As we’ve noted a time or two in this space, the new leadership as of this past April in the Fourth District MNGOP has taken what appear, to a rank outsider, to be some odd stances on what it takes to lead a major party unit in an election year – at one point saying it wasn’t, in his opinion, the job of the Congressional District to take a role in any elections at the BPOU or Congressional District level.
The chairman, of course, is John Kysylyczyn, former mayor of Roseville. I don’t know Kysylyczyn from Adam, and have no ambitions whatsoever in the party; I chose to serve on the District executive committee previous to Kysylyczyn’s purely as a matter of putting my actions where my mouth was. I have no personal reason to attack him at all.
There is, of course, quite a bit of video of Kysylyczyn’s term as mayor of Roseville; according to the video (which, it’s fair to point out, was clipped from hundreds of hours of City Council meetings by his detractors), the then-mayor seemed to be prone to subjecting his City Council to bladder-busting gales of Roberts’ procedural pedantism. On the other hand, the Twin Cities press – largely but not exclusively the sophomoric howler monkeys at the City Pages – savaged him during his regime, in a manner that even the media sometimes called unfair (which is ironic, given the way he wrapped himself in the “Society of Professional Journalists “Code of Ethics” when I sought clarification from him, like journalists do, on rumors from within his own committee that he was considering spending the district’s money to send pro-Ron-Paul delegates to Tampa rather than support candidates. He used the CD4 official website to take his potshot back at me, in fact – which is an odd use of a district party resource. Of course, the irony springs from the fact that I, being a conservative pundit, bend over backwards to support, or at least be fair to, libertarians and conservatives, while the SPJ COE is nothing but a framework that “journalists” can use to whitewash their own abuses – it’s a whitewash they apply to their biases as needed. Lori Effing Sturdevant waves the SPJ COE around like Ignatius Reilly’s bedspread).
At any rate, as we noted a few weeks ago, Kysylyczyn had a meeting scheduled for the fall – only the third since his election, and the only one before the General Elections. He then cancelled it because it fell on the same night as the Vice Presidential Debate.
A groundswell of district activists overrode him, and met the district’s constitutional requirement to call a new meeting. The meeting is taking place tonight. The main subject – at least, according to the activists involved in demanding the meeting – is the topic of the donation of the other $5,000 to the Hernandez for Congress campaign – which is, let us not forget, the campaign endorsed by 97% of the convention’s delegates, and a solid majority of CD4’s primary voters.
Kysylyczyn posted the meeting on the CD4 website – as well as a “notice” with a whoooole lot of questions and Kysylyczyn’s answers. 85 of them, to be exact – which, with all due respect to Chairman Kyslyczyn, tells you a bit about his communication style.
While I’m not a member of the committee, I’ll endeavor to respond, from the perspective one one activist anyway, to Kysylyczyn’s statements – many of them, anyway – below the jump.
UPDATE: I just looked at the meeting call. Kysylyczyn has pivoted from “We have no need to take people off the streets before an election” to a bladder-bursting, buttock-numbing budget question along with the issue of the donation. A meeting which starts at 9PM will likely be dragging on into the wee hours.
Amazing what a week’s worth of focus will do, isn’t it?
Questions specific to the Hernandez campaign
Question To Kysylyczyn: Has the Hernandez for Congress campaign made a formal request to the CD4 Executive Committee for additional funds beyond the first $5000 he initially recieved?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: No. Neither I nor the CD4 Executive Committee has received a formal request from the Hernandez for Congress campaign for additional funds.
My Counter-Response: Well, I guess we’ll settle that at the big meeting tonight!
Question To Kysylyczyn: Has the Hernandez for Congress campaign provided the CD4 Executive Committee with a strategic plan for the use of additional funds?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: No. Neither I nor the CD4 Executive Committee has received a strategic plan from the Hernandez for Congress campaign for the use of additional funds.
My Counter-Response: At the risk of sounding pedantic, there are less than sixty days til the election. The time for “strategy” is long past. This is a tactical campaign; getting name recognition, getting out the vote, advertising by any means necessary.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Is the Hernandez for Congress campaign required to request funds or have a plan for their use?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: No. No campaign is required to request funds or to have any kind of plan whatsoever. Based upon my professional experience though, common practice that if a campaign would like to receive funds from a well heeled donor, (i.e. CD4, $5000), they ask. It is generally common practice that when you are approaching well heeled donors, you have a plan.
