Archive for December, 2008


Dawson: Wikipedia’d


Katon Dawson [Wikipedia]


‘Assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray’


Awesome. Steven Gerrard gets totally pwn3d by the cops after a bar brawl. Hope Liverpool enjoyed its time on top of the league — it’ll be over pretty soon.

Steven Gerrard faces assault charge over bar fracas [The Guardian]


Was Katon in on the hit? (And other thoughts)
Originally uploaded by johnvierdsen

While the national media is content to stay on the story that SCGOP chairman Katon Dawson was a member of all-white Forest Lake Country Club for 12 years (which made the “Rachel Maddow Show“ tonight) before he was forced to resign because of media inquiries (and was an officer of an elite cotillion that had events at the club), there is still way more than meets the eye, when you start looking.

Since The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder reported Dawson was looking at the RNC chairmanship as early as October 2007, it is no surprise that the party started shelling out the big bucks for plane tickets (On Expedia! On Orbitz! On US Air! Fly away, fly away, fly away to the District!) and hotel rooms in DC that had no direct connection to official party business over the past year.

There is also the issue with the party’s credit cards. Boy, that sure is a nice way to hide expenditures. With certain members of the party in the General Assembly working hard for transparency in state government, why isn’t KD just paying out the money straight, so we all know, and especially party contributors know, where the money is going?

Then there’s the issue with the S.C. Club for Growth plan to take on Republican legislators in the primaries. No national journalist has looked seriously at how divided the SCGOP has been during Dawson’s tenure. Republicans win handily in this state because South Carolina is heavily conservative.

Consider the fact that, according to the “hit list“ proposal, Starboard Communications was supposed to be the consulting firm at the center of operations. Dawson and firm founder Walter Whetsell are considered to be as thick as thieves.

Le Frye (formerly of SCRG) and B.J. Boling (formerly of RQ&A and the McCain campaign) were supposed to be in the middle of things, and moved over to Starboard. The widely-circulated proposal lists the people in the operation.


Josh Gross, former SCCfG executive director, moved over as well, and did mail out of Starboard for the Sandlapper Group’s clients. Don’t forget, Sandlapper, which was founded in November of 2007, is led by Chad Connelly, an SCRG board member, and Taft Matney, spokesman for Conservatives in Action.

Then came Dawson’s puff piece interview with Howard Rich at Dawson’s house (produced by SCRG). Rich heavily funded several of Starboard’s clients and all of Sandlapper’s during the primaries.

How much money has the state party sent Starboard’s way? More than a few bucks, for sure (on both Federal and state accounts):

10/22/08: $67.04 (?)
10/20/08: $53,800.48
10/16/08: $6,851.01
9/26/08: $6,768
8/12/08: $3,186.84
6/26/08: $7,130.96
5/13/08: $19,598.06
3/3/08: $2,500
2/15/08: $2,751
2/1/08: $6,396.21
2/1/08: $8,741.64
1/15/08: $5,165.58
1/15/08: $1,923.76
1/14/08: $467.27
10/11/07: $6,926.23
8/6/07: $2,450
TOTAL: $134,724.08

Wow. That is a nice haul from one client over an election cycle. If the RNC members want someone who will preside over a united party and not pick one side over another, maybe ol’ Katon isn’t the guy.


Smoke ’em if you got ’em: Alabama in the Sugar Bowl


Gump4Heisman’s Retro Alabama Football Ad Campaign [Gump4Heisman]


Dolla bill, y’all
Originally uploaded by johnvierdsen

Apparently, Will Folks was passed along some intel about SCGOP chairman Katon Dawson’s fiscal administration of the state party’s money, as Dawson continues his run for RNC chairman. That’s no surprise. Even Vierdsen has been apprised of some things, like a story about how the state party allegedly purchased an SUV on the donors’ dime.

Is it true? Don’t know. According to the party’s disclosure reports, there is no expenditure large enough for a car. However, there are numerous payments for credit card charges, so it could be entirely possible that the SUV payments are on one of the party’s cards. Also, there are plenty of expenditures for car service and repair.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things came up when Hogan Gidley was the party’s executive director. On a regular basis, the party was paying for his coffees at Starbucks. No shit. Really — could Gidley not pay for his own lattes?


The problem with term limits
Originally uploaded by johnvierdsen

Again, the prospect of term limits is raising its funky head above the water and making another go of it in the General Assembly. No matter how often this comes up, it just sounds like a bad idea. The fact is, when you have regular turnover of legislators, it allows outside influences to have a bigger influence on the process. Institutional knowledge is lost, so legislators end up relying on, oh, lobbyists and others with set agendas.

There’s a reason people like Howard Rich are so gung-ho for term limits. He didn’t make all that cash by looking out for others. Hell, the basic libertarian belief, boiled down, is, “Fuck you, I’ve got mine.”

That’s to say, it’s not just Rich and his freakshow hydra (SCRG, S.C. Club for Growth, S.C. Policy Council, &c.) in this state that would have way more say in what your representatives do. It’s everybody.

If you think this is just Vierdsen going loopy after a dessert of “special” Christmas brownies, the St. Petersburg Times were all over this six years ago:

The push for term limits in the 1990s has resulted in a raft of unintended consequences, many of which are just beginning to be felt.

In Tallahassee, lawmakers who face the end of their tenure have desperately jockeyed to run for other seats rather than return to private life. The prime example being House Speaker Tom Feeney, who used the power of his office to wangle a new congressional district for himself through redistricting. Moreover, all the turnover has given the Legislature little historical memory, shifting power and expertise to bureaucrats and lobbyists.

There’s a reason we gots elections, Broseph.


Sweet Jeebus, Howard Rich is on Facebook


Ah, it’s probably just so he can give Will Folks a SuperPoke.

Alabama Football

Dave Martin/AP

Email for John

Site Hits for John

  • 111,547 tays

Facebook John


Twitter Vierdsen

Picture 2