Republican central committee squeezed for transparency

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Perhaps growing weary of the foul odor wafting in from some Placer County Republican Central Committee (PCRCC) shenanigans, three local GOP officeholders have begun to poke around in the inner working of that cabal. Granted, I’ve written (perhaps ad nauseam) about the PCRCC, pointing out that its processes were about as democratic as Syria and Yemen’s crowd-control policies, and were about as open as a CIA budget hearing. Among the things I covered in the past were what appeared to be participation in a statewide check-kiting effort, lack of proper financial reporting from the symbiotic Headquarters Partnership (HQP), and the handling of financial records as if they were atomic secrets. Well, apparently local state senators Ted Gaines and Doug LaMalfa, along with recently minted assembly member Beth Gaines, apparently have had enough. The trio dashed off a collaborative letter the other day, one which takes the PCRCC to task. It asks for “all financial information (of HQP) be fully disclosed to the overall membership of the Central Committee.” The letter also called for copies of all outside agreements made between HQP and other campaign committees or political entities, as well as all copies of checks incoming and outgoing “be provided to all members of the Central Committee.” Auburn City Councilman Mike Holmes, along with several other PCRCC members have been calling for such revelations for years. The Central Committee repeatedly ignored such requests in the past, so much so that Holmes threatened to leave the Republican Party and re-register as an Independent or Decline to State. No doubt the PCRCC will take better notice of this most current request, seeing as how it comes from Gaines, Gaines and LaMalfa, three people with more sway over local politics than PCRCC honcho Tom Hudson can only dream about. The elected officials’ missive made some specific requests, including production of all bank statements and financial records for Central Committee members, along with “the current, full written lease for the Placer County Republican Headquarters” including all changes made to that document since 2007. Mark Spanagel, LaMalfa’s chief of staff, said the requests should not be taken as an indictment of the Central Committee. “The letter seeks transparency, that’s all. Transparency was something promised as far back as 2007,” he said. Ted Gaines made it clear that it was time the PCRCC started opening the tap of free-flowing information. “Without information,” he said, “(PCRCC members) don’t understand the inner workings of the committee. If members don’t understand how (the committee) works, then there’s a problem. It’s incumbent upon the (committee) chair and executive committee to release necessary information.” While it probably isn’t necessary for PCRCC execs to shower in Windex, one could hardly term Hudson and money-handler George Park of being forthcoming when it comes to providing requested information. During last month’s meeting, member Cheryl Bly-Chester requested financial information about HQP, only to be told “the committee has fully discharged its duty to HQP prior to Jan. 12.” That Orwellian-speak not only failed to satisfy the curious, but smacked of the sort of testimony one heard from Mafia chieftains during congressional hearings. Also, we still haven’t been fully informed as to what happened with the $2,500 check from the Romney For President Committee to the Placer County Republican Party, the proceeds of which somehow wound up with the California Republican Assembly. And have any of us been informed to what really happened in the statewide check-kiting process of a few years ago, you know, where various county Republican central committees — including Placer’s — wrote and received checks back and forth? In the past, Hudson and then treasurer George Park have been Sphinx-like when asked about information. Hopefully, this particular written request will loosen their tongues, although I wouldn’t count on such things happening until the Sun begins rising in the West. Even Aaron Park, the local logger who is oh-so close to the inner machinations of the PCRCC, hasn’t returned my call seeking comment on the letter. He’s been quite loquacious in the past, and made a point of insisting that I ask him for comment on PCRCC matters, so I’m a bit perplexed at his silence. Ted Gaines said he was concerned that the current frustration felt by many members show the committee “is not operating in a better fashion,” adding that the Central Committee “has great potential. “I’m baffled why information can’t be presented,” he added. Me, too!