Tonight's truth delves into the murky water of campaign promises. Usually, a candidate waits until he/she is elected before they break a campaign promise. Remember "Read My Lips---No New Taxes?" But in this election, one candidate already has egg on his face.
Since Bill John Baker first announced his candidacy for Principal Chief, he's made a big deal out of campaign finance, honesty and integrity. As recently as the end of April, Baker "challenged" Chad Smith to forgo campaign contributions from non-Cherokee, outside vendors. He also challenged Smith to not accept campaign donations from owners of businesses that contract with the tribe and its entities.
Baker, early on in January, told the Cherokee Phoenix, "I believe refusing contributions from anyone who benefits from contracts with our people will ensure there is not even the hint of impropriety or conflict of interest."
Then, in campaign material Baker mailed out to voters he made a promise. It was such a big promise that he underlined it. He declared to Cherokee voters that "He is the only candidate who refuses to accept campaign contributions from non-Cherokee outside vendors who make money from our Nation."
The Truth? Bill John Baker has taken at least $11,000 from three individuals who are both non-Cherokee AND vendors who make money by doing business with Cherokee Nation. What's even more startling is that when he made the above challenge to Smith on April 27, 2011, he had ALREADY POCKETED all $11,000 from the very folks he promised he would not take campaign contributions.
We'll break it down for you. Baker took $5,000 from non-Cherokee vendor Dr. Christopher DeLoache back on January 13, 2011. Dr. Deloache has made more than a million dollars thru his association with the tribe.
Then, on April 14, 2011, he took $1,000 from Randy Skinner, owner of Tahlequah Lumber, a non-Cherokee vendor who has made more than $6.7 million doing business with Cherokee Nation.
A few days later on April 18, Baker pocketed another $5,000 from George Glover of Glover Construction Company who has been paid more than $6 million by the tribe for services rendered.
Want to see for yourself? Click here to and scroll down to page 4 to see DeLoache's donation and click here and scroll down to pages 5 and 7 to see Glover and Skinner's donations.
And because we are only interested in the truth, the Freedom of Information Act confirms what we are reporting tonight:
It's possible, but not likely, that Baker didn't know that three of his biggest campaign donors did business with the Cherokee Nation. Especially the two Tahlequah donors. If he knows them well enough to ask them for money, and he's made an important campaign promise about his donors, you'd think he'd ask them whether they did business with the Cherokee Nation.
In the campaign flyer in which Baker talks about not taking money from vendors, he also says 'the integrity of tribal government needs to be restored.' At this point, Baker needs to either return the money and keep his promise, or admit that he's breaking his promise.
The Truth is that Baker broke a campaign promise just weeks after he made it, and weeks before he was even an official candidate.