Back To School Report, Part I

Traffic is heavy, we’re back to school.  As of September 7, there are 152 days until the Iowa Caucus* with only 426 days until the General Election.  Some readers argued that I should not have picked out good news to report in my last account (“This is a mid-year update and there is a lot of good news.”) in order to focus on issues which need resolving.  Agree or not with the analysis, for many conservatives and Republicans, these reports are the only HRP news they receive.  Reporting in this format since before the 2010 primary elections, I used a different format for my RNC Summer Meeting report because of my different role and that account went to more than Hawaii readers.  I encourage others to write, discuss and debate issues, policy and candidates.  Ask questions, get involved.  We don’t have to always agree but we should be as informed as possible and decide for ourselves.  Feel free to forward this email, discussion is good.  Previous reports are listed at the bottom.

Hawaii Republicans had an interesting summer, though lackluster for HRP.  We’ll go to a little depth on a few topics and add a couple bullet topics.  Throughout these reports there are myriad campaign tips and suggestions.  This report is no different.

The Capital Campaign (CC) committee produced a major fundraiser.  Thanks to Singer-Writer Greenwood’s generosity and NCW Hellriech’s tenacity, we grossed $90K and netted $65k.  This was an important demonstration to HRP leadership that it is possible to produce an event using volunteer effort which nets greater than the $8k in HRP’s current plans.  In spite of active opposition by (at least) chair Kaauwai and HNL County chair Rodriguez, the Greenwood event netted three times that of Lincoln Day Dinner (LDD) and had double the attendance.  As hard as (some of) the committee worked, the credit goes to our HRP core of dedicated donors and supporters.  From all the islands, and some mainland donations, people are concerned about HRP and specifically about Kaauwai’s decision to let the HQ go into foreclosure.  More on the CC and Greenwood later.

Here is (mostly) good news.  Kaauwai and Candidate Recruitment and Training vice-chair Ward say we have 47 candidates for 2012.  That’s a good number for this early.  Secretary Makanani email:  “We have an ongoing program, led by Representative Gene Ward, to recruit and train candidates for 2012.  We already have 47 candidates recruited, and monthly candidate training sessions scheduled!”  Unfortunately, Ward’s training sessions drew only three candidates in July and five in August.  None of the five have raised any funds.  Kaauwai does not attend and is not involved.  Ward needs to get personally involved to boost the attendance…..or allow the organizers and trainers to spend their valuable time on other party requirements.

HRP must get fundraising act together.  The ‘July event’ never was.  We’ve heard nothing of the September Reagan event.  A start-of-summer mail piece brought little revenue at a high cost.  Though the sustaining donor program is short of it’s target, this dedicated platoon of supporters is helpful.  Since the initial push, the program has been left dormant.  Kaauwai stated on a conference call that Governor Lingle called donors and told them to not support HRP.  From my perspective, that would never occur.  Lingle wouldn’t purposely hurt the party and she doesn’t need to call anyone.  Several individuals involved in HRP fund raising say that Kaauwai never put effort into raising funds.  Only a person who would call donors and ask that they not contribute (as did Kaauwai with CC) could think that someone else could do the same.  Kaauwai’s Finance Chair resigned in June.  Even past fundraising took a hit.  The [Pres candidate] Gingrich Lincoln Day Dinner (LDD) bill means that February’s LDD netted about $30k, down from $200k-$400k in past years.

Expenses have been cut, there is no revenue.  Treasurer Klompus is keeping tight reign on expenditures, HRP unfortunately had to cut all staff and most associated costs, and HRP is addressing some past debts.  There was late reporting of debt (invoices “discovered” in a desk drawer this spring) and perhaps some hanky-panky with the Gingrich LDD bill.  Former Finance Director Hofer says she told Kaauwai about the bill, Kaauwai swears he never knew about it.  Someone isn’t telling the truth, again.  Bottom line is that it causes an increase in our Accounts Payable (AP) that we should have addressed months ago.  Ward believes ‘at least [Gingrich] won’t sue us’ and the situation makes for an interesting HRP story of ‘how we stiffed a presidential candidate.’  Klompus and others are juggling who and when we pay (including credit card minimum payments).  Though many ‘leaders’ do not contribute to HRP, here is your challenge:  Before you complain about this HRP report, I encourage those of you who support Kaauwai and trust him with your funds to send him a check.  I’ll review the next FEC and CSC reports and see how we do (you’d be surprised at the leaders who contribute nothing).  You can still complain to me, just write your check first.

