Sussex County GOP Purity Caucus Doesn’t Believe in Free Speech, Thought or Discourse

Filed in Delaware by on October 29, 2015

Frank Knotts is a blogger over at DelawareRight — he previously blogged at DelawarePolitics until he was largely ostracized from there.  I don’t agree with Frank over much (and have never met him, either), but he’s been the target of some really despicable actions by members of his party who don’t much like what he has to say about them, their views or political actions.  Today, I am calling attention to the fact that 3 Sussex GOP members have decided to sue Frank — a blogger — for defamation.  Just go here to see the letter.  But also see the rest of his post — they’ve contacted his employer, they’ve called the police on him and pretty much tried to harrass him out of his own viewpoint on his party’s and his party’s members’ actions.  This is completely despicable — rather than engage in more free speech, the parties suing — Vincent Calabro, Lacey Lafferty and Don Ayotte — are trying to bully Frank Knotts into shutting up and falling in line.  From where I sit, this one action is more than enough reason for all three of these people to never be trusted with either public office or party leadership.  I’m calling your attention to this because we should all see how folks on the right wing fringe operate — you will not criticize us or we will bully you.  Which isn’t a principle that they got from Leadership 101.  So I’m standing with Frank here and hope you will too.


About the Author ()

"You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas." -Shirley Chisholm

Comments (41)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. AQC says:

    I’m starting to think Frank is an undercover Democrat just helping to expose the lunacy of the Sussex GOP.

  2. Brian says:

    BREAKING: Streisand Effect makes appearance in Sussex County!

    “The Streisand effect is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet.”

    Good luck with that for those 3 goofballs. Wait, is calling someone a goofball in a blog comment defamatory?

  3. jason330 says:

    In a sane world Frank Knotts would qualify as a right wing fringe type. Hi sin is being a little less crazy that those three lunk-heads. That said, I agree with Cassandra that this type of attack on a citizen journalist is an attack on all citizen journalists.

  4. pandora says:

    I’m standing with Frank. This is outrageous and should backfire stupendously on the foolish lawyer and his ridiculous clients. Sue me.

    Frank should let this play out for the discovery process alone. That would be interesting, no?

  5. Brian says:

    I left a comment in support of Frank too. It’s ridiculous. But am looking forward to how it all plays out because I suspect it will not end their favor.

    Did you happen to catch the “I’m not a homophobe, I have gay friends/family!” defense of LL in the attorney’s letter? An attorney used that defense. I can’t even..

  6. pandora says:

    Have you ever read a Lacey Lafferty comment? No? Well, let me remedy that for you.

