In the process one of the groups that Smeriglio contacted was ALIPAC, led by William Gheen, a group he had worked with in the past. ALIPAC had provided little to no funding of Smeriglio’s events and little support. Oh, but Mr. Gheen can talk let me tell you. The only thing Gheen can do better than talk is take credit for other people’s work. Soon the event was a joint operation, with ALIPAC an equal, though having done little.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes in a little apartment in Pennsylvania, one man was making phone calls and working himself to delirium. I talked to Dan Smeriglio during those days on the phone and he sounded utterly exhausted. He was running off of pure adrenalin to make the phone calls, get the commitments, get things moving on the ground in Arizona and to do it with as little sleep as possible, as even a short rest was time wasted in making this happen. Did I mention he was also working at a job as well?
Smeriglio announced on April 29, 2010 (see screenshot left) that he would be appearing with PA State Rep Daryl Metcalfe as he announced Pennsylvania’s version of SB1070 into the PA State House. Smeriglio would make his announcement of the as yet unnamed Phoenix rally there.
On May 3, 2010 Smeriglio set up a Facebook Group page and announced the rally (seen screen shot below right).
When he created the Facebook Group, the description he wrote included this prophetic line of things to come:
"We have been attacked by everyone and anyone calling us every name in the book and yet we are still here! I have never sold out the integrity of what I started either as we believe that our freedoms were already bought and paid for by the brave men and women of our armed forces who made the ultimate sacrifice! We have never taken public money for these event's which is hard but it is my belief that our freedoms and bill of rights do not have a price tag attached to them!
I have made a promise to all of you that no matter what it takes and no matter who tries to stand in our way that we will overcome any and all adversity and we will make this rally happen no matter what! This is my pledge to all of you!"
According to phone calls I had with Gheen later, this is about the time when Gheen wanted to start changing things. June 5th was out and June 12th was in. Gheen insisted that June 12 was too early. I am not at all sure what Gheen was doing behind the scenes, but it appears that he was working with a few Tea Party groups and others to set up the June 12th event - of which ALIPAC would be the lead sponsor. This would give them prominence nationally and gain them much in membership, donations and bragging rights (of which Gheen cares tremendously). Now if Gheen could just find a way to ensure it moved to June 12th from June 5th… he’d really have to hustle on things though.
On May 4, 2010 ALIPAC put out a release that it was responsible for bringing SB1070 legislation to 12 other states. This is a common "Modus Operandi" of ALIPAC over the years, to claim that they were the lead or sole reason in the passing, introduction or defeating of legislation. They did it with the ultimate defeat of amnesty years ago, making it seem in their releases that they had a larger role to play than they actually did. Sure they helped, but groups like NumbersUSA, commentators like Lou Dobbs and just general citizens of this country who were outraged had a lot more to do with it.
Another example, ALIPAC has made claims that they have been behind the sponsoring and passing of legislation in Georgia when I know for an absolute fact that they played little to no part, because I know the individual personally who fought day after day at getting legislation pushed through in Georgia.
Here is what was passed off in that May 4 email to all of their ALIPAC members.
"One of America's largest grassroots organizations fighting against illegal immigration has used their national network and existing state legislation campaigns to help quickly carry Arizona's SB 1070 to twelve other states!"
Yes, it was ALIPAC! No other groups or individuals were doing a thing. They were all just sitting on their hands to wait for ALIPAC to save the day! And they did!
On May 5, 2010, the next day, William Gheen of ALIPAC sent out a notice to all of his members:
"Please save the date for Saturday, June 5, 2010 as we plan to announce a national march to help Arizona and support SB 1070.
As a top coalition leader in the immigration enforcement movement who has paved the way on building contacts and alliances within the Tea Party movement, ALIPAC is currently talking with activists and leaders about these plans.
For the last six days, many of us have been discussing what we can do to help Arizona and America."
Now for those not paying attention, 6 days works out to about April 30th. Smeriglio had been working on things for quite a bit non-stop before ALIPAC even entered the scene. Smeriglio had secured some names and now Gheen wanted in.
"Dan Smeriglio of Voice of the People USA has the ball rolling and several groups and organizations are already signing up with us. We have been talking with and working with Dan and many other leaders preparing for this national effort.
Here is the Facebook page Dan has set up already for this effort at this link.
The Facebook Page, since its launch on May 3, had over 1,200 people join in the first couple of days and was growing quickly. That was prior to any ALIPAC support. Rather than create a joint website for the new event, ALIPAC chose to take control of the online presence using its AgainstAmnesty.com website. Gheen has always had a fetish for websites that he controls. I never quite understood that, as we had worked together for years and I was a dot-com CTO of a web company with vast website and coding experience and had offered him help in the past. Smeriglio had already mentioned to me that he needed to get a website made for the event. Gheen went with his.
By the time of this press release on May 5, I had already been heavily involved in talks with both Smeriglio and Gheen and agreed to try to get in touch with some speakers for Dan and contacted many of the people I know. Smeriglio though, had gone to the heavy hitters already and pretty much secured them.
One leader, who previously had known conflicts with Mr. Gheen and ALIPAC, surprisingly sent this in an email to me in response to the May 5 ALIPAC release:
"We all need to put aside our group affiliations and egos and support this rally for the PEOPLE - Arizonans and all Americans!"
It was now a group effort and even people with conflicts were on board. Or so we thought.
Next: To Whom Doth The Traitor Lie?