Billy Shreve’s Bad Year

Back in June we talked about the issues going on with the Frederick County Republican Central Committee and their Lincoln Day Dinner. Their dinner was cancelled by their Chairman, County Councilman Billy Shreve, after some issues regarding their scheduled guest speaker and their attempts to reschedule.

As it turns out, the Central Committee never did hold a Lincoln Day dinner this year for whatever reason. Oddly enough, that’s not the weirdest thing to happen this year with Shreve’s leadership as the Frederick News-Post tells us:

The Frederick County Republican Central Committee’s chairman was planning to lend thousands of dollars to Donald Trump’s campaign in Maryland, where the billionaire presidential candidate faces long odds of winning.

The chairman, Billy Shreve, said the planned expense was canceled. But while it was considered, the nearly $12,000 loan would have represented a significant majority of the committee’s coffers, campaign finance and central committee records show.

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Instead, the Maryland Republican Party picked up the expense — because the donation would have violated Federal Election Commission rules. The county central committee made an initial payment, later refunded, without registering an FEC number and without disclosing the expense within the federal campaign finance reporting system.

 “I told them, ‘No, you can’t do it,’ so we did it,” said Joseph C. Cluster, executive director of the state party, who was recently sworn in as a state delegate for Baltimore County.

The proposed loan represents a clash between two of Shreve’s roles: central committee chairman and co-chairman of the Trump campaign in Frederick County. He is also an at-large member of the Frederick County Council.

There are so many issues that are problematic with this:

  • Why is Shreve serving as both the Chairman of the Central Committee and Chairman of the Trump campaign in Frederick County?
  • Why did Shreve not think about consulting with a campaign finance expert before deciding to make the loan?
  • How was the Trump Campaign supposed to repay the $12,000 to the Central Committee?
  • Did other Central Committee members approve the purchase or was Shreve acting alone?
  • Why did Shreve believe that the money would be better spent loaning it to another organization instead of spending it locally in Frederick County, where it could be used for party building activities and get-out-the-vote materials (there are two Congressional races and Board of Education races on the ballot this year as well).
  • Why was the Lincoln Day dinner never rescheduled?

Shreve’s decision in attempting to make this illegal loan to the Trump campaign actually winds up hurting conservatives across Maryland based on a decision made at the State Party level:

Cluster said before learning of the Frederick County central committee’s planned loan, the state did not plan to make those or any similar expenses. They are the only payments the state party made to directly benefit the Trump campaign this year, he said.

So thanks to Shreve’s decision, the Maryland Republican Party will have $12,000 less to help Governor Hogan get re-elected in 2018 than they would have had previously.

Between the Lincoln Day cancellation, this loan fiasco, and his trashing of Governor Hogan, Billy Shreve hasn’t had a very good year. It’s clear that Shreve’s year as Chairman of the Frederick County Central Committee has been disastrous for the party, both locally and thanks to his loan snafu statewide. The Frederick County Central Committee would be well served to pick a new chair next year. Maybe one who can do the job competently and isn’t focused on their day job or daydreaming about running for higher office

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