Republicans demand end to the usage of slush funds for leadership votes
Republicans are calling foul on their legislative leadership and their attempts to subvert the will of the regular membership.
“The Republican Party can survive the push and shove of the conservative/liberal fight. But when individuals start stumping in public as a Ms. Camilla Strongin with the apparent approval of the leadership, did just last Thursday for money for a leadership for votes fund, stating “ money should not be given to the Republican Party because we can spend it better than them” at the Southern Hispanic Republican Group, in Tucson right in front of a smiling President Pierce, as a reliable source told me then I believe something has got to end,” said Representative John Fillmore in a statement released yesterday.
Fillmore was referencing a gathering by a group calling itself Southern Arizona Hispanic Republicans which was created in part with funds from a Tucson car dealer and the use of Republican donations to the Republican Victory Fund in the last Republican Primary. According to Edmund Marquez, one of the leaders of the group, they were formed because the language SB1070 is “mean” and the group hopes to present a “nicer” face to the media.
Representative and former State Senatorial candidate John Fillmore stated that “a drive to end the usage of slush funds for leadership votes as he believes is being practiced by the current State Senate President Steve Pierce” is called for. “The warring factions that split our party are just a side show to theft, misdirection of donations, and a real injustice being done to all of the Party. The actions of the President in stopping the spending of the slush funds they have gathered and are using for leadership votes is in direct opposition of its intended purpose and may side rail the whole darn Republican legislature.”
Reportedly, Senate President Pierce, having taken a head count of Republican seats which will be won guaranteeing Republican power, opted to use donations to the fund to ensure his power position as senate president in 2012.
The monies were intended to get Republicans re-elected in the General primary, however much of the money has been spent fighting Republicans in the Republican Primary. The Party membership has complained that the “Country Club” Republicans have been intimidated by the mainstream media into backing away from the Republican platform and adopting a “liberal-lite” platform. A move many believe will trickle up to hurt the Romney ticket.
Polls indicate that the Republican platform issues the powers-that-be are trying to steer clear away from are border security and economic responsibility, which are popular with the public, but ridiculed by the media.
Fillmore says that he believes “Mr. Tobin, whom has shown a teeny bit of restraint, has control of a little known fund that is called the “House Victory Fund” while Mr. Pierce controls the gigantic “Republican Victory fund” both funds established in prior years when real leaders could be counted upon to do the right thing.” However, Tobin was inadvertantly caught up in Pierce’s scheme.
“Former Senate President Burns when he established the Senate fund was adamant that the funds would never be used by leadership as a means to gather support, or in any Primary race AGAINST OTHER REPUBLICANS ! To the detriment of not only the Party but the whole State, and this is exactly how they are being used,” Fillmore claims in his statement
“All of the politics aside, on the conservative versus moderate rancor, the us against them, the split in our tent, etc, these issues that divide our Party are minor compared to the main fact which remains that the money was raised under the guise IT WOULD NOT BE USED AGAINST OTHER REPUBLICANS IN A PRIMARY RACE NOR USED FOR LEADERSHIP VOTE GATHERING. Fillmore asks, “ Can you imagine the anger when people whom have given money to our Party start recognizing it is being used against other Republicans?”
Many agree with Fillmore’s statement that “If I were a conservative whom had donated my money and saw this I would be demanding my money back! And this very issue of attacking other Republicans was the subject of a very heated discussion earlier this year with both the Speaker and the President demanding the current State Chairman stay OUT OF THE PRIMARY RACES, (something they evidently could not do) and which the Party leadership had never shown any intent to begin with and respected that wisdom. Well some kids just do not learn.”
Pierce, in an effort to ensure his presidency in the next legislative session poured well over $100,000 in the divisive race LD16 race between Republican John Fillmore and Republican Rich Crandall. Fillmore and others claim that leadership “trashed” the image of the conservative Fillmore. Crandell barely beat Fillmore.
It is widely rumored that Crandell has already moved his family out of State and may only show up to vote in order to give Pierce a vote for leadership.
“When we, as Republicans are losing our super majority needlessly, and quite frankly may just barely hold onto the Senate majority because of this kind of stupid, greedy stuff, IT STINKS,” says Fillmore. “It is time for the House and Senate caucuses to, demand, the voices of the County and District Chairs of the Party to, demand , and the leadership of the State Chair to, demand, and all of the people whom were misled when they donated to demand, and all of the working PC’s to, demand, all money be turned over to the Party immediately, not after the election or when Pierce has his votes, but now so it can be used in a transparent way for the benefit of all Republicans (where it rightfully belongs, and would be used wisely and not in some shadow fund controlled by individuals for their own selfish, egotistical benefit. Mr. Pierce should try to win his Presidency the regular way we all try to win elections, based upon strength and reason and not by the amount of money he may throw away to try to sway people to support him, and not at the expense of the Republican Party.”
Fillmore stated he has “begun a round of meetings with many of the State Senators, House members, Donators, and Party officials to shine a light on the issue. He hopes the leadership will see the wisdom of this move and abandon their ways, and offer to relinquish these slush funds for better use or be forced to abandon their ways and turn the money over to the Party.”
Fillmore says that “this is no sour loser grapes, that issue is dead, I lost, they may have cheated, but I lost, we can wait and see if they want to again spend that much and more two years from now, however if they are now going around the State trashing the Republican Party as they did me for their own benefit, that must stop.”
Fillmore and many other republicans say that there is NO excuse for the lack of support the spending shenanigans, and “on this note I would suspect they may try to now do a minor meager little something for a few to claim they are helping, but not a real try to win if the promise for the Presidents leadership votes are not there! There must be some accountability, transparency and objective spending done with any money raised under the banner of the Republican caucus thru leadership if this is how the money was raised.”
Fillmore argues that “there must be unbiased fingers on the spending controls, not a hungry lust for power of leadership. There is not only ample funds there being wasted, but there is more than enough to guarantee a huge benefit in all races to our Party’s benefit. There is NO excuse we are losing our super majority. We are the Party with the programs best for Arizona and America. We are the Party of conservative fiscal principles, balanced budgets, jobs and opportunity. We are the responsible ones in this job we call politics and we should act it.”
The Arizona Republican Party has been beleaguered as much by mismanagement as media. The existing leadership botched the Arizona Presidential Convention, leaving the party faithful with a sour taste in their mouths. The fundraising effort by the party during this critical time has been almost nonexistent, according to insiders, while individual Republican candidates continue to raise money on their own.
Many Republicans say now that if you are not a member of the “Club” you are on your own and many of them prefer it that way. “They can keep their Nathan Sproul types, and the astro-turf organizations, ours is the party of liberty, the party of equality, of opportunity for all, and favoritism for none. It’s time for new leadership in Arizona.” says one leader in the Pima County GOP.