Wednesday, January 21, 2009

You are either with us or against us.

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.


  1. Are they Republicans? Maybe, but I would suggest they are opportunists instead, politics is simply a form of conducting business. Why compete in the marketplace of ideas and...competitors when you can grease the wheels of government and receive privilege and protection from your new "friends."

    The litmus test? If the don't give an equal amount to our nominee after the primary, then it's time to call them what they are, donkeys.

  2. These Republican businessmen gave as much to Culver as AFSCME? More than ISEA? Sick.

  3. What's with Culvers sugar shack? A condo?

  4. These guys have picked a side: themselves.
    And I agree: I wonder who Culver is getting busy with in that condo. Maybe it is the IDP's Love Shack for all purpose cheating?

  5. Oh, Krusty...stop telling the truth...I can't believe you're telling the truth, and with facts that can be cited nonetheless...don't you know you're disrupting party unity? And at a time when we're trying to bring more people into the party, no less.

    Shame on you!

    All this in-fighting, I mean can't we all just get along? Look, those guys give lots of money to Republicans, too, so the person who's 50% your friend can't possibly be a 50% enemy, can he? Besides, we don't want to alienate them to the point they don't give us any money when we're already so cash-strapped. Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water here. After all, maybe you didn't get the memo on this but all someone has to do to be a Republican is just say they're a Republican once, and then all is forgiven and no further accountability is needed.

    You conservatives are just tearing us apart. We're a big tent party, and should never, ever say anything that could be construed as negative -- no matter how truthful it might be -- against another member of God's Own Party whose dues are paid up.

    Fredo, don't ever go against the party.

    Well, I for one refuse to participate in this blatant exercise of disloyalty, Krusty. No way, Corky. I'm not going to put up with you people, because your disloyal people, that's what you are. So I'm going to go home and snuggle with my hand-sewn Doug Gross likeness body pillow, that's what I'm going to do.

  6. Wow. I never thought I would say this, but Steve Deace is right (if you cut through his sarcasm), and funny.

    I didn't feel anything different yesterday, but today Change is in the air!

  7. Why do some people hold politics, in particular their party affiliation, up to the level of a minor (and to some major) religion? Politics is a man-made concept and therefor fraught with imperfections.

    Politics should never be construed as anything other than self-serving. A party platform cannot exemplify the will of God. These people, Republicans or whatever, are making business decisions and the people they employee are probably very grateful.

    I agree with your core argument that funding both sides does not help the GOP win elections. Just don't elevate politics to a level it doesn't deserve as just about everything else in life is more important.

    Plus we all live in glass houses, so chill the f out.

  8. You made a good case for why funding the enemy is bad, but what do you propose to do about it? Kick them out of the party? Refuse their donations? Not speak to them? Tar and feathering?

  9. What do you do about it?

    1. you report on it and make it known.

    2. you encourage them to pick a side.

    I think Krusty pretty much covered it.

  10. Riiiiight...

    Do you think the Dems are complaining to these donors that they are giving to both parties now? Think about it...the Dems contol both houses and the Govs office...they hold all the power. I think if I were them and your idea is to "report on it" in an attempt to humiliate them into donating to the GOP only I would just tell you to f off and give to the people who actually appreciate it and can offer someting (victories) in return...the Dems.

    Nice strategy Krusty and 12:27.

  11. GREED - The end.

    Lets simplify this argument before the monkey cage goes out of control again and every reader who dares to stick their head in for a peek is klobbered with monkey poo.

  12. Oh yeah, this worked well for Tom Delay
    Didn't it?

  13. How much did Knapp donate to Nussle? I'm too lazy to look it up and figure someone might know off hand.

  14. Here s the problem. People with the ability to give big donations and give to both sides generally have something to lose by not greasing the palm of the winner. Take a lot at Bruce Rastetter. In 2007 he joined with the people mentioned in Krusty’s article in giving $25,000 to Culver he also dumped a ton of money into IDP its self.

    Why? Because, he has something to lose. If ethanol subsidies get shaved back, he stands to lose a lot of money. Its that simple. Our donors will give them money when they have power just like their donors will give us money when we have power. As it stands, they have power. We don’t so its safe to assume that for every dollar we are able to raise, Culver will be able to raise $1.50. If we’re going to beat him we had better have a candidate that understands the basic principals of poker … specifically, it doesn’t always take the best cards to win the hand.

    One positive thing that could come out of this discussion is this. Gone are the days when the big donors and guys like Doug Gross are able to dictate who our candidates are how we run our party. Simply put, when you hedge your bets and don’t use your resources to give us an advantage, you just give to everyone, your position as a stakeholder in this party is forfeit. You’re no more a shareholder in this party than the bank who ownes the mortgage on our headquarters.

  15. I wonder if these guys gave to Obama too?

    Deace supports Culver and Obama I'm not sure why he is upset or even cares.

    Maybe these donors just took advice straight from Steve Deace's mouth and decided that they would support whomever Deace does, i.e. Culver and Obama

  16. Hypocrisy? Deace gives a full blown endorsement of Obama, gives a de-facto Culver endorsement and has the nerve to call into question people who donate to both sides. Why would he? They are helping support his people. Maybe he wants exclusive donations to his people?

