Posts Tagged ‘S.C. Club for Growth


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.


Quinns + S.C. CfG = BFF

In other Howard Rich foot soldier news, the fine people at S.C. Club for Growth seem to have solidified their ties to (and, perchance, allegiance from?) one of S.C.’s top three consulting firms.

Yes sir, the Quinns gave $6,900 to SCCfG last quarter, spaced out between The Copy Shop, Mail Marketing Strategies and the firm’s personal booze palace, The Back Porch.

Interesting. In Will Folks’ proposal to the Club last year, the Quinns were mentioned as a relatively minor player in the Club’s plans for the ’08 elections.

But, a decent number of the Quinns’ clients were “hit list” contenders, and the firm’s propaganda office has of late been an apologist for SCGOP Chairman Katon Dawson and Rich, Dawson’s newest buddy.

Then again, maybe it’s just a way for the Quinns to ameliorate things because of Rick’s involvement with the state trial lawyers’ organization.


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.


Rick Quinn maybe can now pay his property taxes
Originally uploaded by johnvierdsen

Believe it or not, Rick Quinn still hasn’t resolved the back taxes on his former home at 39 Eastpine Court in the Harbison neighborhood. As of the latest update on the Richland County records on Oct. 24, Quinn still owes $2,412.09 on the property, which is slated to be sold at auction.

But, maybe he can pay it now. Word on the street is that the South Carolina Association for Justice (formerly South Carolina Trial Lawyers Association) has re-upped Quinn’s $9,000/mo. contract.

Vierdsen wonders how the fellas at S.C. Club for Growth feel about this. After all, the Club is using RQ&A as its in-state mailhouse, paying the firm $16,730 in June.

As we all know from the Gospel of Luke, you can’t serve two masters.


Scott Singer accepts more Howard Rich money, returns some
Originally uploaded by johnvierdsen

Scott Singer, who lost to Tom Young in the Republican primary for S.C. House District 81, was one of SCRG’s and S.C. Club for Growth’s patsies to get into the General Assembly and wreak havoc. He got plenty of cash from Howard Rich and his associates, then came out in July and said that he would return all but $3,000.

Yeah, maybe not.

In his third quarter disclosure filing, Singer does return $12,000. The problem is, he received $21,000 from Rich & Co., which leaves the balance at $9,000. Then, on July 25, he took in $5,000 more.

That’s $14,000 – just a little more than what he said three months ago. Maybe he thought nobody would pay attention. Too bad.


Rick Beltram still wants to be your state chairman

O, the comedy and political drama that’s come out of Spartanburg with Rick Beltram’s chairmanship of the county party. He’s run a political consulting firm out of the party offices, giving services to GOP primary candidates, picked a fight with Zeke Stokes, got into a molehill-into-mountain tiff about calling Fred Thompson’s spouse a “trophy wife” (but, old man + hot young wife = ??), was pwn3d by the Ron Paul nutjobs, and on and on, ad infinitum.

And yet, still, he wants to be the state GOP chairman. And, if you’re a candidate that went to war against Howard Rich and his heimwehren in the primaries, you might be a little worried about where this guy wants to take the party.

Says Spartanburg County GOP Chairman Rick Beltram, “I think it’s more than rumors. I think he’s even told a number of folks that that’s what he’s looking at.”

Beltram says that if Dawson successfully runs for the RNC chairmanship then Beltram would consider himself “one of the more serious contenders” for Dawson’s job as state party boss.

Beltram says he believes that Dawson’s courting of Rich is smart politics and that connecting with the deep-pocketed school choice supporter, who is politically active in several states, could help Dawson on the national level with fundraising efforts.

Well, there’s that, and the fact he has every reporter in the state on speed dial. Like Katon Dawson’s cavalcade of dumbassery in his press releases? Or maybe former Atty. Gen. Charlie Condon’s record of sending out a fax every minute for 24 consecutive hours (just kidding, Condon was beta testing Twitter)? Then you’ll love Chairman Rick.

Speculation Mounts That S.C. GOP Chief is Eyeing National Post [Free Times]


Mark Sanford’s, S.C. Club for Growth’s giant pig on the loose

Apparently, the pig dines on large helpings of bullshit.

Charleston shelter looks for owner of giant pig [AP via The State]

Alabama Football

Dave Martin/AP

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