Yesterday Governor Chet Culver’s 2008 campaign disclosure finally showed up on the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board. There are a couple different aspects that require discussion. I’m going to start with the easy stuff first.
Culver raised $1,037,791.00 last year.
Culver spent $546,292.49 in an off year.
Since his election he has raised $2,519,789.11, and spent $1,027,517.49 or 40% of what he has raised. That’s a big number if you ask me. One would have thought that Culver would be building a war chest; instead he is paying out-of-state consultants at a hefty clip and leaving himself wide open for a serious challenger in 2010.
In looking at his expenditures besides the out-of-state consultants one thing strikes me as out of place. Culver is renting a condo for $800 bucks a month and the Park Place Condos in Des Moines. The explanation next to the expenditure states that it’s for consultant housing. Now I know plenty of consultants, but I don’t know any who require their client to provide them for a place to live. So what’s the deal Governor? What’s going on at your campaign condo?
I have to say I wasn’t surprised at the lack of journalism going on at the Register. They reported what the Governor had raised, but didn’t look deep at all. Sure they tell their readers that AFSCME and a number of PACs and other unions gave to his campaign, but what about Dan Kehl? You know the guy they wrote about last week when they did a story about Kehl giving Culver $25,000 in 2007 and wondered if his generosity had anything to do with his willingness to lease the Iowa Lottery. Yet they skip the fact that he is one of a few people who gave Culver $25,000 in 2008. More interesting is the fact that Culver received the $25,000 for Kehl this past November after the election. Around the same time that Kehl met with Culver to float his Iowa Lottery bailout plan.
It also seems that Polk County Democrat Chairman, Tom Henderson is very interested in chairing IDP; he gave Culver $2000 in December. Looks like Chet has his Pay to Play thing down. Way to represent the Midwest!
So while all of that is disturbing in its own right, what should really bother my fellow Republicans is the fact that major Republican donors are some of Chet’s biggest donors.
A month or so ago we had a healthy discussion about how the Republican Party needs to be more inclusive. In saying that I made clear that both moderates and social conservatives must coexists if we want to win elections. Another part of that argumentwhich I didn’t discuss is the simple fact that you are either with us or against us.
For example, when Joy Corning contributes to Planned Parenthood, she is funding the enemy. Planned Parenthood is simply a branch of the Democrat Party. They don’t sit on the sidelines, so when you contribute to their cause, you are funding their ability to attack our Republican candidates. So it is inconsistent to fund Planned Parenthood and be support our Republican candidates. It would be like giving bullets to the British but fight for the Continental Army only to be killed by one of the bullets you provided the Brits.
Our stalwart GOP donors are funding the enemy. The largest contribution Governor Culver received from any individual was $25,000. 44% of what Culver raised came from just 16 people or organizations.
Gary Kirke gave Culver $25,000
Gary Sandquist gave Culver $25,000
Dan Kelh gave Culver $25,000
Denny Albaugh gave Culver $25,000
To put this in perspective, these guys (REPUBLICANS!) are giving as much as Bill Knapp or Jerry Crawford gave to Culver. THEY ARE GIVING CULVER THE SAME AMOUNT AS AFSCME DOES. Heck, Bonnie Campbell only gave Chet $12,500! And it’s not just the four Republicans mentioned above that gave to Culver; those are just the big fish. These are all guys who all supported Jim Nussle, and heck Kirke was Nussle's finance chair.
Now we all know that Kehl has a motive, he wants to buy the Lottery. Kirke wants a casino license in Ottumwa, Sandquist wants an increase in the gas tax, and maybe Albaugh wants illegals to help keep his private golf course in tip top shape, but this is a major problem for the GOP.
We have a hard enough task in uniting our Party let alone seeing our major donors supply the ammunition for our enemy to shoot us with. Not only is this disheartening, it’s stupid. On one hand these donors give to individual Republican candidates in lesser amounts and some also give to other GOP organizations, yet they turn around and give equal amounts or more to Culver.
Now I’m not saying that they have to support every GOP candidate who walks through the door, they can sit out a particular campaign if they choose to. Heck, they could give Culver a token contribution of $1000 and I'd be fine with it, but to be on his list largest donors is unacceptable. Whose side are you on? What do you believe in?
Pick a side, be for something.