It is with a very heavy heart that I write this letter. I have refrained from responding publicly out of respect for Phyllis and the leaders and activists of Eagle Forum. It is unfortunate that some have chosen to make a private, internal conflict public because the only true loss has been the mission and objectives that Phyllis and her dedicated volunteers have been carrying forward all of these years.
It has come to my attention that not many know the truth about my termination. I am writing in hopes that you will take what happened to me and ensure that it does not happen again. My prayer is that you will respond in a way that honors Phyllis and her legacy by asking the necessary questions, and taking the necessary steps forward, to salvage what is left of the organization.
I still do not know why the decision to terminate me was made, but I can say with certainty that it has been an honor, joy, and privilege to serve Eagle Forum since my days as an intern in the St. Louis office almost seven years ago. As I have said time and again, the organization built by Phyllis and her army of state leaders and activists is truly unique and has been invaluable to the conservative movement. I can assure you that I have represented the organization proudly and remained loyal to our shared mission.
In all my years with Eagle Forum, I never received a negative review nor was I given anything but positive feedback. In fact, in addition to moving from intern in 2010 to being hired as legislative director in 2011 and then promoted to executive director in 2013, in June of 2015, I received a very significant raise in salary for which I was very grateful. Despite it all, Ed Martin called me and terminated my employment, effective immediately, on April 8, 2016, without warning and without cause.
Because of my utter shock, I immediately called John Schlafly to ask for an explanation. John has been a loyal mentor, advisor, and friend to me over my six years of employment. John professed to me that he had no idea what was going on and that he did not know of or agree with Ed’s actions.
Minutes after our call, I received an email from Ed Martin reiterating my termination and stating that I had “been disloyal.” He had not mentioned anything about “disloyalty” during our phone call, and he provided no other clarification in the email, only the accusation. He went on to say that we would work out an appropriate severance package; however, my repeated requests for severance have been ignored. A few hours later, I received several calls from a reporter asking for comment because he had heard I “was fired for disloyalty to Phyllis Schlafly.” I refused to comment because it was clear to me that organizational turmoil should not be made public. In over 40 years of existence, Eagle Forum has always operated with a keen sense of respect for one another despite any political or personal differences; therefore, I saw no reason to speak publicly of the conflict from the last 17 months.
On an April 8th leader conference call (audio is available), held moments after my termination, Ed insinuated to our state leaders that I had resigned. Since I was on the call, I corrected him by telling everyone that I had been fired. Ed refused to give our state leaders a reason for my termination, yet he made the defamation public in the press. John told me that Ed should have never made that accusation, and it would not happen again. However, on April 25th, an extremely long column detailing the conflict within Eagle Forum was printed. It was reported that Ed Martin had confirmed that I had been disloyal, and this comment was repeated in several other news sources.
I want to make clear my intentions. If you’ve known me any length of time, you know that I did not come to Washington for a career but because I truly believe that God called me to Eagle Forum, “for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14) I have followed Phyllis since an early age because of the influence of my grandmother who has been a member of Eagle Forum for almost 40 years. While I had many opportunities to leave and advance my career, I stayed loyal to Eagle Forum because I believe in the organization’s mission and the objectives by which the mission is achieved.
I’m humbled and grateful that Phyllis trusted me to carry that mission forward in Washington, D.C. I can confidently say that my entire heart and soul went into my work, night and day, and I left having given it my all.
I mention all of this to bring attention to the fact that the mission of Eagle Forum has been lost amidst the turmoil. This election year is critical to the future of our nation, and as the country has been squabbling over presidential politics, Congressional leadership has been running roughshod over our values. Since my departure from Eagle Forum, I have watched our conservative allies battle the transgender agenda, illegal amnesty, women in combat, and other progressive ideals. Unfortunately, because of my untimely termination, Eagle Forum’s voice was not heard (with the exception of a group letter on women in combat); and, as our friends battle the Republican establishment in many Congressional races across the country, Eagle Forum PAC has been absent.
I have watched this controversy over the future of Eagle Forum play out since January of 2015. I can assure you there is no “hostile takeover” from the so-called “Gang of Six.” This is not about presidential politics, philosophical or principled disagreements, or long-time volunteers seeking fancy titles. This conflict is about the leadership, management, and future of the organization built by Phyllis and her dedicated state leaders. It saddens me to see the character and reputation of the very women Phyllis chose to build Eagle Forum be so distastefully maligned in public. The attack emails and robo-calls have done nothing but hurt our cause and the organization.
Although my future is bright with a new job and coming marriage, I fear regret if I remain silent at this time. While I do not want to disparage the name of anyone in this organization, I believe there are several questions that need to be asked at this time. If Eagle Forum is to have a future, it is necessary to understand the damage that has been done.
I am certainly available to speak with anyone who is interested about my experience under the leadership of Ed Martin. Otherwise, I humbly submit and encourage you to seek answers to the following:
- Since January of 2015, how much money has been spent and raised? Has Eagle Forum’s membership grown or diminished during this time?
- How has Eagle Forum’s stature and influence been elevated or weakened? What do other conservative leaders say about Eagle Forum’s work under the leadership of Ed Martin?
- Why have Eagle Forum leaders been complaining about a lack of support—including unreturned phone calls, e-mails, and a lack of follow through—on promises made or ideas discussed over the past 17 months?
- Why were the individuals who were recruited by Phyllis—Colleen Holmes Holcomb, Connie Mackey, and Mary Summa – to help direct Eagle Forum’s activities for the Republican National Convention neglected and stymied? Why are our conservative allies, whom we have worked with on the Republican platform for years, accusing Eagle Forum of having dropped the ball on its usual Convention efforts?
- What possible justification is there for subjecting 40,000 Eagle Forum subscribers to slanderous attacks, blatant falsehoods, and conspiracy theories about state leaders who have a collective 219 years of volunteer service to Eagle Forum?
- Can the trust these subscribers placed in Eagle Forum be rebuilt under the same leadership that continually and intentionally subjected them to blatant misrepresentations of the truth?
I will close with this encouragement that God gave to Israel through His prophet Micah: … and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
I pray that in the coming days, we all will conduct ourselves with fairness, kindness, mercy, and humility, as this has been the climate under which Eagle Forum has prospered for over 40 years. God has tremendously blessed the work of Phyllis Schlafly and Eagle Forum, and I pray that the best is yet to come.
With love and respect,