by: Golden State Insider // UPDATED: 3:01 P.M.–Feb. 13, 2018
The California Young Democrats, the state party’s youth democratic arm, statewide race for president has tightened up heading into the election at the end of this month, with new revelations that candidate Will Rodriguez-Kennedy is currently under investigation by NextGen California for expenditure disputes, an organization he received a six-figure grant from to be used for voter registration.
Last week, we reported on the upcoming California Young Democrats election, with former republican, current male-feminist Rodriguez-Kennedy almost seeking control of the major chartered clubs with votes heading into a potential victory for his young democrats campaign and slate, against a completely qualified democratic candidate woman of color, Dyana Marie Delfín Polk.
Following our report, sources within the San Diego community approached this publication claiming that while president of the San Diego Democrats for LGBT Equality, Rodriguez-Kennedy fell short on registration goals after receiving a generous $186,000 in the form of two grants from NextGen California, including having allegedly spent thousands of dollars of grant funds on items such as hotel stays, donations to the California Young Democrats, airlines, bars, and restaurant purchases unrelated to the specific agreement of registering voters in San Diego.
The Times of San Diego is now reporting that Rodriguez-Kennedy and the San Diego Democrats for LGBT Equality’s expenditures are currently being investigated and scrutinized by NextGen California and other members and activists in the community after failing to reach his voter registration targets.
When reached for an official comment, a spokesperson for NextGen California stated, “We’re disappointed to hear that some of the funds may have been mismanaged, and are working directly with the organization to ensure all terms set forth in the grant agreement have been met, and will take action accordingly.”
The Daily Fold has further learned through our investigation that multiple sources within the state young democrats are stating their discomfort and worries regarding revelations of an earlier embezzlement allegation against Rodriguez-Kennedy as well.
In 2011, Rodriguez-Kennedy resigned his position as president of the San Diego Log Cabin Republicans, an LGBT organization founded by republicans, due to an allegation that he embezzled money from the official Log Cabin Republicans’ bank account into his own personal bank account. Rodriguez-Kennedy has claimed it was a “mistake”, but resigned his position anyway.
Although board members at the time supported his decision to resign, they referred to his actions as “egregious”. Sources say the resignation came because Rodriguez-Kennedy was unable to attend board meetings in which they were to address his ramifications from the embezzlement allegation.
It is unclear how much the embezzlement allegation and resignation from the Log Cabin Republicans affected Rodriguez-Kennedy’s decision to change his voter registration from republican to democrat and start anew. It is also unclear how much the donations from his club’s NextGen grants to the California Young Democrats have effected his standing and candidacy for the office. But it has not stopped young democratic activists from their recent whisper campaign against Rodriguez-Kennedy’s candidacy, due to their reservations of him being potentially in charge of one of the largest, if not, the largest young democratic federations in the U.S., with a six-figure budget. Party officials have been mostly silent, however, state young democrats National Committeewoman Carrie McFadden, a known feminist who decided not to run for the position herself, has ironically stuck to her endorsement of Rodriguez-Kennedy over the only woman in the race.
To heat up things more in the final weeks of the campaign, Rodriguez-Kennedy recently went negative against his opponent’s campaign slate, accusing Delfín Polk’s campaign and her slate of being “homophobic” and anti-veteran, although public records and social media posts show that Delfín Polk was born on an Air Force Base and grew up in a military family.
We will keep you updated on the election as it unfolds. The election for president will be held at the California Young Democrats’ statewide convention, which runs concurrent to the state Democratic Party’s convention being held in San Diego at the end of this month.
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