FEC/CSC reports.  The good news is that HRP debt is stabilizing.  From $70,000 in AP at the end of May to $84,000 at the end of June, the end of July report shows $92,000 in debt!  However, the amount is deceiving – the July jump is mostly due to the reporting of the Gingrich debt that should have been reported on the May report (that alone is a FEC violation suggesting perhaps Kaawaui should NOT do our compliance).  In July, HRP raised $38k (not including a convention refund and a few in-kind donations), spent $15k (including clearing some previous debt and not including in-kind expenditures), to end the month with $32k COH of which virtually all is CC funds.  Of the $38k raised, Kaauwai brought in about $6k, CC raised $32k.  The $6k raised by Kaauwai doesn’t cover the expenses and debt payments even with CC now making monthly mortgage payments for HRP in addition to paying down mortgage principal.  The list of debts has some new names and includes, but is not limited to:  Albano $2,617, Arena Communications $20,069, Credit card $18,600, Meridian (for printing, consulting) $8,507, Edwards Enterprises $4,925, IMS accounting $1,000, office supplies $2,866, Show and Tell media $7,434, a direct mail company $19,158, and about $6,700 to Gingrich.

Greenwood was a great event.  She willingly admits to having a lot of help, but kudos go to Hellriech for this event.  Lighter (supposedly) on the politics, heavy on patriotism.  When Greenwood finally sang “God Bless the USA,” my goodness, people were in tears and most others had damp eyes.  That’s ‘getting your money’s worth.’  Politically, there was an energy HRP hasn’t had in a while.  It was a great evening of catching up with campaigning friends, some I hadn’t seen since the last cycle.  This was telling:  Ok, you can do anything with statistics and for this event we had put emphasis on patriotism and support for the military.  When the audience was asked to stand if they had been or are in the military, darn near 30% of these conservatives and Republicans stood and were recognized.  I dare say that if we had asked for family members, who sacrifice so much, of anyone with military service to stand, we would have nearly the entire room standing with the six WWII 100/442 veterans who joined us.

Campaign thoughts related to the Greenwood event.  CC cares about the party.  CC cmte members and donors are demonstrated to give time and money for HRP.  We set several goals, including bringing energy to the party.  We didn’t meet the revenue goal but it was closer than I thought we’d get.  In campaign terms, it was an absolute mistake for any politician to miss the event.  I was surprised (ok, not really) by the legislators, candidates and party leaders who did not support the event (or CC).  There could be many reasons for doing so.  Some were ‘out of town.’  Some showed up and still didn’t contribute – not funds or fund raising or organizing – including a senior leader who attended as a ‘guest.’  Kaauwai, in a gutsy (though totally without class) move, showed up and acknowledged the audience when introduced.  He didn’t contribute.  A third of the Executive Cmte and most of the State Cmte did not contribute.  Only one county chair (Maui – Wilson) attended.  CC filled the room with more than 350 of your potential donors, supporters and volunteers.  If a candidate or candidate team didn’t come away with a handful of business cards and phone numbers, then you missed the opportunity which HRP won’t present to you anytime soon.  When time comes for candidates to find dedicated volunteers and donors for their respective campaign, who will enjoy greater supporter interest?  When campaign fundraising begins, will donors support candidates and leaders who don’t support the party?

