Citizens for Better Government Update

As the controversy about the Citizens for Better Government continues to grow, it seems clear that many have not gone back and listened to what Delegate Kipke said on the Conservative Refuge Podcast and compared it to the group’s recent campaign finance statement.

While I would still urge everyone to go back and listen to the entire 20 plus minute interview in context, below the fold I break it down a bit to show why there has been such a firestorm of criticism on the heels of the group’s recent disclosures.

I will give the time in the show and the summary of the statements made. (Again, don’t take my word for any of this listen to this interview for yourself and visit the links provided.)

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6:30 Delegate Kipke explains the group is changing from a PAC to a Slate so that the Delegates can have “full control over how the money is spent.”

7:30 Delegate Kipke acknowledges the change was based upon concerns about Lawrence Scott but personally vouches for his character of the group’s members.

8:20 Delegate Kipke repeats that the Delegates wanted to control how the money is spent.

14:45 Delegate Kipke assures donors that they need not be worried that the money spent by the group was going to go to Lawrence Scott or that he would benefit in anyway.

16:10 Delegate Kipke says that the group is not a money making scheme for Lawrence Scott.

From the campaign finance report, we know that all of the money that was spent was funnelled through Scott Strategies, Inc. in apparant contradiction to the above statements and personal assurances by Delegate Kipke.

This is the most damning aspect of this whole story. Mr. Scott received the money and directly controlled how it was spent. The group has refused to make any further disclosure of expenses or will not admit or deny whether Mr. Scott received any consulting fees.

8:05 All the organizers have “invested equally.”

16:35 All of the organizers have “invested our own money.”

According to the group’s own finance report, no contribution from Delegate Kipke appears and the contributions from Delegates Schuh and King come from campaign not personal accounts. [Correction – Friends of Nic Kipke did report a donation to the slate before the filing deadline. I apologize for the error.]

Again, despite the public statements that each of the Delegates “invested our own money” nothing in the state’s campaign finance database supports that claim. The donations that were made were from campaign accounts, which included the donations of others. Also, no in-kind donations appear negating any claim of that type.

19:25 Delegate Kipke mentions (and I wholeheartedly acknowledge) his reputation for honesty.

The above statements along with Kipke’s reputation were intended and, in fact, did quell the criticism of this group as they headed toward their fundraising dinner. The group’s only statement filed under penalties of perjury, however, appears to contradict many of these statements.

Why is this important? Let me share with you a portion of an email from a listener named Erran

“I listen to all of your podcasts. I think you can do an “I told you so” podcast with a pretty clear conscience. If theses three delegates are going to become the face of the local party, the party should demand total honesty from them. They all seem like nice people but I can’t say that I trust one of them although I trusted Kipke the most of the bunch until this.”

” Kipke seems like a stand-up guy and how he could be manipulated to lie is beyond me. I suspect King and Schuh put him up to it. Someone in the local Republican party should put these guys to the test. Get them to come onto your show to defend the lies they are telling. I don’t have access to the masses like you do but the only commodity the party has given its many public struggles in Maryland is honesty. I hope you will take up the cause to flesh this out so that these three start playing team politics.”

I think that says it all.

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