Saturday, February 26, 2022

BLURRED ETHICAL LINES: Commissioner JEREMIAH RAY BLOCKER Represented National Guard Officers Wanting to Sell Products to Military

February 25, 2022 Update to February 22, 2022 article: Still no response from controversial Florida National Guard Major JEREMIAH RAY BLOCKER, St. Johns County Commissioner (R-Ponte Vedra), conflicted lawyer for military officers wanting to make money with a business doing work for the military and service members. Wonder why?

More blurred ethical lines involving St. Johns County Commissioner JEREMIAH RAY BLOCKER (R-Ponte Vedra), a Major with our Florida National Guard, headquartered here in St. Augustine?  

BLOCKER has raised $181,068 from developers, contractors and dodgy Limited Liability Corporations for his 2022 re-election campaign.</span>

In his private law practice, BLOCKER represented several National Guard officers who wanted to sell services and products to the military and service members, involving "Corporation X" and "BogiDope LLC


The officers and corporations' indecent demands for ethics waivers were roundly rejected in a recommendation by JEFFREY M. POZEN, Lt. Colonel, FLANG Staff Judge Advocate for the Air Force 125th Fighter Wing, and by the staff of the Florida Ethics Commission. 

The clients of conflicted lawyer JEREMIAH BLOCKER was afforded an opportunity to have a ruling by the full Ethics Commission, but did not request one.

Yes, the offending officers were represented by JEREMIAH RAY BLOCKER, currently a St. Johns County Commissioner (R-Ponte Vedra), who apparently did NOT disclose to the Ethics Commission that:

  • he himself was a National Guard Officer; and 
  • his is a County Commissioner.   

As they say in East Tennessee, JEREMIAH RAY BLOCKER "bears watchin.'"

Update: At 9 AM and later today, I reached out to BLOCKER for comment on these inculpatory documents. No response as of 10:15 PM.

BLOCKER is now a partner with the DOUGLAS LAW FIRM, which represents the City of St. Augustine Beach, other governments and corporations, while continuing to encumber a position as a Major with the Florida National Guard. His political influence didn't hurt when Governor RONALD DION DeSANTIS appointed BLOCKER's wife to the new County Court judgeship last year.

BLOCKER has a graduate degree in military history from Norwich University. 

BLOCKER must know that corruption, self-dealing and conflicts of interest in Civil War military and naval contracts led to enactment of the False Claims Act, known as the Abraham Lincoln law.  This was after Congressional hearings verified soldier and sailor complaints of corruption-based government purchases from favored agents, including military officers and their friends and relatives, of lame horses, blankets made of a fabric called "shoddy," which fell apart in the rain,  and even defective and exploding guns that didn't shoot straight.

During the Civil War, war profiteering was so bad that Lincoln fired Secretary of War Simon Cameron and supported adoption of the False Claims Act. Neutered before WWII and revived under President Ronald Reagan, the False Claims Acts allows "relators' with knowledge of government contract fraud to step into the government's shoes and to sue  qui tamon behalf of the people of the United States.  More than $65,000,000,000 has been recovered in federal courts since 1987, with 3/4 of the recovery in cases begun by whistleblowers. 


Do JEREMIAH RAY BLOCKER's blurred ethical lines representing military officers who seek to profit from military service dishonor the memory of all U.S. veterans?  

Is there a consistent pattern of blurred ethical lines among Florida National Guard lawyers doing private legal work, as in the case of Major GARY BRIAN DAVENPORT, who represents property owners before the City of St. Augustine and St. Johns County, even though he is a full-time federal employee?

Should JEREMIAH RAY BLOCKER resign now before the voters reject this phony? 

You tell me. 

UPDATE:  I reached out to BLOCKER for comment. No response. Wonder why?  As William F. Buckley, Jr. would say, "Why does baloney reject the grinder?"