CC is designed to pay off the principal.  Donations paid direct to the bank did so.  We began this journey in June with principal standing at $198k.  Now, we’re at 171k and some of the Greenwood net -about $15k- will pay down principal.  That is a huge achievement.  Please continue to contribute – contact Thomason at kathi.thomason@ims-hawaii.com for forms and instructions.  Committee leaders decided to hold onto two years worth of monthly mortgage payments because history suggests Kaauwai won’t and won’t be able to make payments.  I understand their concern.  As long as Kaauwai desires sale or foreclosure, is unable to raise funds for monthly mortgage payments and fails to raise funds someone has to pay the bills.  CC is working on several projects – Oahu League of Republican Women (OLRW, or OL) already started towards their next goal – to continue the momentum to burn the mortgage.  Kaauwai hopes to rent/sublet the space to a big (say, Lingle) campaign.  Kaauwai isn’t paying the bills and is rarely present at HQ so why is he determining which candidates may use the facilities?  Why is HQ even open/using utilities five days/week with no staff?

My concern is that CC money in a bank account is money Kaauwai can waste (or that people/companies he owes will sue for it).  CC counsel says (loudly) not so.  We’ll know if we go to court.  Sitting on two year’s worth of mortgage payments dampens CC initiative to pay off the principal and if Lingle gets in the Senate race then, as we have noted in past reports, CC and HRP loses Hellriech when she joins Lingle’s paid staff.  Though paying down some principal each month, monthly payments also sends a great deal of funds towards interest.  Some argue that ‘paying the mortgage’ includes paying CAM, repairs and potentially utilities.  Finally, if most of these same people hadn’t spent three years propping up Kaauwai, in spite of the evidence that HRP was in trouble, we wouldn’t have this additional task with an election year on the horizon.

Rodriguez encouraged his HNL county organizationto avoid participating in CC. His example:  if you had funds to pay off your personal mortgage, you shouldn’t because paying off a 4.5-5% mortgage is dumb if your cash is earning 0-.1% interest.  Huh?  I encouraged leaders to make their own decision about the CC.  Because some may enjoy Rodriguez’s snarky comments to me, a volunteer, I include his response at the risk of running afoul of his view of the first amendment or of being ‘met with legal action’ –

From: randy.rodriguez@gmail.com
To: willeslee@aol.com
CC: jonah.kaauwai@gmail.com, bmorioka@hawaii.rr.com, dylan.nonaka@gmail.com, aiss1@hawaiiantel.net, cchipchase@cades.com, bethfukumoto@gmail.com, david@wealthbridgeinc.com, kari@gophawaii.com, dylan@gophawaii.com, laakeam@yahoo.com, lizadorn@gmail.com, alfred_sarmento@hotmail.com, wilson8189@sbcglobal.net, lisacoluccio@aol.com, mhellreich@gmail.com, repward@cs.com, marcia1900@yahoo.com, dennis.r.vaillancourt@gmail.com, ehatawatanabe@yahoo.com, poidogbowl@aol.com, jacquelyn.skaf@gmail.com, jame.schaedel@gmail.com, ofnerj001@hawaii.rr.com, nakagawa.joy@gmail.com
Sent: 7/9/2011 10:15:45 P.M. Hawaiian Standard Time
Subj: Fwd: County Exec mtg

Willes,
Let me be candid with you since you are the coward behind the keyboard attempting to discredit anyone in party leadership you deem “unworthy.” Yes I was forwarded this email as you’ve cowardly omitted sending to me (unlike like your previous idiotic rants).

My position on paying extra monies to the mortgage is no secret yet interesting that you attempt to discredit my position and profession. That’s great leadership. I honestly do not see how you were a military officer with the foolish antics you’ve displayed which clearly are unbecoming. Truly unbelievable and a laughing stock to many on your email list.

You have no business emailing my county team nor attempting to influence in any matter.  Subversive, manipulative and detrimental to the party overall. NEWSFLASH: YOU are the problem not the cure. You know very well that you’ve been determined to sink the party just as when you stated to me that you were purposely NOT attending the Lincoln Day Dinner out of spite and that you’d rather send your money elsewhere. Another fine example of  leadership especially as a former state chairman…NOT!

