Thursday, May 8, 2008

GOP Lays Rotten Eggs

The leadership controversy in the Augusta GOP continues with a guest column by Larry Roller in The News Leader. I'll save you reading the painful rehash of the "facts" of this intra-party mud wrestling by quoting Roller's summary: "Obviously, the behavior of Michael clearly demonstrates that he is not interested in 'what’s good for the Republican party.' He’s more concerned about what authority and power he can attain for himself." In a related story, Roller has appealed the 6th District Committee's decision to give the chairmanship to Kurt Michael to the state party.
The second rotten egg is the controversial ad run by a committee calling itself "Citizens Committee for Commonsense Government in Staunton." According to a story in The News Leader:
Local GOP insider Olivia "Libby" Welsh has filed with State Board of Elections as a political action committee, revealing the names of donors who funded the controversial ad endorsing City Council candidates Rusty Ashby, Richard P. "Dickie" Bell and Bob Campbell. Yet those donors say they didn't know the ad's content and anticipated a more positive approach.
A quick read of the story reveals Mrs. Welsh solicited donations ranging from $250 to $1,000 from nine individuals to pay $4,500 for the full page ad attacking the city manager and staff. Some of those individuals now say they put up the money without knowing the content or purpose of the ad. And these are responsible business persons in the community?
Welsh has also admitted she worked with the Campbell campaign on the ad - a violation of campaign finance laws. Commonwealth Attorney Ray Robertson and the Virginia State Police are investigating. With so many of the conspirators professing ignorance (one even said "I was sound asleep when you called me"), it will be interesting to see how deep they are able to probe. If there was a intentional violation of campaign laws, misdemeanor charges may be filed. Otherwise a civil suit may lead to fines.
The ad seemed to have little impact and may actually have hurt Campbell and Ashby. Only Bell, an incumbent, won.
Libby Welsh has long been known as a GOP insider who loves to throw around her prestige and money to get her way in the party and in the community. She often pulls strings under the table to assure she wins. I bet the next time the phone rings at 3:00 AM and Libby is on the line asking for money, the sleepy ear on the other end will be wide awake and the mouth will say "No! Go away Libby!"

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