Longtime operative raises concerns about Hemingway candidacy in open letter
As the New Hampshire Republican Party’s Executive Committee is set to meet tomorrow to elect a new Chairman, veteran GOP activist and operative Chris Wood is weighing in to highlight what he believes to be problematic aspects of Chair candidate Andrew Hemingway’s background.
Wood, who recently ran Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential primary campaign, sent an ‘open letter’ to the Party’s voting members, a copy of which has been obtained by NH Journal. In the letter, he praises Hemingway’s opponent Jennifer Horn, denounces negative attacks launched against her, and calls into question Hemingway’s stated social media prowess and the effectiveness of his now-defunct 4RG PAC.
Read the full letter below:
Dear Executive Committee,
This is an open letter to the Executive Committee of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee.
I’ve been involved in New Hampshire politics and the New Hampshire Republican Party since 1988. During the 2009-2010 election cycle, I had the privilege of serving as Secretary of the Republican State Committee under Chairman John H. Sununu.
Over the past 25 years, I’ve been privileged to work with 11 State Chairmen, numerous Executive Directors, and hundreds of Republican activists from all over New Hampshire helping to elect candidates and spreading the Republican message of smaller government and personal liberty.
I am writing you today because I have never been more concerned about the future of the Republican Party in New Hampshire.
On January 26th, you will be deciding who will lead our party for the next two years. Typically I do not get overly excited one way or the other over this particular decision given how many different Chairman I’ve seen come and go, BUT THIS YEAR IS DIFFERENT. I have never seen the kind of venomous, underhanded attacks in a state chair race that we have seen so far. Unlike those who have resorted to anonymous attacks, I am reaching out to you to share my concerns openly and honestly.
We have a clear choice between two very different candidates and two very different directions. With Jennifer Horn we have someone who has been engaged for a number of years as a grassroots activist, congressional candidate, she’s managed a non-profit c4 (We the People), been a radio host, newspaper columnist, and has worked effectively with the many (often diverging) voices within our party.
The other candidate, Andrew Hemingway, is a relative newcomer who represents himself to be a social media expert. He’s both young and enthusiastic, and is promising to modernize our party by introducing “new technology” and utilize free or low cost resources to reach new voters. However, during the last 3 years Hemingway has spent much time attacking other Republicans instead of growing our party and drawing distinctions with democrats.
While I agree that technology is an issue our party needs to address, our problem is much broader than that.
New technology alone will not bring us the success we need, nor should it be the sole focus for our Party Chairman. The party should hire someone with the skillset to broaden our social media outreach.
Furthermore, Andrew Hemingway hasn’t actually demonstrated a clear ability to be successful implementing or delivering on such promises. Let’s look beyond the rhetoric and look at the record.
Hemingway was both the Chair and the Treasurer for 4RG (For a Republican Governor) PAC this past cycle. I can not point to a single thing that 4RG did to help Ovide Lamontagne. Where were the constant stream of attacks on Maggie Hassan that he promised? What defense was offered of Ovide Lamontagne when he came under constant assault?
A quick look at what 4RG did with technology and social media to reach new voters, since that is supposedly Andrew’s strength, reveals that the 4RG facebook page had only 425 members (hardly impressive); and a look at 4RG’s twitter account shows it had only 78 followers (far from the revolutionary promises we keep hearing about).
Technological promises aside, I am greatly concerned about having a chair who will keep us out of compliance issues. Raising the funds necessary to compete is only one side of a very complicated coin, we need to make sure we are meticulous in our tracking and reporting of those precious dollars our supporters send our way. We need a chairman who will make sure that the state party will not run afoul of the strict state and federal reporting requirements.
Here again, I question whether Andrew Hemingway is ready for the top job within our party.
Looking back on the 4RG reports that are publicly posted on the Secretary of State’s website, there are a number of things that our membership should be concerned about (Remember, Hemingway was the founder, Chairman, and Treasurer for this PAC):
- 4RG only filed 2 of the 7 required reports in a timely manner (June and August)
- Reports for September 5, September 19, October 17, October 31, and November 14 were not filed until January 15, 2013 (only after the Union Leader inquired about the missing reports).
- The August Report, while submitted on time, seems to have a discrepancy with the amount of expenditures reported and those listed within the report.
- The cover sheet discloses $9,307.35 in expenditures.
- The disclosed expenditures only add up to $5,368.24.
- This leaves $3,939.11 unaccounted for in that one report.
- This is a problem, not just for the one report but for all the following reports that were submitted in January because the number each subsequent report begins with is no longer accurate, throwing the math off for each of the following reports. Each will need to be amended and re-filed as a result.
- As a result of this “snowball effect” the ending cash on hand number for the November 14th report now shows a discrepancy of $5,837.56 which is not accounted for these reports.
- A simple reconciliation of one’s own bank statements should be enough for a chairman or treasurer of a PAC to realize their own numbers are not accurate.
- How does Hemingway account for this error / omission?
- What reasonable assurances can he give us that the same won’t happen as party chair?
- If he couldn’t accurately account for funds in a PAC that only raised $20,000, how can he be trusted to handle the finances of a party that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars?
- What experience does Hemingway have filing Federal Reports that are far more complicated and punishments for non-compliance much more costly?
- Questions have arisen about one contribution to 4RG in particular. It was a contribution received in rather odd amount of $15,644.00.
- It would seem odd that someone would write a check in that amount, should the AG investigate the number of issues involving this PAC, a canceled check for that amount would need to be produced.
· What was this check for?
· Why the odd amount?
- Would this have anything to do with the Politico article that had been written in October (the same timeframe in which this check is being reported)?
- In October of 2012, Politico reported on PAC’s that were using Alan West’s name to raise funds but never sending the contributions to the West Campaign.
Here is an excerpt from that article:
When it was noted that his group had just that week sent an email out soliciting funds for West, Hemingway chuckled and said: “Uh, yeah, I mean, so, so yes,” before saying that he had only done so as part of an arrangement to give the funds to another conservative third-party group named Western Representation PAC.
“They have an Allen West defense fund and stuff like that,” explained Hemingway, mentioning his relationship with the group’s strategist, Dustin Stockton.
But Stockton said there was no such agreement.
“We don’t have a deal,” Stockton said, adding that 4RG’s willingness to send their proceeds his way “sounds very generous of Andrew.”
In December, Hemingway told the Union Leader that this was simply a “list rental agreement” with the Alan West folks. If this is true, why does no such contribution exist on the reports he recently filed?
How much did he get for the list rental and why isn’t it reported?
Let me be clear, I am not insinuating that there is any malice or mischief intended, these could simply be mathematical errors and honest omissions, but mistakes that our party can ill afford to make. I assure you, if I can do the math, so can Ray Buckley and he will embarrass us with such errors.
I know we have good and passionate people supporting each candidate, I send this email with my questions to you openly and without reservation. I will not hide behind a false email address or lob bombs from behind an internet firewall.
I am concerned about the direction of our party and had hoped that someone else would raise these very serious concerns that need to be addressed and answered before we elect our next chair.
[Note: Some formatting, including bullets, from Wood's email have been removed to comply with formatting conventions of this website, but all text is reproduced verbatim.]