    Lacey Lafferty
    July 18, 2015 at 1:39 pm


    First of all thank you for your press releases. Good, bad or indifferent it gets my name out there in the public. Certainly your not near as good as the News Journal article that Mr. Fisher wrote about me and put on the front page of the newspaper.
    I know your purpose for writing your lying opinion blog trash was to get me to respond, so I will bite at your bait this only time.
    Everything you have written past, present and I know in the future is a blatant lie and will continue to be a lie. Believe me people are not that stupid to believe anything you say or your minion trolls.
    I can prove everything I say and do.
    Everything Bill Christy has written is also a blatant lie. His and your despicable reputations perceive both of you. Bill Christy was released from my campaign because he is a thief. Neither one of you speak anything that even comes anywhere near the truth, that’s why your blog writings are at the least very juvenile and despicable.
    When people such as yourselves have no substance and support a candidate that has no substance you as well as other’s resort to dirty political lying personal attacks to discredit the candidate that is ahead of the rest.
    People know when one is attacked by vicious lying opinion political personal character attacks, I certainly must be a threat. GOOD!!! I must be doing something RIGHT to bring people such as you out from under your rocks.
    Second if you must know the truth I will be happy to set you both straight. I was tested for my hearing loss that was picked up in a routine examination, testing for Lyme was one aspect that might have contributed to my right ear deafness. Testing revealed I did not contract Lyme but I was given strong antibiotics which altered my digestive tract severely. After thorough testing, it was revealed that my deafness resulted in a partial duty connected disability contributing to my job which was my career as a patrol unit State Trooper. This was discovered after I was rewarded by Democratic Gov. Ruth Ann Minner with the Governor’s Excellence Award in 2007. Col. McCleash and the Administration decided it was to my best interest to retire me with a partial duty connected disability pension by which all troopers pay for, deducted from their pay the entire time through their employment. My State Police personnel records will reflect of my exemplary and most successful career as a Delaware State Police officer.
    Further, I do use hearing protection within the ear canal during shooting events if you really cared.
    As for any ludicrous notion, suggestion or even discussion among anyone affiliated with my campaign of any personal relationship with Mr. Christy is fabrication from a raging fringe lunatic with mental disorders.
    Frank Knotts has also and continues to fabricate, twist and manipulate his lying opinions on everything about me in his quest to discredit me for even stepping into the Governor’s race at all since day one. His is blatantly a sexist and a male chauvinist. Don’t use the excuse that you support Rep. Ruth King Briggs because you have mentioned enough through the Republican Party in the past how you truly feel. You are just kissing up to her now.
    In closing, your dirty political character assassinated lies and tricks will not work as only your shallow character shows through your pathetic ramblings of a mad man that you and Steve Grossman so mentioned to up state political party people that you both would do to me. Yes, that bit of information seemed to trickle down state pretty fast about both of your plans to character assassinate me as I forge ahead of everyone. Well, buddies I am in the lead and intend to stay there whether you both like or not.
    Small men has small _____ to where they have to resort to dirty tricks. That’s all you both have going for you.
    If you or this blog site had any substance at all you would try to improve your writings, behaviors, ethics, characters, integrity and show how the rest of the political world functions. But, we all know in the Republican Party that is not on your agenda or Delaware Right’s agenda. Your primary focus and agenda since its inception is to create havoc and dysfunction in the De. GOP to help Jeff Cragg with his aspirations of running for Governor in 2016.
    So far how is it working for you? I just stepped in 3 years ago and just messed up the whole darn plan didn’t I. Gosh darn her, she is just a pain in the ars.
    Now you know the rest of the story as Paul Harvey would say. By the way, if you want the truth go to the source, I will tell you the truth and have the necessary paperwork to prove it.

    Somewhere an English teacher weeps.

  7. Brian says:

    Pandora, how can I ever thank you for sharing that with me?

    How many people were involved in writing that comment? There’s a break in grammar quality and cadence about a third of the way through, and then another break two-thirds of the way through.

    Also: “When people such as yourselves have no substance and support a candidate that has no substance you as well as other’s resort to dirty political lying personal attacks to discredit the candidate that is ahead of the rest.”

    LOL. So about that letter from her attorney…

  8. anon says:

    The attorney representing Lafferty, Ayotte et al. is the Republican running against Patty Blevins in the 7ths Senate District.

  9. pandora says:

    LOL, anon! Which makes the lawyer a public figure, as well! Have at it, guys!

  10. Emma says:

    Apparently, there is a cabal of Democrats in Sussex County behaving the same way towards anyone who dares to ask a question or dissent. Is it something in the water down there?

  11. Don Peterson says:

    But let’s be honest folks. The Republican right-wing, as despicable as they are, has no monopoly on bullying and intimidation. Very similar things have happened and are happening within the Democratic caucus as well. Politicians need to have thick skins — and when they don’t, the Dems match the Repubs petty blow for petty blow.

  12. Jason330 says:

    Did she say Frank has a small dick? I think she did. Also…”His and your despicable reputations perceive both of you.”


  13. pandora says:

    Functional illiterate?

    And the penis comment was priceless. Hope she can “prove” that, or else… libel!

  14. Emma says:

    Don is correct.

  15. Brian says:

    This type of stuff is used by politicians of any flavor. But yes, both major parties use the same tools from time to time. And both should be called on it each time they do.

  16. Cletus says:

    I wonder if Councilman David L. Anderson and his Blog, Delaware Politics stands with Frank on his right to Free Speech ?

  17. Jason330 says:

    Okay. I’ll bite. Who, in the Sussex Co Democratic Party, is being bullied by whom?

  18. Dorian Gray says:

    That’s funny Jason. I was going to make a similar point. Rather than commenting on the actual circumstances described Don and Emma felt the need to use the old “Democrats do it too” gambit. Boring, meaningless point, of course. Nobody said any one group had a monopoly on this kind of behaviour.