My Counter-Response: CD4 is a “well-heeled donor?” Who knew? No, I’m not just being a smart-ass – we’ll come back to that one.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Has the Hernandez for Congress campaign posted anything on Facebook?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: The campaign does have a Facebook account. But I believe that most CD4 members have nothing to do with Facebook. Therefore if any campaign wishes to communicate with CD4 membership as a whole, they would use general email to reach a majority of the membership. I personally do not spend much time on Facebook. Generally I look at it once or twice a month.
My Counter-Response: This is an odd little diversion. Hernandez has a Facebook page; also a Twitter feed, a Youtube Channel, and a Website that is constantly updated – and via none of which would a request for funding be transmitted to the Congressional District committee that endorsed him. This is either an odd little non-sequitur or a straw man.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Where is the Hernandez for Congress campaign in relation to past CD4 campaigns?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Federal Election Commission reports are public information and are available online. I have created a summary sheet for members which show three current campaigns, CD4, CD5, Senate, along with 1998-2010 CD4 campaigns.
Link to FEC Reports and election statistics.
Based upon pre-primary YTD reports, the Hernandez campaign is at:
- 20% of the Chris Fields for Congress CD5 campaign in 2012
- 21% of the Cravaack for Congress CD8 campaign of 2010
- 32% of the Collett CD4 campaign on 2010
- 40% of the Matthews CD4 campaign of 2008
- 41% of the Sium CD4 campaign of 2006
- 19% of the Bataglia CD4 campaign of 2004
- 68% of the Billington CD4 campaign of 2002
- 1% of the Runbeck CD4 campaign of 2000
- 14% of the Newinski CD4 campaign of 1998.
My Counter-Response: Yep, the Hernandez campaign is having a hard time raising money. What’s the answer to that?
The answer depends on what you think the role of the Congressional District committee is.
We’ll come back to that. Oh, yes we will.
By the way – the numbers, other than Fields’, are misleading; they are end-of campaign amounts. And Runbeck and Newinski ran as part of a Fourth CD that hadn’t been beaten into submission and irrelevance and, as of 2012, navel-gazing indolence.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Is it improper to talk about Federal Election Commission reports?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: No. Any political action committee, caucus committees, candidates, opponents, media, etc. know about and read these reports the moment they are posted online. The only people in politics who do not, either have no use for them or don’t know they are available. People read these reports and use them in their overall analysis to determine the viability of a campaign. The same goes for Minnesota Campaign Finance reports for state legislative candidates. In fact, I have had local lobbyists inform me that they have decided NOT to fund certain GOP candidates based upon what they have read in these reports. If fundraising numbers are low, donors look elsewhere to invest.
My Counter-Response: What an odd thing either to ask about, or to go on in answering.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Has the demographics of CD4 changed significantly from the past due to redistricting?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: No. In terms of GOP vs. DFL split, the territory added to CD4 from Washington County is basically 50/50. The territory added to CD4 was the worst performing for the Bachmann campaign and even included losses. So CD6 became more conservative with the loss of this portion of Washington County to CD4. Also note that while this territory is large geographically, it did not result in a substantial increase in population, or voters. For there to be a significant shift in demographics, this new territory would have had to been extremely conservative in voting history and also a significant increase in number of voters, neither of which happened.
My Counter-Response: This response, on the hand, is pure navel-gazing sophistry. The redistricting was announced in February; Kysylyczyn was elected in April. And while it’s true that many of the new precincts added to CD4 are not bright-red, it’s an improvement. The old CD4 was an ugly place to be a Republican; Saint Paul was 70-30 Democrat, and the Ramsey County suburbs were 55-45 at best. The Washington County suburbs, though, bounce around 50-50. Some are 52-48 Democrat, and can be won with a good candidate and a solid effort. Some are 52-48 GOP, and can be held with good nuts and bolts campaigning. Altogether, they make the 4th CD a more attainable goal.
Not an easy goal, to be sure. But Kysylyczyn should have known that before he ran for chair – right? So if he knew it, and still ran while knowing this, the question is why did he run for chair? Because he had a master plan to flip the district? Or because winning the 4th CD was never his goal?
We’ll come back to this.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Where is the Hernandez for Congress campaign in relation to the Chris Fields for Congress campaign in CD5 (Minneapolis and first ring suburbs)?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: The last Federal Election Commission report was filed the beginning of August 2011. This is called the Pre-Primary YTD report.
The Hernandez for Congress campaign reported $22,381. The Chris Fields for Congress campaign reported $113,887.
My Counter-Response: Fields is running a hell of a campaign.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Do the Hernandez for Congress campaign and Chris Fields for Congress campaigns include political party donations? If so, what are the fundraising numbers without these donations.
