghanistan. On April 13, 2011, Brown announced he was appointing Baldwin the adjutant general of the California National Guard.
To many inside the Guard, Brown had given the Dynasty its green light to “crush those who opposed the oppression of the Cal Guard’s Lords of Discipline.” Perhaps the more hostile message:
“The Dynasty, and its empires, have struck back!”
In Chapter 6, I describe how the Dynasty allegedly suppressed their military adversaries testimonies during Baldwin’s Confirmation hearings, and disputably dominated civilian leadership.