  19. Emma says:

    My point is that there seems to be a toxic political culture in Sussex. Perhaps it is the same everywhere or perhaps there are factors that make it particularly toxic.

  20. SussexAnon says:

    Nope nothing ironic about the party of free speech and tort reform suing to shut someone up.

  21. pandora says:

    I’m not getting your point, Emma – and I really don’t want this thread derailed by your and Don’s lack of specifics. If you have something specific to say, please say it. Otherwise, stick to the topic at hand. Thanks.

  22. Dorian Gray says:

    That’s markedly different than Don’s comment, but it’s still pretty vague.

    It’s been my experience that most of local politics is petty and dumb. Some local yokel gets on a rural county council and immediately believes she or he is some Rovian type powerbroker. I’ll keep my own specific feelings about Sussex Co to myself. I wouldn’t want to get a C&D letter.

  23. Geezer says:

    “Nobody said any one group had a monopoly on this kind of behavior.”

    Really? Produce the lawyer’s letter pertaining to the Democrats. Petty squabbling is universal; making public your jackassery is not.

  24. Emma says:

    I am not trying to derail the thread. Like you, I think what Frank has been subjected to is outrageous.

    And it’s exactly the kind of tactics Pete Schwartzkopf and his cronies are using against people who disagree with his policies, compromises, and ways of treating people. Calling someone’s employer is unacceptable, and he’s done that to multiple people. The way he treated Kowalko, the way he treated the 6 progressives who voted against the budget deal, the way his second in command treated the UD employee, the way he’s treated Claire Snyder-Hall… it’s appalling. And most of this has been discussed on DL, so I’m not breaking the news.

    What I am personally trying to think through is whether this type of behavior in Sussex in both parties is just how things are everywhere, or whether it results from something particular to Sussex County culture.

  25. Prop Joe says:

    Sometimes I find the argument “But the other side is doing it too” to be much the same as “Well, if the girl had just given him the cell-phone, she wouldn’t have gotten slammed to the ground.”

    Now that I’ve stretched that comment as far as I can, let me comment towards Geezer’s point. If Democrat politicians were doing it, Earl Jaques would have sued the shit out of John Young (Transparent Christina) and Kevin Ohlandt (Exceptional Delaware) by now… Everyone would have sued Kavips… And a majority of the Dems in Leg Hall would have sued Jason.

    So yeah, I’m waiting on that public display of jackassery to happen.

  26. Emma says:

    If the topic is specifically the lawsuit, then yes it’s unusual.

  27. pandora says:

    Then please stick to the topic. We have written about Schwartzkopf’s behavior and would have appreciated your comments on that thread. What I don’t like is you guys taking this specific, over the top situation and making it about something else.

    What these people are doing to Frank (a person who I disagree with 99.9% of the time) is a serious problem. Address that. If you can’t, then save your comments for our daily open thread.

    Because… this is completely nuts. Then again the individuals involved in this lawsuit (including the lawyer) come across as, not only nuts, but as people who have no understanding of the Constitution or basic 1st year law. Sue me.

  28. Prop Joe says:

    On topic, I think this kind of jackassery should disqualify Lafferty from the Governor’s office. While I’m sure her comments, policies, and general presence are enough to disqualify her, this should put it over the edge.

    If she can’t take tough commentary from Frank the Blogger, what the hell did she do when a suspect or citizen mouthed off to her while she was still with the DSP?

  29. mouse says:

    The water down here is pretty good compared to the water up there. The water up there is largely effluent from sewage treatment plants into the Brandywine

  30. Bane says:

    Is Pandora trying to stifle a progressive debate in order to stand against the stifling of Frank’s conservative debate? Things that make you go hmmmmm. 🙂

  31. Geezer says:

    Has Schwartzkopf taken action against private citizens, or just House members? Because the former would be newsworthy.

  32. pandora says:

    Go “hmmm” all you want. There’s a topic on this thread, stick to it. You wanna discuss something else, take it to the open thread.

    Geezer is correct. Schwartzkopf isn’t threatening a lawsuit against private citizens. If you guys don’t see the difference, that is your problem.

    Frank Knotts has been threatened with a lawsuit. Prop Joe is also correct. Based on this behavior, every one of these people should be disqualified from public office.