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Yes. These reports include political party donations. Excluding political party donations, therefore only including private donations, the numbers are as follows.
The Hernandez for Congress campaign reported $16,881. The Chris Fields for Congress campaign reported $113,887.
My Counter-Response: The keen-eyed will note that the Fields figure hasn’t changed.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Has CD5 donated $10,000 to the Chris Fields for Congress campaign?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: No. Federal Election Commission reports show that to date Fields has received $0 from CD5, $0 from the state party, and $0 from any BPOU.
My Counter-Response: That is literally true. The state’s not giving money to anyone. And – more importantly, as we discussed the other day – CD5 isn’t giving anyone any money, because it’s “leadership”, elected by the same state-wide push that swept Kysylyczyn into office, walked away from their jobs as soon as they accomplished their mission – sending Ron Paul delegates to Tampa.
Not sure if Kysylyczyn knows that, or if he thinks the 4th CD activists need to…
Question To Kysylyczyn: Are you opposed to giving an additional $5000 to the Hernandez for Congress campaign on top of the $5000 that was already donated?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: No. What I am opposed to is the mentality of “cut the check and how dare you ask any questions about it.” I am also opposed to irresponsibly disposing of CD4 funds in a manner that damages the ongoing operation of the organization. It is my role as Chairman to assure that the next leadership team has adequate funds to run the organization instead of irresponsibly handing them an organization that is financially bankrupt.
I believe that all funds should be spent strategically, like I would spend my own personal funds.
My Counter-Response: I’m tempted to call this “whining” – but I’ll be civil and say it’s a strawman. Nobody is telling Kysylyczyn to “cut a check and don’t ask questions”. The activists demanded a meeting that he himself cancelled, to debate the question.
And since Kysylyczyn says money should be spent “strategically” – well, now we’re getting somewhere. What’s the strategy?
We’ll come back to that too.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Will donating $5000 to the congressional candidate strengthen races down the ballot?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Maybe, but the real question is whether the results will be measurable. A well funded congressional campaign is measured in the millions of dollars raised and spent, not thousands of dollars.
For example, $5000 will pay for a mailing to approximately 3%, or 12,500 households in CD4. This won’t even cover a complete mailing to a state Senate or House district. It would require approximately $130,000 to do a mailing to all of CD4. The numbers support a the theory that spreading around $5000 will have no measurable affect on races down the ballot.
My Counter-Response: Right, but mailings are far from the only way to reach the voters.
It is a fact that the Herndandez race is not at the moment well-funded. It is also a fact that the district that Kysylyczyn chairs endorsed him to run. What does Kysylyczyn think the job of the District is?
And yet again, we’ll come back to that.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Will donating $5000 more of CD4 funds to the Hernandez for Congress campaign result in a victory?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Based upon prior CD4 statistics for the past 12 years, spending a low of $52,202 and a high of $844,085 produced a GOP vote percentage ranging from 30% to 35%.
The numbers simply do not support the theory that an additional $5000 to the current $22,381 the Hernandez for Congress campaign has raised will result in a measurable change in results.
Link to FEC Reports and election statistics.
My Counter-Response: True. So what? If helping your endorsed candidate (to say nothing of the subsidiary BPOU campaigns) isn’t the job of the Congressional District, pray tell what is?
Question To Kysylyczyn: Have you publicly questioned the viability of the Hernandez campaign?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: No. I have been accused of this by several people. It has become an urban myth. I suspect it is being raised to deflect from actual issues that are worthy of debate.
I have asked the accusers to point out the specific paragraphs in statements that I have made. The best response I got was someone who lifted a paragraph out of a larger overall statement on an unrelated issue, essentially taking my statement out of context. They actually had to lift a portion of a paragraph out of a statement that I made. They couldn’t even find a complete paragraph to support their position.
I suspect that some will claim that the posting of statistics is questioning the viability of a campaign. If that is the case, that a discussion of campaign statistics is wrong, I have to say that I personally find that very troubling.
My Counter-Response: “Nobody understands me”.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Didn’t Chip Cravaack win with little money?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Yes, but it depends upon what your definition of “little money” is. Cravaack did win with one of the lowest cost campaigns in the 2010 election cycles. Federal Election Commission reports show that he raised $591,963.
My Counter-Response: Stipulated: Cravaack raised more money. He also didn’t have to fight against the district that endorsed him for recognition, much less funding.
You gotta walk before you can run.
Questions about campaign and CD4 strategy
Question To Kysylyczyn: What campaigns in CD4 are on the cusp of turning from DFL to GOP based upon a firm fact based analysis?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Mitch Berg stated the following on a Facebook posting he made a few days ago.
