In January of 2013 I, Michael Steenbergen, excitedly heralded the arrival of Battleground Texas to my political group and associates. Within days, Glen Maxey of the Democratic Party attacked me as a fraud in public on the internet as an official representative of the Texas TDP literally destroying my PAC and it’s momentum. The details are horrifying and will be made public over the next weeks After a year and a half spent seeking an apology for Maxey’s actions, this same man called my boss, a US Congressional Candidate and got me fired from a lucrative and very successful position running his campaign. We had just taken the Democratic Primary with 78% of the vote in a very contested election. Because I am a successful, popular Democratic activist, the Texas democratic Party has taken actions to destroy my effectiveness and the Chairman and Executive Director have repeatedly taken “Dirty Coward Maxey’s side in these matters and even attacked me themselves. I have turned my cheek so many times I am now ‘black and blue’ from abuse so to speak. Here is the latest step in this ongonig battle…a demand letter sent in July of this year….
July 28, 2014
Dear Chairman Hinojosa and Director Hailer:
Having given more than ample effort and time to conciliation of grievances against the staff of the Texas Democratic Party I am now progressing to formalize claims and make demands for mitigation of damages incurred because of these actions. In a personal review of Texas Civil and Criminal Statutes including Vernon’s Civil Statutes I have found what I believe to be violations of a variety of these laws and statutes by the Texas Democratic Party staff resulting in tangible damage to myself and the Generationist Political Action Committee (GENPAC).
The Generationist Political Action Committee (GENPAC) is known, through the public presentation of its communications department, the Generation Party Democratic Caucus, on Facebook and the World Wide Web. GENPAC is known to have affiliation with Democratic Party organizations through its legal filings with the Texas Ethics Commission, as clearly indicated in its listing of political committees to which it has the legal right to contribute on the original and amended form GTA appointing the general-purpose committee’s campaign treasurer.
Further, I believe I can prove actions by Texas Democratic Party staff have been willful, malicious, reckless, fraudulent, defamatory, deceptive, and unfair. I also believe these actions were exercised in a manner that restrains trade and commerce, and violates constitutional civil liberties. I also believe these actions are to the detriment of Texas, the United States, the Democratic Party (national), the Texas Democratic Party (state), and in particular to myself and GENPAC.
1. Glen Maxey and Internet Post Defaming the Generation Party Democratic Caucus (Generationist Political Action Committee)
2. Glen Maxey and Electronic Communication Defaming the Generation Party (Generationist Political Action Committee) and Michael Steenbergen
3. Will Hailer and Electronic Communication Defaming Michael Steenbergen
4. Glen Maxey and Phone Call Defaming Michael Steenbergen as a Professional Political Consultant
In late January of 2013 Glen Maxey used the public Facebook web page of the Texas Democratic Party to defame and attack the Generationist Political Action Committee, the Generation Party Democratic Caucus and myself Michael Steenbergen. He went further and communicated directly to our Fundraising Chair claiming we were fraudulent. The damages incurred were tremendous including the resignation of the Fundraising Chair the week we were to begin expansion through fundraising. These actions were reckless, malicious, fraudulent, deceptive and defamatory culminating in restraint of trade and commerce. These actions damaged both the Texas Democratic Party and GENPAC as evidenced by an immediate empirical and significant drop in public participation for both groups on Facebook.
Despite protest and request for a cessation and for a retraction, it took a significant number of days and a ‘herculean effort’ to even get the defamatory public posts removed. I have a record of the link to the defamatory material that was eventually removed. No retraction was ever forthcoming and the public impression that I was a fraud and the PAC I founded was a fraud remained and was never mitigated. I have ample communications including meeting with the Executive Director, Bill Brennan, of the Texas Democratic Party and empirical Facebook statistics to prove this claim.
In late March of 2014 Will Hailer stated in an email that I “yelled” at a Texas Democratic Party staff member. I recorded that late March phone conversation and that statement is blatantly untrue. Will Hailer copied that accusation to U.S. Congressional candidate Dr. Marco Montoya, my employer, and to the wife of the Chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, Cynthia Mendiola Hinojosa, a political associate. Glen Maxey followed up with a phone call to Dr. Montoya a few days later in his position as a Texas Democratic Party staff member stating that he, and by inference or declaration, the Texas Democratic Party, preferred not to work with me.
The result of these actions by staff of the Texas Democratic Party was the termination of a unique contract for employment with a remaining value of approximately $12,000. This is evidenced by a written letter from Dr. Montoya terminating my employment contract because of these actions and what he called a resulting ‘loss of face’ with the Texas Democratic Party.
Because of the complaints of other Democratic activists in Texas, and public statements by will Hailer at a Texas Democratic Party public seminar (Candidates Forum at the AFL CIO Building with around a hundred witnesses) about a “blacklist” of political consultants and groups not to use, I claim that these actions are endemic to the Texas Democratic Party and pervasive. This does not serve to benefit the political processes of the State of Texas nor the United States.
I ask for retraction of the false statements per Texas law and make the following demands:
1. Within 30 days, public acknowledgement of the validity of myself as a Democratic Party activist and supporter in Texas and the Generationist Political Action Committee as an active Democratic Party supporter on the same Facebook page that was used maliciously as described above.
2. Within 30 days, communication by certified written letter to Dr. Montoya and Cynthia Mendiola Hinojosa that the statement that I yelled at Texas Democratic Party staff was entirely false with an expression of regret for the statement that was made by email.
3. Within 30 days, a formal statement by certified mail repudiating the actions and statements of Glen Maxey as regards myself and as regards the Generationist Political Action Committee and our communications department, the Generation Party Democratic Caucus.
4. Within 48 days, payment of the $12000 in monetary loss that I suffered through actions of Texas Democratic Party staff.
5. An immediate assurance, within 12 days, by the Texas Democratic Party Executive Director that these malicious actions, defamation and practice of “blacklisting” will cease and desist so as to stop preventing my further employment as a Democratic Party consultant in Texas.
Should these demands, or a reasonably close approximation of these demands, not be met I will pursue charges and claims against the Texas Democratic Party, and individual staff members named, in court. In a show of good faith, I offer once again to meet with Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Will Hailer to discuss this matter, however this offer does not change the timing of the demands, or rule out legal action on my part to recover damages and achieve a cure for said actions.
In addition to legal recourse, be on notice that if no actions or communications to mitigate damage are forthcoming I intend to address these issues with the Texas Ethics Commission, Texas Secretary of State, Texas Attorney General and the Democratic National Committee. I also reserve the right to address these issues in public forum. Making me whole does not take precedence over stopping the damage being caused to Texas and the United States through the improper and malicious use of political party status by staff members of the Texas Democratic Party.
That there exists the appearance that Glen Maxey directs official Texas Democratic Party support to groups he is associated with or personally supports while diminishing support for independent or new Democratic Party groups is reprehensible. Glen Maxey’s actions imply possible use of his political position for illegal suppression of competition. That Will Hailer as Executive Director has been drawn into this behavior of “blacklisting” other Democrat Party members and Democratic Party groups is sad. I believe all of these actions have forfeited the right of the Texas Democratic Party political committee to the franchise and name “Democratic Party.”
Michael Lee Steenbergen
CC: Certified Mail (Duplicate Copies)
Regular Mail (Single Copy)