Ostrov's Hawaii GOP Dig$ Deeper Hole - According to New FEC Revelations
EXAMINING THE MONTHLY FINANCE REPORT filed by the Hawaii Republican Party (HRP) with the Federal Election Commission (FEC):
RED INK RUNNING EVERYWHERE: Based on the newest FEC filings through the end of June 2017, party leaders Ostrov, Blackburn, Saiki, Ward and Hellreich have continued LOSING money -BIG money. Here's what party leaders REFUSE to tell our party members. After Ostrov-Blackburn's first full month on the job with Hellreich and Ward and Saiki, the HRP June report is moreREDthan even the previous month. Receipts of just $2,327 from donors + $0 bailout from the RNC + $5,459transferfrom one checking account to another.
Things continue to be just as bad under new management as they were under Fritz Rohlfing (and, as HIRA reported, they opted to keep Rohlfing around for another two years). In addition, rumor has it that the party also had to raid the mortgage funds againto keep the lights on. Accounting gimmicks don't win elections or increase donor confidence.
SPEAKING OF DONORS: FEC Sustaining Donors: 0. Period. Nosustaining donors on record. No Ostrov, Blackman, Hellreich, Saiki, Ward, Ready, Rohlfing, Tupola, nor any of the Exec Cmte you've never heard of. None. Only one named donor i.e. contributor with more than $100 for the cycle. When the party's own leaders don't buy in, don't expect others to do so -- and it seems like nobody did.
REFUNDS: Donors can't request refunds from the party fast enough. Several people demanded a REFUND, including Charles Djou's $2,500 for the cancelled Lincoln Dinner event organized (or disorganized) by Fritz Rohlfing and Jack James. Dennis Kim is another $2,500 donor whose money was refunded. This list goes on. While notraising funds, Blackburn also couldn't convince donors to let the state party 'hold' their Lincoln Dinner money for another month. This same party's bank balance a few years ago was HALF A MILLION DOLLARS and today we are practically penniless.
DISBURSEMENTS: $26,834. Ostrov spent a whoppingELEVEN AND A HALF TIMES the paltry $2,327 amount raised during June 2017. That extravagant $26,834 was ALLadministrative overhead with $0 for elections and messaging.
CASH ON HAND:CoH isdown $19K from $45.2K to $26.2K. This means that CoH = $3.3K operating funds with only $22.9K in building account. Ostrov blew through $26,000 in just one month, with nothing to show for it and with only $26,000 left in her combined bank accounts.
Pay outs in June = $1,505 for Jack James' salary + $1,012 in payroll tax (for James) + $1,722 for health insurance (for James**) + $921 utilities + $377 new door locks + $1,476 mortgage + $7,873 CAMx3 (that's a total of $10,647 in June 2017 for the luxury office suites) + $291 for phone service + $150 for MailChimp e-mailing account + $1,468 Saiki era copier rental + $57 for somebody's cell phone + $304 for cable service + ridiculous $1,505 'compliance' consulting fees + $892 for hiring a "pro-bono" (meaning "free") lawyer + $31 for office supplies + $498 for printing + $6,350 in refunds to ticket buyers for the cancelledRohlfing-James Lincoln Dinner. That's where YOUR donations went.
[**HQ told party members that Jack "MusicMan" James would be gone by the third week of May (right after the state convention). They lied. James was on the payroll until mid-June, with Health Insurance and Payroll taxes.]
To get elected in May, the unknown Shirlene Ostrov and her unknown Finance Committee chair-in-waiting, Mark Blackman, promised they had thousands in contributions lined up to end HRP's financial crisis. They lied. As June 2017 came crashing to a close, Ostrov's treasurer was forced to report to the FEC that the Hawaii GOP was in the hole for another $20,000. ZERO was expended on elections, messaging, or lobbying. Promises of big financial infusions haven't been seen two full months after Ostrov helped Hellreich and Saiki to retain control of the state party.