“This district includes a couple of races that could be flips to the GOP – Stacey Stout, Russ Bertsch and April King are all solid contenders.”
“But in the three races I named, the district numbers look good, the campaigns are strong, well-organized and adequately financed, and the opponents are not the DFL juggernaut we face in the city.
Another member said to me that Cunningham should be added to this list also.
My Counter-Response: Good catch. I missed Cunningham in my off-the-cuff Facebook remarks. Also Karin Housley.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Why don’t you have a plan for CD4?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Answer coming soon…
My Counter-Response: In a district full of people who are working hard to reverse six decades of futility, this is the absolute, geometrically wrong answer.
If you don’t know where you want the district to go, why in the flaming hootie-hoo would you run?
To exercise a grudge against former chair Jim Carson? Remembering Kysylyczyn’s performance at the 2012 District Convention, that seems like the easiest answer.
Speaking for a lot of people who are putting a lot of their real lives on the back burner to work for a lot of candidates this season, we deserve better than grudge matches and “I’ll gladly trade you a strategy on Tuesday for a hamburger today”.
Question To Kysylyczyn: How much needs to be set aside for continued operation of CD4?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Answer coming soon…
My Counter-Response: And when that answer comes, it’s going to have to be mighty low. The district has no staff, no rent, few expenses other than campaigns and fundraising.
Speaking of which – I’m also dying to hear Kysylyczyn’s plan for fundraising. I’ve heard nary a thing so far.
Question To Kysylyczyn: What ideas have been presented for spending remaining CD4 funds?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Answer coming soon…
My Counter-Response: The answer we’ve heard so far is “Educating voters”. We’ll come back to that as well.
Questions specific to the expenditure of CD4 funds
Question To Kysylyczyn: Is CD4 still receiving funds from the State Party?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: No. In 2012, CD4 received $0 from the state party.
In 2011, CD4 received $0 from the state party.
In 2010, CD4 received $5,000 from the state party.
In 2009, CD4 received $7,500 from the state party.
In 2008, CD4 received $10,000 from the state party.
In 2007, CD4 received $7,500 from the state party.
In 2006, CD4 received $8,000 from the state party.
In 2005, CD4 received $2,500 from the state party.
My Counter-Response: The state party’s broke. Perhaps you’ve noticed; it’s been in all the papers.
Question To Kysylyczyn: What was CD4’s income the last several years?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: In 2011, $6,487.00
In 2010, $20,812.20
In 2009, $15,365.00
In 2008, $22,692.69
In 2007, $19,660.24
In 2006, $17,531.00
In 2005, $15,018.50
My Counter-Response: And what’s it been so far in 2012?
By the way – the reason for the huge fall-off was the complete lack of “Option 3” money from the state party. Nobody got that money last year, and nobody’s getting it this year. The District raised money on its own, and did the best it could in a difficult situation, and supported its candidates.
Maybe Kysylyczyn doesn’t think the context matters. it does.
Question To Kysylyczyn: What was CD4’s budget the last several years?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: In 2011, $24,500.00
In 2010, $20,200.00
In 2009, $18,200.00
In 2008, $20,100.00
In 2007, $22,200.00
In 2006, $45,000.00
In 2005, $25,200.00
My Counter-Response: The 2011 budget was a projected number that was arrived at before the State party reneged on its Option 3 funding.
Question To Kysylyczyn: In 2011, did CD4 spend more than it brought in?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Yes. Records show that in 2011, income was $6487.00 and expenses were $7724.99
My Counter-Response: Yep. In a terrible year for fundraising, the district spent money to help a special election candidate and three school board races. It was money well spent, by the way; a lot of people who are working their butts off on solid campaigns this cycle cut their teeth on those four races.
Which was what the sitting management of the district – myself included – believed the purpose of the CD was; to provide expertise, talent, data, training and, if possible, a little bit of funding.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Shouldn’t CD4 spend down all of its funds prior to the November election like a political campaign does?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: No. CD4 is not a political campaign. There are stark differences between the two.
A political campaign starts at a certain point in time and ends on election night. Funds raised during the campaign should be spent by election night.
A congressional district like CD4 is much different. It is a non-profit political organization that has functions, responsibilities, and obligations that carry on from year to year and may carry on for several years. Unlike a political campaign, it is fiscally irresponsible to spend down the accounts of an ongoing political organization to the point of insolvency. The state party is an example of what can happen if spending is not kept in check.
My Counter-Response: This is baked monkey doodle.
