Fred Karger Shut Out at CPAC - Responds to its President

February 7, 2011 

Mr. David Keene
The American Conservative Union
1007 Cameron Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

VIA email

Re:  No Speaking Invitation, No Exhibit Booth & No Straw Poll Inclusion at CPAC

Dear Mr. Keene:

I am very disappointed that I have been completely excluded from this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) being held this week in Washington, DC.  I have emailed you and other officials with CPAC numerous times over the past two months in an attempt to meet with you during previous trips to Washington to discuss my inclusion.  I never heard back.

I have been actively involved in Republican politics for over three decades, and have worked on nine Republican Presidential campaigns including senior consulting roles for Presidents Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Gerald Ford.  Additionally, I have managed dozens of local, state and federal elections.

A major profile of me just appeared in the Washington Post last Thursday, the first one of any prospective 2012 Republican candidates for President:  CLICK HERE

I was the first to announce that I was seriously considering running for President on April 10, 2010 at a press conference at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans.

I was the first to set up a Presidential Exploratory Committee back on July 18, 2010.

I was the first to run commercials on television in New Hampshire and Iowa beginning in September of last year.

Good Morning New Hampshire  ran for one week statewide

Independence Day  ran for one week statewide

I have travelled from my home in California to New Hampshire 11 times and Iowa 5 during the last 11 months.

I was the first to hire an Iowa State Director for my Presidential Exploratory Committee on December 1, 2010 and the first to bring on two coordinators in New Hampshire last fall.

I have arguably shown the most interest of any possible 2012 Presidential candidate as I test the waters like all others.  

When looking at CPAC’s chockfull schedule it seems like everyone who has shown the slightest interest of running in 2012 has a seat at the table.  You have even invited Herman Cain to speak at CPAC, a brand new name being discussed.   

I cannot help but think that I have been excluded solely because I happen to be gay.

I Was Even Turned Down for a Booth in the Exhibition Hall

In mid-December I spoke to Joseph Logue, your deputy at CPAC to make the necessary arrangements to at least rent a booth in the Exhibition Hall.  Mr. Logue was very happy at that time to rent me one, and indicated that there would not be a problem.  He took my application and credit card information via fax on December 21, 2010 right after we spoke

Here’s his email from December 20, 2010 asking me to apply for a booth.  

Subject:  CPAC 2011 Vendor Information
Date:  12/20/2010 4:52:26 P.M. Eastern Standard Time


Sorry I did not get this to you earlier.  Attached is the Vendor Benefits and Registration forms.  Thanks for your interest in CPAC 2011!

Joseph Logue
Assistant to the CPAC Director

The American Conservative Union

(703) 836-8602, ext. 17

I made repeated calls to Mr. Logue over the next two weeks to inquire about arrangements. The CPAC office was closed over the holidays and did not reopen until January 3, 2011.  On January 3rd I recieved the following email from Mr. Logue which suddenly said:  The exhibit hall was “sold out.”

Mr. Karger,

I’m sorry that I was not able to get back to you in a timely fashion because of the holidays.  Unfortunately we can not accommodate your request for a booth as our exhibit hall is sold out at this time.  If you would like to be put on a waiting list we would be happy to do so.  Thanks for your interest in CPAC 2011!

Joseph Logue
Assistant to the CPAC Director

The American Conservative Union

(703) 836-8602, ext. 17

How could the Exhibit Hall have “sold out” if the CPAC office was closed and all applications had to be faxed in?  Mine was faxed in before the holiday closure.

Others were told who called in well into January that there was space for “120 to 130 booths,” and “you can register for a booth up until the day before the Conference starts.”  On the CPAC webs site there are only 54 exhibitors signed up so far.  Several have been added just in the last week, including other possible candidates for President.

I feel that I was singled out and not allowed to rent a booth at CPAC because if I run for President next year, I would be the first openly gay person to ever do so.

The GOProud Controversy

I am well aware that the inclusion of GOProud at CPAC for the past two years has been controversial.  In a previous email I let you know how proud I was to know that CPAC stood by a gay Republican organization and its right to rent a booth in your exhibition hall last year and again this year.  You have courageously stood up to those bigots who boycotted CPAC simply because you would allow a gay organization into the building.

What More Do I Need to Do?

The Boston Globe recently listed Herman Cain and me as “the only two notables…” of the 2012 season thus far, the Des Moines Register includes me regularly in their list of potential 2012 contenders.  The Washington Post, New York Times, CBS News, Fox News, CNN, Politico, L A Times, The Hill, The Atlantic, Boston Herald, Mother Jones, the Concord Monitor, The Portsmouth Herald, Fox Radio, The Daily Caller, The Daily Beast, Gawker and hundreds of more newspapers, television and radio stations and blogs have all reported on my effort. 

You said in the New York Times on January 27, 2011 that “we try to give an umbrella for all the groups that are legitimately conservative on most issues.”

You went even further by telling the Times that “we figure that the debates and the discussions of issues are worthwhile.”

I still have great faith in your organization and you to do the right thing.  I believe those words that you told the New York Times apply, and I hope that I was left out because I was overlooked rather than purposefully excluded.  

Allow me to speak. Allow me to rent a booth.  Include me in the Straw Poll

I think my experience and ideas would fit well with any of the following panels:

Changing the Conversation: Winning with Minorities, Women and Independents

Two-Minute Activists

Pop Culture: An Influence or a Mirror?  

Are We Superman? Using School Choice and Home Schools to Grow the Conservative Movement.  

In the spirit of fairness and the Big Tent philosophy espoused by President Reagan, I hope that you will welcome me as a speaker, an exhibitor and to be included in the CPAC Straw Poll this year. 

Thank you very much, and I look forward to hearing for you.

Best regards,

Fred Karger