Lastly, should you continue using my name in any discrediting, slanderous, contentious manner you will be met with legal action. That is not a threat, that is a promise. I don’t know who you think you are but you are barking up the wrong tree. Consider this your one and only warning.

Randy 808-221-3933

One member who received his email wrote back:

I would suggest that the tone and content of his email “telegraphs” the attitude that he has toward any view that is expressed with which he disagree’s.  Ask him to re read his email and see if he can find one positive suggestion for bringing people together and/or electing Republicans to office.  A Party is in the business of addition not subtraction.  My issue(s) with the Party has been its unwillingness to discuss matters and follow rules; to the letter.  The email from this “newbie” fits perfectly with the history that has driven me from wasting my time [with HRP].  If no one (people like him) is even willing to say “that is your opinion and I disagree for the following reasons but respect your view” then why join with these types and try to unite behind something?  To have such a one-sided and intolerant perspective and then to engineer the rules or the meetings or the agenda to fit with their existing wishes; is completely counter to a democracy.

——————————————————————————————————————–

Figure this:  If Kaauwai got OL to agree in March to sell the HQ it would probably be, if they were lucky with a buyer in this market, maybe June when they sold it.  HRP stood to net $187k in a good deal.  Kaauwai is $100k in debt now and would be about $170k in debt at the rate he and former Executive Director Nonaka were spending before being forced to cut staff and expenses.  So, by the time you read this, Kaauwai would be without a HQ and again be broke.

Let’s move on.

Kaauwai’s supporters want him out.  Senior leaders, and others, who supported him even though his administrative and fiscal problems were evident, have turned.  Now, they want him out.  If you are a supporter, if you believe in Kaauwai and trust him, send him a check.  He can use your help.  He is $95k in debt (as of the middle of last month), barely makes credit card minimum payments, barely pays the air conditioning and utilities and phone bill.  His budget is in shambles (none of his made any sense and the new Exec Cmte still can’t agree on one), he couldn’t pull off his event in July and has nothing prepared for his September event.  Coalitions vice chair Chang is writing the finance and business plans which Kaauwai couldn’t, or at least didn’t, get approved.  (Meanwhile, who is doing Coalitions?)  Kaauwai has no way to accomplish the party role of Electioneering – Absentee Ballots, ballot security, GOTV – much less supporting candidates.  He can’t and hasn’t gotten out a message, any message.  Yes, this is another (see above about Expenses) HRP fundraising appeal to his supporters.  If you do not help him out of his hole, it makes Djou’s race and Lingle’s potential race more difficult (and local candidates will be left on their own).  He can try to use their campaign (national) funds to erase his debt but that’ll be two more people who want him out.  I heard an argument that suggests ‘liberal’ Hawaii Republicans want him out (I know to whom they refer).  Here’s why that argument is faulty – conservatives, including most Tea members, who want an acceptably-managed organization also want him out.  For most members, this is not a liberal vs conservative issue.  This is a management issue.

Different state, different personalities, same problem.  MSNBC:  “New Hampshire’s top Republicans called on the state’s embattled GOP chairman, Jack Kimball, to quit yesterday,” the Boston Globe reports.  ‘To ensure that all of the party’s energy and resources are solely focused on electing Republicans, we believe it is time to move beyond this serious distraction,’ said a joint statement released yesterday by US Senator Kelly Ayotte, US Representative Charles Bass, US Representative Frank Guinta, state House Speaker William O’Brien, and state Senate President Peter Bragdon. ‘Therefore, we call upon Jack to put the best interests of New Hampshire Republicans first and step aside as chairman of the party.’ “… Critics contend that fund-raising has been lackluster and that divisions have been wider under Kimball’s tenure.”  As of September 2 “Embattled New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Jack Kimball resigned last night…”  –Our Hawaii elected officials and party leaders’ silence demonstrates either their support of Kaauwai’s direction to bankruptcy or a refusal to take a stand.

