Posts Tagged ‘Sandlapper Group


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.


Millwood whaa?!?
Originally uploaded by johnvierdsen

Speaking of FITS, Will Folks is all sorts of throwing out knowledge about the reorganization going on with House Republicans. One thing, though, seriously has to be bullshit.

He says that Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell is going to, among other people, try to create an alliance with newly-elected lobotomy patient Joey Millwood.

Millwood? Really? This is a guy who willingly became a stooge for Howard Rich and friends. He’s a sports editor for a small-town newspaper.

For those who don’t know, small-town sports editors fall into two categories:

1) Young writers who are so desperate that they don’t give a damn
2) Older writers that a) can’t do any better and/or b) beat the odds and married someone who didn’t have a child at 17.

The only reason that Millwood won is that Rep. Bob Walker made the mistake of going with Starboard Communications as his consulting firm. One of Starboard’s associates was former S.C. Club for Growth executive director Josh Gross. Gross also did all of the mail pieces for the Sandlapper Group, done out of Starboard and billed to Sandlapper. And Millwood was…a Sandlapper client! What a shock.

It’s amazing that Walker hasn’t sued to get his money back. And, what’s worse, we’re stuck with Millwood until the voters in the Upstate get a chance to rectify things.

Surely, there’s no way that Harrell would go to him for anything but odds for Friday night football.


The battle begins anew
Originally uploaded by johnvierdsen

In the leadership reorganization in the state House Republican Caucus, the fight inside the party about who will be in control and what path the party will take has entered another chapter.

As has been posted on FITSNews, it was no surprise that Rep. Nikki Haley wanted to be chair of the LCI Committee, and a few weeks ago, Rep. Wallace Scarborough was one of her main opponents. With Scarborough being upset on Election Day, Haley was in position to take over.

If she took over, it would be a big win for the SCRG/S.C. Club for Growth/S.C. Policy Council faction in the party. If Haley was in any tighter with that crew, she would have to wear sponsorship patches on her clothes like a NASCAR driver.

But, something funny happened on the way to the State House.

Under a plan bringing more power to the Speaker, Bobby Harrell picked Rep. Bill Sandifer to lead the committee. What’s really got to give Howard Rich’s foot soldiers the red-ass is that Sandifer was one of the targeted people on the Club’s “hit list,” then blew out Sandlapper Group client Ed Rumsey, 72-28.

This should make for a fun session. It’s also a loss for Gov. Mark Sanford, who becomes a lamer lame duck as the clock ticks toward 2010.


Action among the losers
Originally uploaded by johnvierdsen

People rarely check up on what’s going on in the campaign accounts of losing candidates. It’s not liable to be newsworthy or politically relevant.

Then there’s blogs, thankfully.

Katrina Shealy, who got about $50,000 from Howard Rich and his friends, then nailed by Sen. Jake Knotts in the runoff, is still paying her consultants. Starboard Communications got $15,000 from Shealy on Sept. 1, about two and a half months after the election. She also paid $561 to Nelson Mullins on Sept. 28 for a “legal opinion.” That’s a little odd. Sure, a campaign may put an attorney on retainer during the race to run things by them, but a “legal opinion” in late September, three months after the election?

Two of the SCRG/Conservatives in Action-tied Sandlapper Group‘s losing candidates are still paying those guys, too. Ed Rumsey, who got absolutely obliterated in his race for HD-2, paid Chad Connelly and Taft Matney $20,000. Kyle Boyd, who lost to Rep. Carl Gullick, sent $14,481.14 Sandlapper’s way.

Joe Bustos, who lost to Mike Sottile in HD-112, has lauched a camapaign for mayor of Mt. Pleasant and has hired Rod Shealy to run that race.


SCRG still using out-of-state mailhouses

Notice the bulk mail stamp on this page of a South Carolinians for Responsible Government mailer in the S.C. Senate District 11 race between Mike Gardner and Sen. Glenn Reese. It’s showing “Rickland Direct,” a firm out of Richmond, Va. Come on, Bozo the Clown – you couldn’t find a mailhouse in South Carolina that will print your awful garbage?

And, oh yeah, Gardner is a client of the Sandlapper Group. Vierdsen’s shocked, shocked, that SCRG’s involved in this race.

SCRG has officially entered the Senate District 11 race [Crazyworld/The Herald-Journal]


BBQ & Politics has lowdown on the lowdown

Like in football, the offseason (or, in this case, the deadening boredom of summer) is a good time to crunch numbers and glean what you can from prior efforts. Ross Shealy at Barbecue & Politics ran the stats on the Sandlapper Group’s candidates, and as you can see above, there was really no surprise. When you have a consulting firm founded by a guy from SCRG and another from Conservatives in Action, formed just last November for the ’08 primaries, it’s really no surprise who its candidates were and the piles of cash they got from Howard Rich and friends.