Here are the pertinent documents, starting with the October 20, 2018 memo by JEFFREY M. POZEN, Lt Colonel, FLANG Staff Judge Advocate




SUBJECT: Legal Review of Off Duty Employment Request for Lt Col Stephen Pierce

1. I have reviewed the above referenced Off Duty Employment Request and JA does NOT concur. This off duty employment would create an appearance of conflict of interest and cause the general public to question the impartiality of the Florida Air National Guard. The employment also has the potential to create an actual conflict of interest if the member, through his employment at the corporation, becomes involved in, or has a financial interest in, a government contract while serving as a full time government employee. I recommend that the case be submitted to the State Ethics Advisor for review.

2. BACKGROUND: This case originates from two off duty employment requests, 1) a consulting position with BogiDope, LLC; 2), to work as an employee (prospectively submitted) of private corporation to develop a centralized web site for pilot applications (both UPT and military).

  1. Lt Col Pierce submitted application 1 for off duty employment with BogiDope, LLC as a consultant and application 2 for a yet to be formed corporation to create a centralized website for active duty and civilian pilot applications.

  2. The nature of both applications is presumably in the status of an employee, but since the corporation has not been formed, and Lt Col Pierce appears to be one of the founding members, he might also be an officer and share-holder in the corporation.

3. STANDARDS: The ethical standards involved include

  1. The Joint Ethics Regulation, et. al.

    i. JER 1-300.b.(1) Applicability to National Guard Members
    ii. JER 2-206, 3-304 Prior Approval of Outside Employment and Business Activities iii. JER 5-402, Contracts with DoD Employees

  2. 18 USC §208 Actual Conflict of Interest

  3. 5 CFR §2635.502 Appearance of Conflict of Interest

4. ANALYSIS: Fundamentally, a member of the Florida Air National Guard should not use his official position to support or enhance his private gain and outside employment should not conflict with official duties.

a. The member’s first application to be employed by BogiDope, LLC as a consultant for pilot applicants. Inherent in the consulting relationship is the experience and expertise of the consultant in the career field of aviation. However, since the member is currently serving in

Pierce, 159 FS / Legal Review / Off Duty Employment

30 October 2018

the Air National Guard, it is impossible to remove the implicit inference that the client is benefitting from speaking to an actively serving military officer. While there are disclaimers in the terms of services agreement to clarify the relationship between the consultant and the client, the greatest impact will be on the cross section of “non-clients”, who were also not selected for UPT or an airline position. It is very likely that the perception of non-selectees will be that they “lost out” by not having the inside information, or contacts, that were available to the clients of BogiDope. Posts from review of BogiDope (A new UPT Hiring Website)

1- I used BogiDope for a mock interview and was thoroughly impressed and feel a lot more prepared for the real deal. Without giving all of his info away just in case (seems like some of us spoke to the same person), the interviewer I had is a current fighter pilot commander who not only interviewed over 5 times himself as an applicant but has now sat on more UPT boards than he can remember...

2- The articles on the site are awesome so far, but I was especially interested in the consultation service. Last week I spoke to Stephen on the phone after I'd sent him one of my Guard UPT board application examples a few days before. He's a former AD F-15E pilot and now a Guard F-15C pilot and FedEx pilot. I was seriously blown away by talking to him...

b. The member’s second application advocates for development of a web service that will, “save the DoD millions of dollars, save thousands of man-hours, increase an operational commander’s ability to maintain combat readiness, streamline the pilot application process...” However, the application does not explain how or why this web based service must be developed separate and apart from the member’s current government employment. The capability of centralizing the pilot application process could be centralized by the Air Force within the Air Force. Contracting the functionality of centralization to a vendor might be efficient or cost effective, but it is not in and of itself, absolutely necessary.

c. The centralized web based application service is “aligned with the CSAF’s increased emphasis on squadron innovation” however, this is not squadron innovation, this prospective request for off duty employment moves the innovation from the squadron to a private corporation. The applicant is seeking a special status within the squadron [no contact with the pilot application process] that will allow him to perform outside employment, for a corporation that then conducts business with the Air Force, the Air Force Reserves, and other State Air National Guards.

d. The application has conscientiously addressed the issue of conflict of interest on two fronts, first by notifying individual clients, in the terms of service agreement, that the business is not endorsed by or representing the federal government, and second by establishing that the company will not solicit any organization within the Florida National Guard. The purpose of the client disclaimer appears to be to notify prospective clients that they will not benefit from the member’s status as a member of the Florida Air National Guard. The purpose of the non-solicitation clause appears to be to eliminate the appearance of conflict of interest by agreeing to not do business with the Florida Air National Guard.