The $5,459 transfer from HQ CSC account is 'soft money' raised in previous periods (FEC allows a percentage to be transferred to the 'hard money' FEC account). It is not new money raised by HQ. This transfer of funds suggests that, pending the end-July CSC report, HQ has only about 24k in it's state CSC account, of which $13k actually belongs to the counties. With refunds($6,350) from the FEC account paid to buyers of canceled Lincoln Dinner tickets, you can expect refunds to businesses and legislators' campaign funds out of the depleted CSC account.
Blackburn emailed a -- let's call it 'less than truthful' -- Finance chair report before fleeing to Australia for vacation. He claims to have a finance committee, but refuses to tell us who they are until his next report in October - just 13 months before the General Election. Blackman also claims he has 'a donor' but won't reveal who until October. He also says he has a 'year-end donation' but, well, we don't believe him. He did not refute widespread criticism of his pre-convention promise to raise funds nor dispute HIRA's documentation of his claim that he had donors lined up. Here's areal and transparent report of one-week's work from a successful state party . . .
Ostrov promised to follow her own rules, then embarrassingly still has not presented a budget to the State Committee, more than six weeks past deadline. Yes, this is the budget which delegates should have asked to see, at least in draft, before they voted for an unprepared State chair.
Ostrov announced that her first, she said major, action was to bring on a pro bono lawyer. She, then, should explain the $900 paid to Lilly's law firm in mid-June.
(Another) last laugh. Past chair Rohlfing stiffed Ostrov with a $760 bill for new HQ light bulbs. Adding insult to injury, 'Music Man' James ordered the wrong parts, so Ostrov had to buy replacements. Then, last Saturday, Ostrov had to recruit volunteers to install the Rohlfing bulbs instead of helping get Rs elected.
Rohlfing's headquarters security was apparently so lax that the party paid nearly $400 to have all thelocks changed and new keys made.
Deferred $. June disbursements are heavy because of bills deferred from previous months (cable, 2xCAM, for example). Not learning the lesson, HQ deferred Accounting and is a month behind in overpriced Saiki-copier rental.
A botched February LDD, which became March, then July, then October now appears off the table. Giving refunds ($6,350) for an event 'certain to happen' is not reassuring.
With no politics or campaigning taking place at HQ, hard to convince donors that $1500/month to rent the fancy Saiki-copier is a good ROI.
Oahu League promises funds raised from their Slom-raiser is to support candidates. But their first priority is the HQ mortgage, and that fund is about to bust.
Mortgage account poofed. Paying June mortgage, utilities, and three months of building maintenance (CAM) = 10,270. This depletes 'mortgage account' to 22.9k. With HQ in the red each month simply trying to pay the bills, it is 'difficult' to see Saiki building a Coordinated Campaign Victory Fund for elections. In June, the mortgage due is reduced by only $1k to 64k, which becomes $100k+ as HQ uses the building fund for all building expenses. That is $100k before any candidate or campaign support. Note: The 64k remaining may be "HQ fake news" because of a blurt by Smart at Convention that the mortgage is actually several tens of thousands more.
Assisted suicide, HRP-style. For 2017 Rohlfing, Hellreich and Ward (R/H/W) and now Ostrov and Blackman FEC report shows 53.1k receipts with 102.2k disbursement i.e. 49k RED even with their January event and all the promised Ostrov-Blackburn pledges. For 5/6 months this year, HRP is in the RED. Rohlfing, and now Ostrov, Blackburn, Hellreich, Ward, Saiki refuse to raise funds to sustain their spending habits. Instead of your contributions of hard-earned money going to your family vacation, or even to help elect more Republicans, HQ wastes it.
The steady worsening of party finances screams out that we need to focus limited financial resources on our message. Certainly Mr. Hughes from Kahala (and everyone else) would prefer that his $2,000 be used to finance hard-hitting TV commercials which hammer Democrats rather than underwriting the exorbitant common area building maintenance fee at 725 Kapiolani Boulevard.
Yes, the problems are worse. The hole is deeper now. And nothing has changed how the state party does business . . .
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