Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Corruption of CFACT and Peter McCabe

On a liberal campus, there are few conservative groups to counteract leftist propaganda and thought. Nearly 6 years ago, CFACT (Collegiates for a Constructive Tomorrow) first put its footprint on the University of Wisconsin Campus. With its main objective to promote nuclear power and free-market environmentalism, a clearly right of center organization now had an opportunity to influence the campus on junk science and excessive environmental regulation. Where I stand environmentally is definitely a mixed-bag but I do stand with CFACT in being an advocate of nuclear power, consumers making environmental decisions, and other particular points. So why would I vote to minimally fund an organization that I somewhat agree with and speak critically of their organization? A number of reasons but it starts with their lack of activity and the corruption of their leaders and in particular, Peter McCabe. The corruption of this organization must be brought to light and with this post hopefully the blinds will open slightly.

Exhibit A: Peter McCabe and also Lindsey Ourada

A wealthy coasty from the Northeast, Peter McCabe is welcome as are all out of state students as they clearly add to the geographical diversity of the campus but also the diversity of experiences and dialogue. What isn’t welcome is the manipulative and selfish persona that many people also in the College Republicans and across campus have come to know. While Peter McCabe may fight for personal property rights on the environmental front, from personal experience I have seen that he does not value physical goods that belong to other people. Last summer at a party, he thought it was okay to take a grill that an owner had on his deck and keep it for his personal gain. Peter McCabe has a history of not only stealing goods from individuals, he seems to also like to steal from UW's students. He wants not only a $35,000 position for himself in the following year but how about also 4 positions for buddies and a trip to Mexico, all paid for by students. His character can also be evaluated on the front that he does everything in his power to dramatize events and take down people that stand up for what is right. The way he has unfairly attacked Kellie Sanders (who has been found not guilty) and is trying to impeach the entire SSFC committee (minus Goessl and Frey) also shows the lack of values integrity and virtue. The fact that him and Lindsey Ourada, both former SSFC members, gave us clearly a sub par budget filled with excessively high numbers, vague descriptions, and ridiculous requests and then proceed to not explain their budget, ridicule the committee, and then sue a number of members shows that both of CFACT’s core campus leaders are dishonest and greedy.

Exhibit B: History

The history of CFACT on UW’s campus is not one of major difference or activity. For instance, the few speakers that CFACT have only attracted at most 50 to 80 people, far lower than their projections of 1,300 for their major speaker series. The main essence of their group rests on their internship program but my question is how much do the interns really do? Former interns have said that they only did about 2 hours of work for an entire semester and got 3 credits for it. Is this an honest internship program and do these interns really deserve credit for the little work they put in? This is clearly working the system for personal gain on both CFACT and students. Obviously a certain fraternity got word of this great deal and signed on in droves (how else do you that their internship program expanded dramatically to around 60 or so students). I don’t know all the facts but further research and investigation needs to be done to see what CFACT’s intern program is really all about. Most likely the program is only about free credits. When CFACT came in asking for money for internship events, the only previous event that Lindsey Ourada could verify is a dunk tank, a dunk tank that they used to dunk hippies in. Sounds pretty hilarious until one realizes this is what CFACT is asking $10,000 for. So from the facts that CFACT has given the SSFC Committee and from other insider sources, CFACT has had very little if almost no impact on campus for the last 5 years.

Exhibit C: CFACT’s 2006-2007 Budget

CFACT came in within a dishonest budget and here are some of the highlights:

--$7,500 for a trip for 7 to Mexico

--$100,000 for 4 speaker honorarium (Yes, they expect to get 1,300 people at each event)

--$10,000 for dunk tanks

--$160,000 for 5 professional staff positions (Yes, I guess college student organizations need to have professional staff…. and not only do they need a professional staff person, they need 5.)

