Monday, March 19, 2012

Just how is the Lucas County Republican Party spending its money?

For the March primary, I received a lot of mailings regarding the Ohio Republican State Central Committee races. All but one of these were paid for by the Ohio Republican Party or an organization called Restoring Ohio (believed to be a pro Gov. John Kasich group).

The one that wasn't paid for by these two groups was actually paid for by the Lucas County Republican Party.

Now, having a mailer from the LCRP for a primary isn't an unusual thing. In the past, they've sent out slate cards and urged Republicans to vote in the primary.

This one, however, was only for LCRP Chairman Jon Stainbrook, urging Republicans to vote for him in the contested race for the state central committee.

It was billed as an 'endorsement alert' but it was the only mailer the local party sent out for the election.

They didn't send a slate card. They didn't endorse for the contested Republican judicial race. They didn't send anything on other contested races. Just this one for Jon Stainbrook.

Stainbrook also had yard signs for his state central committee campaign - also paid for by the LCRP:

Note, too, that these are the large 3x5 mini-billboards - not the regular campaign yard signs ... for a state central committee race!

Which raises a lot of questions - primarily about how Stainbrook is using party money for his own personal purposes.

In looking back through the LCRP's campaign finance reports, the last time the party spent any money designated for particular candidates was in 2009 when they paid about $2,000 for signs and wires for the primary.

They did spend $2,000 in 2011 for printing and signs though there is nothing to identify what that money was for. And they did spend over $6,600 for the lawsuit they filed on behalf of George Sarantou in his loss for Lucas County Commissioner - a suit they later dropped.

But they've spent a lot more money on items that have nothing to do with promoting the election of Republicans.

The campaign finance reports show numerous expenditures for 'food for volunteers' where the amounts are under $5.00. How many volunteers are you feeding at McDonald's or Rudy's when you spend less than $5.00?

There are 'snacks for volunteers' purchased at coffee shops and gas stations. Again, how many volunteers are you feeding when you're spending under $2.00 for snacks?

My educated guess is that these expenses are not for 'volunteers' but for Jon Stainbrook personally.

There are also car rentals totalling more than $1,000. Now why in the world would the LCRP need to rent a car on multiple occasions?

They've spent another $1,600 in legal fees - not counting the amount mentioned above - and have paid out nearly $2,900 for parliamentarian services using a parliamentarian from Cleveland and one from the Columbus area. Couldn't they find a parliamentarian in Toledo? Or even a Republican one willing to donate their services?

They've spent $550 on security, $420 on a volunteer appreciation party, but only show rent being paid in 2010. They've also reimbursed Stainbrook and his close friends Meghan Gallagher and Kelly Bensman for their expenses (though there were many questions about those reimbursements due to a lack of documentation as to what they were for).

And other than incumbents or well-known former elected official being re-elected, they've not won any elections.

But they have money to send out a full color, first-class mailer on behalf of a personal race the chairman is involved in against a fellow Republican.

Sad - but perhaps this is why they can't seem to raise any money other than at the Lincoln Day Dinner.

The purpose of the local Republican Party is to elect local Republicans to local office while supporting the state-wide and national candidates. Our local GOP and its chairman, Jon Stainbrook, are failing miserably.


The Lucas County Republican Party campaign finance reports are available for viewing at the Lucas County Board of Elections website's document center.

Interestingly, their 2011 Semi-Annual Report filed on July 29, 2011, doesn't add up.

It lists the following:

$25,034.50 total funds available
$19,797.03 total expenses

$ 2,940.68 on hand

However, when you subtract expenses from total available, you get $5,237.47 - not the $2,940.68 that they have on the form.

There has been no correction filed as of this posting.


Bytor said...

I wonder what the LCRP bylaws say about endorsing SCC candidates, and whether there was an actual vote to endorse Stainbrook.

Maggie Thurber said...

Bytor - the executive committee has the ability to endorse and my understanding is that they did vote. However, with all the complaints I've heard since Stainbrook became chairman, there's no telling if EVERY member of the executive committee was notified of the meeting at which endorsements were going to be done.

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