  33. pandora says:

    Lacey Lafferty responds via FB:

    “Lacey Lafferty’s statement regarding Dan Gaffney’s comments on 10/29/15 WXDE 105.9 radio program and blog site.
    Our nation’s lawmakers and subsequent laws have always been guided by one document which has withstood the tests of time, the Constitution. I have the utmost respect for this institution.
    Freedom of Speech is an invaluable right, however there is quite a difference self expression and slander.
    Intentional malicious defamation of character is not free speech especially when it is based on unfounded lies.
    Differences of opinion are as American as Apple Pie, differences on political viewpoints are considered healthy discord. Spreading lies is unlawful.
    I am not at liberty to discuss any further details of the litigation I am currently engaged in. I have faith in our legal system and the Truth will prevail.
    Speaking as a candidate and not a elected official I would hope that any ethical media outlet source would do their due diligence before reporting on anyone with the facts instead of conjecture. If they did, I would not have had to pursue this matter.
    God Bless,
    Lacey Lafferty
    Republican Gubernaterial Candidate for Governor 2016”

  34. AQC says:

    I wish a grammar test was required to run for office.

  35. pandora says:

    I’ve said it before, AQC, somewhere an English teacher weeps. She is an embarrassment.

  36. Brian says:

    She is aware the the US Constitution hasn’t been one document since it left Madison’s hands? It does not now exist in the form it was originally written in and has been amended numerous times. I’m not sure how she defines ‘withstanding the test of time’.

    I’m learning new things today: It’s now illegal to lie. I have gold-plated hair. Come get me Fib Police.

  37. pandora says:

    She doesn’t know how to use commas or correct sentence structure, Brian. I doubt she knows Constitutional history.

  38. Mitch Crane says:

    The standards for a defamation suit are quite restrictive when the alleged defamation is against a public person. The standard as set in “New York Times v Sullivan” and followed in most all states is that in order for a defendant to have defamed a public figure:

    1. The statement must be said with malicious intent
    2. The defendant knew that the statement was not true
    3. There must be damages as a result of the defamation

    Pretty near impossible to prove

  39. Bill Christy says:

    Thanks for posting that LL response, I already have a copy preserved. Ms. Lafferty falsely accused me of being a thief claiming that is why I was dismissed from the Liberty PAC which is an outright lie. I resigned from the Liberty PAC Treasurer’s position due to the ever growing difficulty to perform my fiduciary duties.

    When the Liberty PAC was set up it was done so with an initial deposit of $25.00, I requested that all checks were to be signed by me and countersigned by Ms. Lafferty. We both agree to procuring debit cards so that if a need arose to buy stamps, fuel or other things allowed under the law we could do so without the need to drive 22+ miles to get a check countersigned. After the initial deposit there was one other minimal deposit made by Ms. Lafferty. Due to the amount of money I was spending for expenses I deposited $140.00 of my own personal money so I could show my expenses and reimbursement as they occurred. There were no other deposits ever made into the account.

    Under election commission guidelines and law as Treasurer I had the right to return any contribution made to the account. I also had the right to reimburse myself for nominal expenses if they related to the business of the Liberty PAC. I used the debit card to put fuel in my vehicle after I attended 2 meetings as a representative for the Liberty PAC. One event was held at legislative hall which I drove Ms. Lafferty to in my vehicle. The other event was the SC Republican Women’s Club which I attended alone as representative for the Liberty PAC.

    I possess the following in a safe deposit box at my bank:
    1. All original documents when the Liberty PAC account was opened at M&T Bank
    2. The original checkbook
    3. The original check registry with all entries
    4. The original deposit slip for the deposit of my personal funds I made at the Milford DE branch of M&T Bank
    5. The original paper copies of the monthly bank statements

    There was no misappropriation of funds or theft as Ms. Lafferty stated, the records I have in my possession prove that.

    Thanks for letting me address this matter.

  40. Cletus says:

    So Mr. Christy,

    Lacey Lafferty did to you what Mitch Crane said is “Pretty near impossible to prove”?

    The standards for a defamation suit are quite restrictive when the alleged defamation is against a public person. The standard as set in “New York Times v Sullivan” and followed in most all states is that in order for a defendant to have defamed a public figure:

    1. The statement must be said with malicious intent
    2. The defendant knew that the statement was not true
    3. There must be damages as a result of the defamation

    Almost everyone can see that, but NOT Don Ayotte.