Let’s also add little/no job descriptions, lack of hiring policy, identical speaker descriptions, a blank request form, no description of the Mexico trip, no end of the year report, etc. This was not a budget worthy of anything but the minimum. Also, let’s add to the fact that CFACT is a contract group, giving McCabe and the leadership almost complete control of the money. No way! Try again next year CFACT when you can actually give the committee a detailed plan and strong justification for use of SEG fees.

If I were a national CFACT executive, I would make sure that I put in place honest and hardworking leadership for each chapter. Has the CFACT leadership placed strong student individuals in place, obviously not. If CFACT wants to compete with WISPIRG in the marketplace of ideas, they better earn their keep through strong programs. Their current and historic state says otherwise.

**Update 1/27/06** Additional/New Information on CFACT
--After meeting w/ numerous CFACT leaders I want to alter some of the statements I made in the above post.
1. Indirectly attacking Peter McCabe's geographical history and sociological background was unfair and fairly unobjective of me.
2. The lack of hiring policy is due to CFACT's contract group status (ie they are not required to have one).
3. The end of the year report for CFACT was lost by SSFC leadership and CFACT did provide one.
4. Pete McCabe and Lindsay Ourada do not desire positions with CFACT next year, with McCabe planning to enter armed service duty and Ourada teaching. The professional staff requests thus are not directly self serving.
5. CFACT has put in more safeguards and requirements in their internship program (specifically attendance rules). I still am not convinced that the CFACT internship program is very educational, hands-on, or demanding.
6. Their projection of 1300 for their internship events was based on a CFACT-sponsored speech that John Stoessl gave at UNC. This projection was not explained at all though in CFACT's hearing and still in my mind is not a fair or scientific number.
7. I respect CFACT's staff for challenging the campus with new ideas and their responsiveness to a number of my questions. I still however have issues with their budget, motives, and honesty during the SSFC process.
8. I believe I was too critical of Pete McCabe's character and I owe him an apology. I still do not agree with a number of things he has done but I might have been slightly judgemental/untactful in my analysis.


  • Still no comments, wow, the CFACTers must be too busy printing this BLOG entry out for use in an up coming VPN violation case against you!


    By Blogger RT the LT, at 8:27 PM  

  • Good reasoning, Tim. It'll be interesting to see if a CFACTer posts any reasonable defense.

    I must admit, two of the better speakers that I've seen on campus were from CFACT - one guy who talked about nuclear power and another who talked about the ridiculous war on DDT. But, definitely not 1000+ people, more like 50.

    By Blogger Mark Murphy, at 10:53 PM  

  • Yeah, I remember hearing about a couple of their speakers during my freshman year. I haven't heard about anyone they've brought in this year or the last.

    By Blogger Tim, at 12:52 AM  

  • I'd say score one for Timmyscape - an excellently-reasoned post that CFACT can't even touch. Good job!

    By Blogger Steve S, at 2:09 PM  

  • Interesting that someone is able to attack a person and in conclusion attack the group that he works for...This blog is definitely entertaining a multitude of ideas, which consist of an extreme lack of information as well as a personal dislike of a certain Peter McCabe. The comical part is that I don't know either person at all, but I know CFACT very well specifically on the UW campus. In spring 2006 CFACT brought in Ted Nugent, with approximately 1500 students, in Fall 2007 CFACT brought in John Stossel, as well as 3 public policy speakers (for instance dr. Ariel Cohen) which had a large number of attendees and stossel had 1200, spring of 2008 had Jonah Goldberg, Chris horner, and 2 other environmental public policy speakers.

    If people want to attack CFACT as a group on campus they should AT LEAST know who to attack, such as the CFACT personnel that re-wrote the ASM bylaws, or maybe they should try to learn how to have an open mind about issues in which they are most likely not experts.

    Moral of the story I don't know or care about Peter McCabe, but realize that trying to call out a group just because we are a free market environmentalist group instead of a big government environmentalist group is pretty pathetic especially with such a poorly constructed argument

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:48 PM  

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