One of their recruited puppets, Kyle Boyd, received over half his cash from Rich and took his sweet time in revealing it. He didn’t even report the $37,232.37 he paid Sandlapper in May and June until Saturday. What’s the hold up?

The funny thing about Sandlapper is that instantly after forming, it led a “grassroots training seminar” in places like Irmo, Rock Hill and Clemson. Who were the sponsors for this event? SCRG, the South Carolina Association of Christian Schools, the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools and Chad Connelly’s Freedom Tide organization.

Speakers at those seminars included Walter Whetsell of Starboard Communications, Sen. Kevin Bryant, Sen. Danny Verdin, former Gov. David Beasley and the Palmetto Family Council’s Oran Smith.

But, yeah – there was no massive, organized effort in this state, financed by Howard Rich, to elect school choice drones while pulling wool over the eyes of the voters. That’s just a fantasy.


Kyle Boyd finally comes clean about his indentured servitude, still doesn’t say where the money went
Originally uploaded by johnvierdsen

Almost a solid month after he was supposed to disclose his financing from the pre-primary period to June 10, former S.C. House candidate Kyle Boyd has sent in his amended report. And, guess what? The political unknown that took Rep. Carl Gullick to a close finish was bankrolled by Howard Rich and his cronies, just like we all thought.

While Vierdsen was out and about yesterday, Ross Shealy nabbed Boyd’s report, and the financing looks a little something like this:

$1,000 6/02/2008 538-14 Realty LLC, 73 Spring St Rm 408 NYC
$1,000 6/02/2008 Joseph D Stilwell, 26 Broadway 23 Floor NYC
$1,000 6/02/2008 Yvonne Rich, 211 West Rd 1, Mountain Home, AZ
$1,000 6/02/2008 John Kirtley 339 S Plant Ave, Tampa, FL
$1,000 6/02/2008 Rich Acquisitions LLC, 73 Spring St Rm 507 NYC
$1,000 6/02/2008 Secure Data LLC, 73 Spring St Ste 507 NYC
$1,000 6/02/2008 The Stonecreek Group (Kevin Spillane) Sacremento, CA
$1,000 6/02/2008 Dayrich LLC, 73 Spring St Rm 408 NYC
$1,000 6/02/2008 Newrich LLC, 73 Spring St Rm 507 NYC
$1,000 6/02/2008 Rich & Rich LLC, 73 Spring St Rm 507 NYC
$1,000 6/02/2008 Bradford Mgmt of NY Inc., 73 Spring St Rm 408 NYC
$1,000 6/02/2008 Howard Rich Sole Proprietor Bayrich LLC, 73 Spring St Rm 408 NYC
$1,000 6/02/2008 Rich & Rich & Associates A Partnership, 73 Spring St Rm 408 NYC
$1,000 6/02/2008 4220 Broadway LLC, 73 Spring St Rm 408 NYC
$1,000 6/02/2008 470 W 166 LLC, 73 Spring St Rm 408 NYC
$1,000 6/02/2008 51 First Avenue LLC, 73 Spring St. Rm 408 NYC
$1,000 6/02/2008 405 49 Associates, 73 Spring St Rm 408 NYC
$1,000 6/02/2008 118 Claremont LLC, 73 Spring St Rm 408 NYC
$1,000 6/02/2008 4220 Broadway Inc., 73 Spring St Rm 408 NYC
$1,000 6/02/2008 A Partnership 332 E 11 LLC, 73 Spring St Rm 408 NYC
$1,000 6/02/2008 Alan J Pomerantz, 767 5th Ave NYC
$1,000 5/23/2008 Douglas Levine, 2760 N Bay Rd., Miami Beach, FL
$1,000 5/22/2008 Spooner LLC, 73 Spring St Rm 408 NYC
$1,000 5/22/2008 Silver & Silver Properties LLC, 73 Spring St. Rm 408 NYC
$1,000 5/22/2008 Silver & Silver Properties LLC, 73 Spring St Rm 408 NYC
$1,000 5/12/2008 LaSalle Associates, 73 Spring St. Rm 507 NYC
$1,000 5/12/2008 LaSalle Associates, 73 Spring St. Rm 408 NYC

Damn, son. Looks like he was trying for Katrina Shealy-like dollars.

What is absolutely, truly fucking bizarre, though, is that he’s reporting zero expenditures. What? You mean this guy took in $36,110 and spent none of it in the last couple weeks of the campaign?

Guess we’re going to have to wait even longer to see what Kyle was up to.

Alabama Football

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