Tuesday, May 23, 2006

$250,000 and the State Party Chair Race

$250,000. That was all the talk yesterday.

During the end of Molly Beth Malcolm’s term as Party Chair or at the beginning of Charles Soechting’s, the party was given a substantial gift in order to develop party infrastructure. The State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC), voted to set aside the funds for a permanent office for party use.

Needless to say, the money was used for election purposes and general office upkeep instead.

This has always been a very public point of friction with certain activists, campaigns, and SDEC members. While Soechting publicly and privately apologized for his disregard of the SDEC vote, he was able to net house seats for the first time since the Democrats lost control of the Texas legislature. Something often overlooked in Soechting’s tenure as party leader.

Dennis Speight, vice-chair of the finance committee and vocal Boyd Richie endorser, send out an odd memorandum to “2006 Delegates, Alternates, and Activist” titled “How Boyd Richie fixed Charles Soechting’s money problem”.
In late 2004 and January 2005, Sub-Committee Chairman Boyd Richie called a meeting to study the books with the Comptroller of the party both with the presence of the State Chair and without. The sub-committee discovered the party was clearly in bad financial shape after the 2004 elections. We also discovered that the $250,000 that was voted to be set aside for a future home for the TDP had been spent. It had been spent on normal everyday expenses at the party like payroll, telephones and rent. The party also spent nearly $100,000 on campaign activities like mail during the 2004 election cycle on House races including Hubert Vo, David Lebowitz and Mark Strama, all races that we won. These expenditures had no over-sight from the SDEC, except by the State Chairman himself.
Now here comes the disclaimer. I am a Glen Maxey and Charlie Urbina-Jones supporter and enjoy their vision. I appreciate the hard work and extensive traveling that both men are doing in their quest to rebuild the party.

However, Interim Chair Richie’s “fix” was the simple fact that he did the job he was appointed to do and doing it AFTER the money was already gone. He stepped up the fundraising and edited rules that were already in existence.

Where is the fix? As chair of the committee, how much did he raise and why was fundraising not originally written into the plan? Do we only need $250,000 to win back the legislature, the US Congressional delegation, and the dozens of statewide offices?

Rule changes are a necessary and often boring part of any statewide political machine. Vision and foresight to check on our budget more than once a year and to fundraise regardless of how much is in the bank is crucial for success.


At 9:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the email speight sent out was very poorly written. I couldn't figure out the point of it. I couldnt even tell if he was trying to help Richie or just some how cover his own ass. After reading it, I just kept thinking Boyd Richie and the state party is missing $250,000. Probably not what Boyd Richie wants me thinking. But it is.


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