If you’ve been following Ed Hubbard’s posts about the state of the Harris County Republican Party or have been on the receiving end of any one of hundreds of emails about the situation at the HCRP, you already know that the party is financially broken. If you haven’t, I’ll recap:
- the party couldn’t afford to keep its copier last year
- the party couldn’t afford to keep its employees last year
- the party can’t afford the expense to host legally required Senate District conventions this year
Oh, sure, there is more that I could put on that list but at this point, it would be piling on. Although I’ve stayed out of the current mayhem about the financial condition of the party, suffice to say that I’m very happy that after five years of pointing this out, it looks like people are ready to do something about it. Now, I’m not certain that is going to happen and I wouldn’t go to Vegas to bet against Jared Woodfill, but at least we have people’s attention now.
Obviously, it was the “speaker’s tax” that finally woke people up. I appreciate the advisory board for giving us something that amounted to a “smoking gun”. The HCRP leadership tried to blow this off as being nothing out of the ordinary, saying it has been this way for 18 years. That is not true. It is true that politicians have “sponsored” the conventions in the past but there are two very different parts to the puzzle this year:
- In the past, the conventions were held AFTER the primary, meaning the fighting was over
- In the past, candidates felt free to roam, talking to everyone. Paying for this “privilege” didn’t go over well.
I think that the first point is the most relevant. The “speaker’s tax” really does give those with the most money an advantage over those with the least. Now, being Republican and all, that really shouldn’t be that big of a deal but with the influx of “grassroots” voters, it became one. After all, most candidates won’t even raise $5,000 much less have that much extra to spend to talk for five minutes at this event.
So how to fund it? Ed Hubbard put forth a great plan: get pledges and then require the party to meet three simple transparency steps before the pledges are funded. To recap:
- Proof of the actual projected costs for the event;
- A promise to share with us the documentation for the actual final costs incurred for the event; and
- A public statement from the HCRP that the speakers’ tax has been canceled, and that any candidate or elected official of our party may speak to the delegates.
That third one has already been met because the “grassroots” organized up and voted the plan out at the most recent HCRP Executive Committee meeting. Awesomeness when the little guys win.
But what about those other two? Heh, don’t worry, your money is safe, The party has no intention of doing either. To put forth an actual cost of the event would require them to admit that it doesn’t cost anywhere close to 30 grand to hold a one day event at Grace Community Church. Ed’s goal of 10 grand was plenty. Don’t believe me? Go back and read the campaign finance reports for the last two SD Convention meetings: July 2008 and July 2010.
Instead, the HCRP is begging attendees to give $10 at the door or online to cover the costs. I guess if you can’t beat the little guys, join them. Here is the info on that.
Like I said, Brother, can you spare a dime?
But I sort of like what Randy Kubosh said in his most recent email about the state of the party:
It’s broke because it can’t be trusted to be accountable and transparent.
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