Yesterday we discussed the primary reason Kasich and his pals worked so hard to oust Kevin DeWine as Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party…

Money.

Controlling the party means controlling the distribution of party money; money from big donors that can be funneled back to individual candidates (or to friends in the form of contracts, as we’ll discuss soon). It’s a backdoor way of circumventing campaign finance limits and controlling it is a big deal.

Once a donor hits the legal limit for how much he or she can contribute to a candidate, they can start giving to the party, which in turn, often conveniently “contributes” money in similar amounts to the candidate.

Yesterday dirtgirl reasoned: “now that Bennett and Borges are at the helm, we’ll see the amount the state party is contributing to the Governor’s campaign growing significantly”.

I have to agree.

Last cycle we saw Kasich’s biggest donors eschewing the state party for national groups like the Republican Governor’s Association, which ran millions of dollars in ads to help Kasich after some of Kasich’s biggest donors filled their coffers. News Corp. Chairman/CEO Rupert Murdoch, for example, gave the RGA a million bucks, which is a far cry from the $10K limits currently placed on Kasich’s own campaign.

So now that Kasich has wrested control of the party from DeWine, can we expect those donors to send that money back through the state party? If Kasich and his hand-picked party people have any say, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. And that money will likely be funneled directly (and not-so-directly) back to Kasich and his friends.

Funny story: This type of shady campaign finance law circumvention is almost exactly what new ORP executive director Matt Borges got in trouble for back in 2004 when he pleaded guilty to “improper use of public office” for helping to direct big-money donations to his boss Joe Deters “through the county party’s operating fund – a secret account that can accept unlimited, undisclosed donations”.

In the past we’ve mocked Kasich and the ORP for poorly vetting the people they hired. But with Borges, it seems very possible that found exactly the guy they were looking for.

 

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