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09 January 2013

Georgia Democratic Party Executive Committee Member Resigns Amid Allegations of Racism

Tuesday, 9 January 2013, I received a spate of emails from my source inside the Democratic Party of Georgia detailing the turmoil within that organization. Given the fact that the Democratic Party of Georgia is a political party as defined by state law [O.C.G.A § 21-2-2] and is governed by certain provisions of state law [O.C.G.A. § 21-2-110, § 21-2-111 and § 21-2-112], I have no qualms about publishing these emails, as they concern a public (albeit, volunteer) organization authorized and governed by the State of Georgia.

So let's get started.

In May, 2012, following her very open letter to the public demanding Georgia Democratic Party chairman Mike Berlon resign his office, Democratic Party activist Catherine Smith submitted her own resignation as a member of the state Democratic executive committee.

Smith, who donated her time and money to other left-wing groups including Georgia WAND (Women's Actions for New Directions) and the Atlanta Young Democrats, cited allegations of racism as her reasons for stepping down as 5th Congressional District Chair for the Democratic Party of Georgia.

Below is the resignation letter of Catherine Smith, addressed to members of the Georgia state Democratic committee:

Dear State Committee of Georgia Member,

It’s with a heavy heart that I write this letter to you, my colleagues on the Democratic Party of George State Committee. For more than 40 of my 55 years, I have devoted time, energy, and money to Democratic Party causes and efforts. My work goes back long before the days of email, websites, cell phones and Facebook. My parents, with me by their side, fought battles in the 1960’s that seem distant to many of us now. It is their inspiration and commitment that has inspired me to help in the important battles that we all fight today.

Over the last month I have been under a quiet attack that included accusations of racism, intolerance, and conspiracy. I believe this has done irreparable damage to my reputation, a reputation long built on fighting for justice, equality, civil rights, and for people who will represent those important values. Written words that I did not write and actions I did not take have been attributed to me. There have been demands for my removal as 5th Congressional District Chair, due to my alleged misdeeds on the day of the Delegate Selection Caucus and regarding a blog post at Blog for Democracy following the caucus. I did not write the post in question, nor did I do anything untoward at the caucus. In fact, throughout the day both me and our amazing crew of volunteers were complimented on our organization, patience, and skill in handling such a large caucus. Since the caucus, no one has contacted me directly to complain.

As a volunteer with The Democratic Party of Georgia, my time is limited and I cannot justify spending that time fighting for a position that many would prefer I not hold. Frankly, I prefer to work with people and organizations that will welcome me, my money, and my commitment.

So, today I submit my resignation as Fifth Congressional District Chair of The Democratic Party of Georgia, and At Large Post Seat Holder of the Fulton County Democratic Party effective Monday, May 21, 2012. I hope that my resignation will satisfy those that have demanded it and that The Democratic Party of Georgia, and the Fulton County Democrats can move forward, without distraction, to elect Democrats.

I have worked hard these past 8 years, alongside many of you, to help the party, organizations and candidates to make our communities better for all. I wish you all the best in your efforts.

Democratically yours,

Catherine Smith

Following Smith's resignation, Kip Carr was named interim Congressional District Chair, pending a special election to fill the vacancy.