Ruffalo: Time for Republican chairman to put cards on the table

By: Jim Ruffalo
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Allow me, gentle readers, to apologize for last week misidentifying Placer County Republican Central Committee member Jeffrey Allen as James Allen. I regret the error. Also, I need to apologize for saying Allen had become a registered voter at Sacramento County at the time of the Jan. 11 Placer County meeting when he hadn’t. I regret that error. And while I’m at it, I want to say “sorry” to my editors, who all spent an inordinate amount of time checking with me on my facts. I let them down, and that really bothers me. Now that my sincere mea culpa duty is done, perhaps the Placer County Republican Central Committee can say it’s sorry for some of its actions. Let’s begin that litany with Allen. Yes, he was still registered at Placer County as of the Jan. 11 meeting. When I checked with Sacramento County on the 13th, I should have inquired as to when he had registered there. Turns out he did that on Jan. 12. You, gentle readers, may or may not agree with me, but such actions still produce a bad odor. Tom Hudson, Placer County Republican Party chairman and his minions can get all huffy and flood the e-mails with their vile writings, but all of that electronic garbage still can’t deodorize what has happened under his watch over the past few years. Just because one lives — barely, at times — within the letter of the law doesn’t mean one can reside within its spirit. Therefore, I now call upon Hudson to reveal exactly how many partnerships and other incorporations, partnerships and the like he’s formed, or been party to, since joining the local central committee. And, kind sir, please do not hide under statements saying certain general partnerships do not have to be publicly registered. You, sir, run a political organization, one that the public sometimes depends upon for political advice and guidance. Therefore, it behooves all of us not only to place our cards on the table, but to show them whenever one rakes in a winning pot. Getting back to my reasonable requests: How about opening all financial records to any member, as per the Central Committee’s own bylaws? Also, would you please tell one and all which members, if any, are currently — or have in the past — worked on any candidate’s election efforts, either paid or as a volunteer? If any have, did those efforts influence the rather ill-advised move to make political endorsements during primary election cycles? Wait, there’s more! Has any member used his or her company, enterprise or partnership to sell any product — including insurance — to any candidate, either announced or not? And while I could go on, let me end the “wish list” with a request to produce copies of all incoming and outgoing checks to any central committee and/or any candidates or their committees. Gentle readers should be advised that in no way am I making any accusations. All of us know full well how difficult it is to answer the question, “Are you still beating your wife?” That is precisely why I posed the interrogatories as specifically as I could so that the innocent could answer without self-incrimination, either real or perceived. It should also be pointed out that each and every one of my questions has been publicly raised in one form or another during various local Republican functions in the past. To put it as plainly as I can, I feel that recent actions by the Placer County Republican Central Committee, as a whole, do not pass the smell test. No matter how legal it is, if it stinks, it doesn’t help any of us All of us ache for transparency these days, which in my humble opinion is the main reason the tea party has become such a force. Actually, this county has always desired transparency. Despite what many of us were taught in public school, the Boston Tea Party was not thrown because the price of tea would rise under the Stamp Act. In fact, if you read contemporary documents, you’d learn that the price of tea was actually reduced. Instead, what took that original tea party to the boiling point was that they were not made party to the passing of the new law. By their very workings, governments become ponderous and, many times, heavy-handed. One way to keep the public placated is by being as transparent as possible in all dealings. In my opinion, recent events make it appear that the only thing transparent about the local central committee’s hierarchy is its motives. Jim Ruffalo’s column runs on Sundays. Reach him at