Monday, June 9, 2008

Curt New RPV Finance Chair?

SWAC Girl is reporting that Walter Curt will be the next finance chair for RPV. I am not sure whether he will be an asset in this new post but I thought I would relay my personal knowledge of Mr. Curt's dealings within the party.

First of all Mr. Curt is extremely wealthy and is not shy about pumping a lot of money into political campaigns and conservative causes. It would not be impossible for him to assemble a small number of others like him and basically underwrite all of RPV's budget.

I got a phone call from Mr. Curt in March of 2003 soon after I announced I would be seeking the republican nomination for state senate in the 22nd district. I did not know who he was before he called. I later found out he was the major financier of Mark Obenshain's opponent in his nomination battle that year. Mr. Curt went on to offer to contribute $10,000 to my campaign. At the time this was a significant amount of money. It was very difficult to raise money although by budget was only $50,000. I eventually had to loan my campaign $20,000. If I had lost this would have been impossible to pay off so a contribution of this size was very tempting.

The problem was that Mr. Curt made it very clear that he wanted me to promise to vote a certain way on a potential measure that I might face once elected. I told him that I don't offer my votes for sale. After the call I did some checking and it was typical for Mr. Curt to make a large contribution but then demand it back later if a particular vote wasn't to his liking.

The irony of all this is one of the biggest attacks I received in my 2007 primary race was based on campaign contributions. My opponent alleged that because I got money from 2 or 3 certain sources that I was obligated to vote a certain way. One of those he attacked me on--the Senate Leadership Trust, which included Senator Chichester--eventually gave twice as much to him for the general election. He also attacked me for taking $6,000 in 2003 from the much maligned Sen. Chichester. Although this was used to defeat my Democrat opponent, Sen. Chichester never asked for any quid pro quo with the contribution. I voted against a number of Sen. Chichester's tax bills particularly the largest one in 2004.

Conclusion---I'm not sure. It does appear that the reason some attack others alleging a quid pro quo with contributions do so because that is how they see them. Just something to consider the next time someone says "well he got $xx from so and so thus it must be bad". Dig a little deeper and decide for yourself.


yoder said...

Do you think this could be a good move or trouble down the road?

Brandon Bell said...

In any business if your client base is reduced to a small number of "big guns" you become very dependent on them. If something happens to just one of these big providers it can have serious consequences on your results.

The best answer to this is to broaden your base of contributors therefore reducing your overall risk in the future. I guess the verdict is out what approach Mr. Curt will take. Only time will tell.