    P.S. "Among the possibilities for the first day was... overturning the so-called Mexico City policy that forbids U.S. funding for family planning programs that offer abortion; and lifting President George W. Bush's limit on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research." -AP

    Thanks for endorsing Obama, more babies will be murdered in no time. Some pro-lifer you are!

  17. Oh no...not the dreaded attack of Mr. Anonymous, who in between his mom re-filling his Mountain Dew glass spews lies he knows aren't true because it's easier for him to get his jollies off of that rather than ask a girl out on a date! Not him again! I can't possibly withstand another beat-down like all the previous ones I've gotten from Mr. Anonymous, the true Internet badass.

    Whatever will I do? There's no place left to hide. He wants my heart, he wants to eat my children, praise be to Allah!

    Goodbye cruel world!

  18. That's disturbing that Obama will appease pro-abortionists as some of his first actions.

    How can anyone who respects life support Obama? He is one of the biggest pro-abortion politicians in the country!

  19. Let's get back to Krusty's post here a little..

    Some interesting questions come out of this..

    Culver's really burning through his $$ he's raising. Spending 40% of what you've raised and you're not even in the thick of a re-election effort yet is not good for the Big Lug.

    Where's the DSM Register to "investigate" here? If this was a Republican governor paying out 800 bucks a month for "consultant housing" can bet that they'd have a reporter staking out the place 24/7 waiting to see who's going in and out of that place.

    The second point is..if those "big" donors think they're money is better spent on buying off the Lug...great..let em.

    What Republicans need to do is to take it back to the people...start worrying about the people who can give the 10, 20, 50 dollar donations again..because those are your grassroots people.

    Those are the people who matter more when it comes Election time..If we start giving those people a REASON to not just vote..but SUPPORT our candidates and party financially again..its going to pay off in spades with election victories.

    Think about it people..the Iowa Democrats are giving us so many openings already that this shouldn't be a difficult proposition here.

    The Legislature hasnt even been in session a week and a half..and they're already proposing giving cities the right to do local income taxes, bypassing voter approval for large scale spending projects...

    They want to SELL the lottery to a bunch of their large donors...and oh..they want to "borrow" 700 MILLION bucks to help pay back their union and special interests in the form of infrastructure projects...never mind we're already 600 million in the hole already.

    People..this should be as easy as Shonn Greene busting through the line against South Carolina here...

  20. I have to agree with Cedar on this one. The Democrats have given us ample opportunity to defeat them. Now it is up to us as Republicans and Conservatives to take advantage of the openings that they have given us.

    After all it was not a Republican dominated legislature that increased state spending the way it has.

    We need to attack the Democrats areas of weakness.

  21. Wouldn't the real Steve Deace link to his blog, and not to the WHO homepage?

    Sounds like sockpuppetry to me...

  22. No, it's really me. I'm a team player. I would've figured the witty writing was a dead giveaway, but alas I'm no Charles Nelson Reilly.

  23. I don’t know, Culver only spent $500,000 in the off year. Nussle spent over $1,000,000 in 2005. Harkin burns through millions every year. The question is, what are you getting for your money? In Harkin’s case, the money has been well spent. County Democratic parties all over the state are well funded machines that have the necessary resources to push county level candidates and even local elections. That is part of the reason why they have been mopping the floor with us since 1998. Our incumbents with the power to raise money have a habit of sucking up ever dime that isn’t nailed down and hoarding it leaving our county candidate and friendly local candidates to fend for themselves against well funded Democrats. The end result is that we lose those races and our power base shrinks leaving even less money for the next cycle. The problem is that eventually, our big establish fundraising candidates will get old and retire and we’ll lose that seat too because we neglected the need to refill our bench. That, in a nutshell is how parties go extinct.

    If the money Culver is spending is been spent on the right thing (and there really isn’t any way for us to know from his report) it could make him even more difficult to defeat. If he is just wasting money (again, no way to tell because all we can see is the itemized expenses and we really have no way to know how those expense are being utilized) then weather or not the big donors abandon the Democrats will depend largely on if Culver can win reelection or not. Donors will forgive you for wasting their money if you win.

    Time for us to face facts. Culver will have more money than us and he wont exactly be a cream puff to knock out of office. If we want to beat him, we had better start getting creative.

  24. Too Funny!
    So bitter, so accusing!
    Culver is going to mop the floor with whoever walks through the door
    King probably wont even run now, you'll probably be stuck with Bill Northey or Christopher Reed, or maybe even Gopal Krishna.

    I really thought it couldnt get any better, but it just keeps coming in

  25. Ghost of Elections PastJanuary 22, 2009 at 8:21 AM

    Haha Laughing! Just keep yucking it up. But dont forget your history. 10 years ago, Lightfoot scared every major Democrat off the field excpt an obscure State Senator from Mt. Pleasant. We laughed at him too. Who the hell is this Vilsack guy? What a joke! 1998 couldnt look any better for us .... Opps ... I guess not.

    So keep on laughing. Keep on feeling over confident. Just keep in mind, Culver is no Tom Harkin. He's too stupid and no where near as scary. You too could wake up two years from now and find that guy you thought was going to be a pushover is now your Governor.