Pierce, 159 FS / Legal Review / Off Duty Employment

e. The terms of service agreement cannot, in and of itself, remove the structural reality of a conflict of interest in this business model. First, the terms of service only notify the corporation’s clients. Other applicants, who are not clients of the corporation, will not be notified of the status of the government employees. Non-client applicants are the most likely group to perceive a conflict of interest if they are not selected. Second, the terms of service includes a confidentiality clause. Under the terms of the confidentiality clause, the employee could be legally restricted from disclosing adverse information about a client to the government (e.g. the Air Force, AF Reserve, etc.)

f. The non-solicitation clause appears to be nullified by the business model of the proposed corporation. If the goal of the proposed corporation is to develop a “centralized” service for both active duty and civilian pilot applicants, the offer not to solicit Florida does not eliminate the ethical dilemma. If the system is truly centralized, then the Florida Air Guard will be punished by not being allowed to participate in a centralized system, because employees of the corporation were employed by the Florida Air National Guard. By definition, the idea of a centralized system will require to the corporation employees to conduct business with the Air Force and the Air Force Reserves. While the member is under the authority of the Florida Air National Guard while in Title 32 Status (10 U.S.C. §32), the “state status” does not remove the member from his membership in the organization which is ultimately the Department of Air Force.

g. The application refers to “nominal fees” charged to “other squadrons, NGB or other DoD agencies”. This infers that the corporation intends to be a government contractor. This means that the member could potentially be negotiating with the Air Force to administer a centralized application website for pilots, while simultaneously serving as a pilot in the Florida Air National Guard and the Air Force.

h. Under the JER 5-402, contracts with DoD employees are prohibited unless the Government’s needs cannot reasonably be met. This would prohibit the employees from contracting with the government to provide the centralized application service.

i. After reviewing the proposed employment, especially in the context of soliciting and conducting business with the government, the member’s application also fails to meet the requirements in 5 CFR §2635.502: in other words, there is an appearance of a conflict of interest.

j. The test in 5 CFR §2635.502 is, “...that the circumstances would cause a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts to question his impartiality in the matter...” The applicant is requesting to serve as a National Guard pilot, while simultaneously working for a corporation that will centrally control all pilot applications in the Air Force, the Reserves and the National Guard. The reasonable person would question the impartiality of one National Guard pilot working for a corporation that is generating revenue by centralizing all pilot applications in the Air Force system.

Pierce, 159 FS / Legal Review / Off Duty Employment

5. RECOMMENDATIONS: 125 FW/JA does NOT concur on application 1 (BogiDope consultant), or application 2 (centralized application website). Wing level JA does not have the authority to approve a conflict of interest waiver. Ultimately, the impact of this off-duty employment extends far beyond the mission of the 159 FS and the 125 FW. Since higher level organizations (FLANG, AF Res, AF) will be impacted by these ethical and business relationships, a comprehensive assessment of these issues should be completed by FLANG/HQ. Recommend that the package be submitted to the State Ethics Counselor for review. As the Squadron Commander, you can either approve or disapprove this request for off duty employment.


Lt Colonel, FLANG Staff Judge Advocate

Pierce, 159 FS / Legal Review / Off Duty Employment

Here's the Florida Ethics Commission opinion by lawyer Carolyn Klancke, responding to a letter from BLOCKER on his private law firm letterhead, not disclosing he is: (a) a National Guard Officer; and (b) a St. Johns County Commissioner.


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