Kaauwai requested OL volunteers to help in the HQ.  Meanwhile, another party ‘leader’ opines that the HQ is worthless but still attends the meetings and uses the HQ facilities.  After treating 2010 OL volunteers so poorly, then trying to sell the HQ and lying about it, followed by doing his best to allow foreclosure, what do you think OL’s response to Kaauwai should be?  If everyone who voted for Kaauwai spent one hour at HQ, well, write your check and then go volunteer.

It is a week into September and we can’t find out when (or where) the September State Cmte meeting is to be held.  Kaauwai won’t say.  County chairs don’t know.  HRP Secretary won’t announce.  Scheduling a quarterly meeting shouldn’t be hard.  Everyone volunteered, everyone wants to participate.  However, everyone also has their life, work, family, commitments and schedule.  I gave kudos last quarter for Makanani giving the committee a heads up a month in advance, with confirmation two weeks out.  We’re back to the ‘norm’ for this administration – no plan, no schedule, no leadership.  One writer responded: “Remember the nice annual calendar we [before Kaauwai] distributed to everyone.”

Has anyone heard anything from HRP?  The enactment of a law that begins the process of Native Hawaiian self-governance, Honolulu trucks waste across the island, Abercrombie gives us a new deal as flawed as his original, Djou announces for Congress, a 2d Amendment lawsuit, support for Lingle running for Senate?  Silence from HRP.  Our strategy?  We were promised a Strategic Plan in June.  Kaauwai promised ‘more to come’ in an unusual July eblast.  Silence.

Have to break here, sorry.  Part II is out on Friday including more on the HRP Presidential Caucus, Campaign Spending reports and some national news.

 

Thanks, Willes

 

*Florida may jump earlier, directly challenging the RNC. Arizona wants to move to Jan 31, RNC penalties be damned.  The four ‘first’ states are working a deal to jump en-masse earlier than both those which would then begin our nominating process at about the same time as 2008 in what everyone thought was way-too-early-to-be-doing-this.  Latest word:  Cillizza, WaPo Aug 31 AZ opted to not move to Jan 31.  “The default setup goes like this: Feb. 6 – Iowa caucus, Feb. 14 – New Hampshire primary, Feb. 18 – Nevada caucus, Feb. 28 – South Carolina primary, March 6 – Super Tuesday (currently including contests in Colorado, Idaho, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia).  After March 6, other states are free to hold their races at any time. But states with contests in March are required to allot their delegates proportionally, while states with races in April or later can award them all to the winner of their state — a system that (at least in theory) allows for the latter states to more significantly influence the nominating process.” [Bold print is my edit, you’ll see the impact when you read Part II]

Previous:

Mid-year Report

State Convention +

Re: [LLIFE] Fwd: Did you get this?

Testing the Waters

’10 Learning

What Happened?

National Field Tilts

Let’s Elect Some Conservatives

Last minute (week) tidbits, for conservatives, part 2

Last minute (week) tidbits, for conservatives, part 1

Djou – Remember When?  Update

Races to Watch

Primary Election – Fun With Numbers


 

PS:  Remember this Kaauwai response to ‘Gadfly’ Ryan’s warnings that HRP was out of funds and looking to sell the HQ?  Excerpts:

From: Jonah Kaauwai [mailto:jonah@gophawaii.com]
Sent: Saturday, December 11, 2010 10:09 AM
To: JonathanB@gmail.com
Subject: Setting the Record Straight

Dear Jonathan,

First, the party is not in financial distress.  We have been and will meet all financial obligations and there is absolutely no truth to this claim.  Further, the Party financial records are filed and posted on-line with the State Campaign Spending commission and Federal Elections Commission regularly as required.  These requirements require our finances to be completely open and transparent so calls for an audit and accusations of financial impropriety are bizarre, our financial records are available for all the public to see.

Second, there is absolutely no truth to the claim that we may move out of or lose our Head Quarters.  The fact is, we own the office we are in and the 2011 budget that was presented to the State Committee clearly shows that it is funded.

Mahalo, Jonah Ka’auwai
Chairman, Hawaii Republican Party