Event planner helping with Dole funeral let go for alleged tie to January 6 rally

An event planner volunteering his time to help plan the funeral of Senator Bob Dole was let go by Dole’s widow, former Senator Elizabeth Dole. The reason for his termination was cited as the planner’s alleged tie to the rally on January 6 that preceded the Capitol Hill riot.

Tim Unes, the president and founder of Event Strategies, Inc., has a history with the Doles. According to Steve Schwab, chief executive of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Unes served “served as an advance staffer for the late Senator Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign.” He was a volunteer helping organize memorial events for the late senator, including today’s event for Dole to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda.

Steve Schwab, the chief executive of the foundation, said in a statement that Mr. Unes was no longer working on the memorial events.

“This evening, I made Senator Elizabeth Dole aware of Mr. Unes’s alleged involvement in the events of Jan. 6, 2021,” Mr. Schwab said, referring to Mr. Dole’s widow, a former lawmaker from North Carolina. “Senator Dole was previously unaware of his participation and terminated his volunteer role.”

It turns out that Mitch McConnell’s aides contacted the Dole family about the fact that Unes has been subpoenaed by the select committee investigating the events of January 6. The fact that Unes was helping in the planning of Bob Dole’s funeral events was raising eyebrows. McConnell’s heads-up was taken by the Dole family and they agreed that Unes should play a limited role and not attend the ceremony at the Capitol. Unes is being investigated for participating as a rally planner for the January 6th Stop the Steal rally with Trump. The Dole family doesn’t want any distractions.

Unes has a history of producing Trump’s campaign announcement tour. His employees were involved in the 2016 campaign for Trump and Pence, too.

Mr. Unes is the founder and president of Event Strategies Inc., an event planning firm based in Washington. The firm’s website describes it as providing “cutting-edge event management and production services for clients and events of all types and sizes both in the United States and around the world.”

The company lists major corporations and associations as clients, including HBO, IBM, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, the American Red Cross and AARP.

The website notes that employees at Event Strategies “largely managed and staffed the 130-person operations team for Donald Trump and Mike Pence” in 2016. It also says that in 2015, Mr. Unes “produced Donald Trump’s campaign announcement tour and helped the campaign establish its operations division and standards.”

The Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack sent a letter to Unes on September 29. In the letter, his designation as “stage manager” for the January 6 rally on paperwork filed for the rally permit was noted. The committee requested his documents and that he give a deposition about his involvement.

“The investigation has revealed credible evidence of your involvement in events within the scope of the select committee’s inquiry,” the committee said. “According to documents provided to the select committee, press reports, and statements by Women for America First (WFAF), you assisted in organizing the rally held on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021, in support of then-President Trump and his allegations of election fraud.”

The letter indicated the committee’s demand that Mr. Unes deliver documents by Oct. 13 and appear for a deposition on Oct. 25.

It is not clear what Mr. Unes might have said to the committee, but the letter indicated that lawmakers were interested in whether he had any knowledge about the activities of Mr. Trump; Mark Meadows, his chief of staff; or other White House officials.

“The select committee seeks both documents and your deposition testimony regarding these and other matters that are within the scope of the select committee’s inquiry,” the letter said.

Elizabeth Dole was unaware of the alleged involvement of Unes in the January 6 rally. She terminated his role as a volunteer when she was given the information. The ceremony for Dole to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda this morning was moving and appeared to go off without a hitch.

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