In the wake of a transparent politically motivated offer by various apparent Simpson front groups, utilizing the cover of tea parties and assumed funding shortages, Paul Simpson supporters and opponents of Jared Woodfill have seemingly stacked the deck to ensure that the Harris County GOP will be receptive to the financial narrative of Simpson and his followers.
When given time to speak at the SD convention this past weekend, Paul Simpson postured about the state of the HCRP’s finances, making empty calls to fix something that is currently functioning properly. These types of staged moments only lend credibility to the notion that Simpson wants to portray incumbent Jared Woodfill in the most negative light in order to enhance his own political position.
How ironic that Simpson groups (among other well-meaning individuals) were behind the new rule reversal which prevents the party from charging candidates to speak, thereby undermining a vital source of funds, and then miraculously are waiting in the wings to supply private funding to “help” the party. This shameless grab for attention is akin to a doctor breaking a patient’s leg so that he can sell him a crutch. Why not shore up the HCRP’s fundraising efforts to begin with, instead of sabotaging primary sources of funding, and then posing as made-to-order saviors?
On Monday, April 9, 2012, on behalf of the Kingwood and some other TEA Parties and 912 groups, we contacted Elizabeth in the HCRP office and offered to sponsor the entire cost for the HCRP convention on Saturday, April 21, 2012. We thought this was a reasonable offer since the HCRP would not be charging candidates to speak this year and they would be short funds for the convention.“We did not ask for any control of any function of the convention, only that we sponsor the event solely and be recognized for doing so. We made the offer because we believe in the importance of having an open forum between voters and all candidates including those who represent our TEA Party core beliefs.” [Emphasis Added]
There are several problems with the above. In the first instance, since party rules were changed to exclude speaker fees, the actual motivation of Kingwood Tea Party, ostensibly to permit Ted Cruz to speak at the convention, would have been illicit and inappropriate, since this would have amounted to “pay-to-play,” according to Woodfill’s office. Secondarily, it seems odd that an organization of this nature would want sole recognition for funding the HCRP convention. What is the purpose of such a request? One thing is certain: in asking for total control of convention financing, the financier (in this case Kingwood Tea Party) wanted something in return. Many are not satisfied that getting Ted Cruz permission to speak was the main thing to be gained by such an organization, especially if latitude of the size requested was granted. The full post on Kingwood Tea Party’s website contains an alarming amount of anti-Jared Woodfill vitriol. The post is full of derision, about Jared’s record on communication, and general irritation that the donation (with very big strings, ropes even) was not received. Is it wrong to conclude that the Kingwood Tea Party may be Simpson supporters, or at the very least, anti-Jared? Whatever the personal feelings of the average voter, the candidate for HCRP Chairman with the strongest record, qualifications, and principles needs to be selected, partisan bickering notwithstanding. But should any GOP-oriented organizations be doing things in word or deed to undermine the party’s ability to function?
In all fairness, not all members of tea party affiliated organizations are necessarily Simspon supporters (though some have been identified as such), and many will readily claim the mantle of non-alignment, but advocating actions that deplete party funds and harm its current chairman’s ability to raise sufficient monies for crucial party functions assists his opponent. And Jared’s opponent, who so far offers nothing but empty criticism void of actual solutions, serves no other purpose (whether he is aware of this or not) but to damage party cohesiveness before a historic election. In this way, even tea party groups may unintentionally harm the party if not cautious when advocating for rule changes and seemingly innocuous and even needed resolutions. Specifically, when groups and individuals who earnestly sought to decrease the burden on grassroots candidates and even the playing field amongst event speakers supported the resolution on speaker fees, they may not have realized the significance of their actions. Much can be said in support of evening the playing field and pursuing alternative methods of financing, but these discussions should typically take place well in advance of primaries, and certainly no decisions adversely affecting primary and convention financing should be made only weeks before these vital events.
According to an anonymous source, highly placed in the HCRP, the Saturday April 21st convention barely covered its costs. To paraphrase this individual’s overall assessment, “The party shouldn’t be living this close to the edge.”
Kingwood Tea Party and its network of tea party organizations, had money to donate that may have relieved some of the financial strain felt after the reversal of speaker fee rules. If the Kingwood Tea Party had truly wanted to help, their donation would have come anyway, regardless of the tangential requests associated.
In point of fact, contrary to the post on Kingwood Tea Party’s website (KTP), Jared returned the repeated phone calls from KTP officers, and offered to put the gracious donations of KTP into other indispensable party vehicles. KTP and other related organizations, refused this offer. The petulant post on KTP’s website gives the impression that Jared inexplicably refused funds, due to some hidden tea party-bias. No justification for this assumption is given by the writer of the post. Jared, when asked to explain, confirmed that he had offered to accept the funds, but couldn’t do so under the strict conditions requested. To sum up for readers, KTP and other related organizations had money to help the party, but withheld said money unless they were to be given an undue measure of control over the convention.
If it weren’t for party chairman Jared Woodfill’s proven record on fundraising, the party may indeed have been short funds. In point of fact, Woodfill has raised well over $10 million in the last ten years, roughly an average of $80,000 per month in support of party functions, varying during certain periods. It will take more than an ill-timed and potentially ill-motivated rule-reversal on speaker fees to break the party bank. And yet, it is possible that “breaking the bank” is just what Simpson wanted. Let me explain.
To understand the context of Paul Simpson’s connection to the present funding debacle, it is necessary to go back to the HCRP Executive Committee meeting of several weeks ago. Party stalwart Randy Kubosh, who has openly and prominently endorsed Paul Simpson against Jared Woodfill, spearheaded the effort to reverse party rules and eliminate speaker fees, with full knowledge of the potential impact this move would have on the party’s financial outlook. Mr. Kubosh has previously served in official capacity with the HCRP, dealing primarily with finances. It is almost certain that Mr. Kubosh’s intentions were entirely honorable, and he is certainly appreciated for all he has done to advance the Party.
Still, although Kubosh is an honorable man, it can only help Simpson’s claim that Jared isn’t raising enough money to eliminate an important source of HCRP funds. No one can see into Mr. Simpson’s mind, but the circumstantial evidence for foul play seems unavoidable.
The recent move of Simpson to grandstand at the convention about the financial problems of the HCRP, followed by the offer of groups led by individuals with a clear anti-Jared Woodfill slant, to fully fund this past weekend’s convention, simply seem strange. More should be done to investigate the connection between these actions, if any.
Most importantly, going forward, unity must be the focus of the HCRP. Helping the Party win, helps Harris County residents win. Let’s emphasize our common ground, over our personal gain.