Citizens For Better Government Update

Greg Kline has a very informational podcast updating us on the activities of everyone’s favorite rogue political group, the “Citizens for Better Government” Slate. I am going to provide some back story, and reproduce some of his podcast and links for easy navigation.

(But make sure you listen! The podcast is much more comprehensive than can be written here!)

The Annapolis Republican Central Committee, of which I was formerly treasurer, was pitched in October by Doug Burkhardt to commit to a table at a fundraiser being held by a Political Action Committee (PAC) that had recently been formed. The officers of the PAC were Burkhardt: treasurer, and Lawrence Scott: chairman. Three republican state delegates: Nic Kipke, Steve Schuh, and James King, were on board with informal roles, as elected officials could not have formal roles in a PAC. At this October meeting, Mr. Burkhardt attested to having 25 donors at $5,000 each. As Greg reports in his podcast, this claim was repeated publicly on several occasions.

In November, Delegates King and Schuh took the show to the Wednesday Republican Breakfast club, defending their decisions and their stake in the organization. However, many audience members had experienced first hand negative experiences with Scott and Burkhardt, and vehemently expressed their opposition. That sentiment was widespread, and in response the group was changed from a PAC to a ‘slate’, allowing the delegates to (reportedly) have more control of how the money is dispersed.

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This brings us to today (actually last week), when the campaign finance report for the group was released. Uh-oh. Lies, all lies! Despite claims from the group of $125,00–even $200,000– in donations, the total amount was only $67,322. That amount includes $5000 apiece from Delegates King and Schuh, but nothing from Delegate Kipke. What’s worse is the disbursements. The slate disbursed only 1 check, for $15,000, to Lawrence Scott‘s consulting business, covering “event location expenses and printing materials”.

Greg’s podcast is provides very poignant analysis. The worst fears of republican activists were realized: that large sums of money are being controlled by, and funneled through, Lawrence Scott. The slate’s main fundraiser, which took place two days before finance reports were due, featured President Reagan’s son Michael as the guest speaker. Yet, no entry was made for Mr. Reagan’s fee, which is probably in the $15,000-$20,000 range. Greg predicts that next year’s report will show a check for this fee, with a posting date just after this year’s reporting, so the slate wouldn’t have to disclose their true cash on hand, which Greg estimates to be in the low $30,000 range–a far cry from the bill of goods that was sold to many people over the past months. With such financial shortfalls, why would Delegate Kipke be exempted from ponying up his $5K? Perhaps in exchange for his role of spokesman, and the duty of misleading the public as to the group’s status.

I’m certainly glad I didn’t give them any money.

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