In January 2013, once the House Majority Whip Frank Underwood's chief of staff Doug Stamper discovered Kapeniak's connection with Kern and informed his boss about it, the two decided to use Kapeniak to take down already scrambling Kern who was awaiting confirmation after being tapped for the Secretary of State post by the newly elected President Garrett Walker.
Early life and education
Kapeniak attended Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. While there, he wrote for The Williams College Register, a college paper edited at the time by Michael Kern. Sharing similar political ideas, the two friends expressed their anti-establishment views in the paper's editorials.
Unlike Kern who later enrolled in law school and then went into politics, eventually completely abandoning his worldview and becoming Senator from Colorado, Kapeniak remained devoted to ideas outside of the American political mainstream.
By late January 2013, when House Majority Whip Frank Underwood via his Chief of Staff Doug Stamper became aware of the former college paper staffer, Kapeniak is a pothead burnout living in a Massachusetts trailer park with his stripper girlfriend and maintaining an obscure blog titled The Truth and Only the Truth: The Blog and Mind of Roy Kapeniak that features topics such as pharmaceutical mind control, Federal Reserve's currency debasement, and the theory that JFK was killed by his own limo driver.
September 1978 editorial about the Camp David Accords
On 22 January 2013, shortly before learning of Kapeniak, Underwood was given a 1978 unsigned editorial from The Williams College Register. Written just after the September 1978 Camp David Accords, the editorial labels the Israeli presence in Gaza Strip and West Bank "an illegal occupation since 1967". Though it was entirely unclear at this point whether Kern actually wrote the editorial, Underwood immediately realized what an unpopular and undesirable point of view this is for a prospective State Department official to even be remotely connected to. The House Majority Whip thus decided to exploit the lack of evidence of Senator Kern's authorship as the basis for an orchestrated smear campaign by leaking the story to journalist Zoe Barnes who, despite some professional reservations due to lack of an explicit link with Kern, penned an article that appeared on the front page of The Washington Herald under the headline "Secretary of State Nominee Michael Kern Approved Anti-Israel Editorial". As the story got traction, Kern was caught off guard when questioned about it George Stephanopoulos during an appearance on This Week, fumbled his response, leading to a chorus of criticism from various powerful pro-Israel groups on the Capitol Hill, including the Anti-Defamation League president Dennis Mendel calling him an anti-Semite.
Representative Peter Russo's January 2013 visit
After Stamper discovered Kapeniak, Underwood decided to use the pothead blogger as the final blow for the on-the-ropes Kern. Rather than meeting Kapeniak themselves, Underwood and Stamper agreed to send their "errand boy" Rep. Peter Russo with clear instructions to get Kapeniak to incriminate Kern. Despite discovering that Kapeniak actually wrote the editorial himself, Russo convinced him to go on the record with the Herald's Zoe Barnes, lying to her that Kern wrote it. This false information caused another storm of controversy and Kern lost his nomination.