This is the end of a four-year election cycle. All party units of all parties around the state are spending what they’ve got to try to get their candidates elected and their party forwarded, and leaving themselves enough to restart the process of fundraising, recruitment and maybe campaigning for city and county races next year.
The CD is sort of like a non-profit, it’s true. But a Congressional District that leaves its endorsed candidate wedged under the bus so they can buy office supplies next year is like the NRA saving money for next year when they’re a gun ban in the legislature this year; it’s misplaced priorities at best, a dereliction of their job at worst.
I’m leaning toward dereliction.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Can CD4 give funds to state legislative candidates?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: YES.
My Counter-Response: And in times when there is plenty of money, the district does just that. Also school board, county commission and city council candidates. When the money’s there, it’s all on the table.
After the Congressional Candidate is covered to the legal limit.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Has CD4 given funds to state legislative candidates?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: YES, 66A Chair Tim Johnson informed me that he received funds from CD4 two years ago when he was a candidate for State Senate. State Campaign Finance reports show that CD4 has donated to numerous legislative candidates and has also donated funds directly to BPOUs.
My Counter-Response: True. Back when the District got Option 3 money and had a more fruitful fundraising effort, they were able to throw a lot of money around.
Neither of those is the case this year.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Has CD4 always given $10,000 to their congressional candidate?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Unknown. In looking back through the last 5 Federal Election Commission reports, CD4 has given $10,000 to each candidate. The question cannot be answered yes or no without further research.
Reports show that Sium gave approximately $2500 in leftover funds back to CD4 at the end of his campaign. Matthews gave approximately the same amount leftover in his campaign to two candidates who ran in the next election who were unsuccessful at getting the endorsement.
My Counter-Response: Fascinating and, except for the “for the past ten years, yes” bit, irrelevant.
Question To Kysylyczyn: How much did CD4 used to receive from state party fundraising?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Unknown. Past State Campaign Finance documents show state party quarterly contributions to CD4 for $2500 every three months during some years. I presume that this was the CDs share of fundraising dollars.
My Counter-Response: According to my sources, that’s correct; Option Three money amounted to the high four figures or very low five figures every year. It was a big chunk of the fundraising.
It’s not gonna happen this year, or likely next.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Does CD4 exist solely to support their congressional candidate?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: No. There is nothing in the constitution or bylaws to suggest this. In looking at other CDs, there is no evidence of this either. I have been informed that CD6 donated $10,000 to the Bachmann for Congress campaign.
CD5 has given $0 to their candidate. If we are to follow a policy that CDs exist solely to support their congressional candidates, then isn’t is reasonable to also have the position that BPOUs sole exist to support their legislative candidates?
If this is the case, then why are congressional candidates also hitting up BPOUs for thousands of dollars but apparently legislative candidates have no right to ask CDs for funds?
When you read the constitution and bylaws, it mentions training and also support for BPOUs upon their request as functions for CD4.
For many years CDs have been limited to a maximum contribution of $10,000 per federal candidate. Last time I read an article on this, successful congressional campaigns were running around $3 million and US Senate campaigns were over $10 million.
My Counter-Response: So many responses, so little time:
- The framing of the question is, again, misleading sophistry. Of course supporting the Congressional candidate isn’t the “only” job. It’s one of the most important ones, though. And given that the district – the same one that elected Kysylyczyn – endorsed Hernandez, the campaign is on their list.
- Again with the citing CD5. The Fifth District is non-functional. They’re not giving money to Chris Fields. Either are the Hittites. For the same reason, at the moment.
- Mr Kysylyczyn, you’re not in a district with a $3 million House budget. You’re in the Fourth. It’s time to deal with the hand you dealt yourself when you ran for chair. Or step aside.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Does a $10,000 financial contribution need to be made in order for the CD to fulfill its obligation to support its endorsed congressional candidate?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: If that was the case, then CD5 must not be supporting the Chris Fields for Congress campaign since they have given him $0 according to Federal Election Commission reports.
There actually is no obligation to donate any funds to the congressional candidate or any other candidate. There is nothing in the constitution or bylaws of CD4 that suggests that a mandatory donation of any amount is required or that there is some sort of obligation to donate.
There is an obligation to support all endorsed candidates. That does not mean that a donation of any amount is mandated to be part of that support.
For example, I believe that CD4 could spend $1 million on its congressional candidate as an independent expenditure and give their candidate $0. Clearly that is significant support, but not direct financial support to the candiate.
My Counter-Response: Again with the CD5 reference.
Is Kysylyczyn that badly informed, or is he trying to mislead CD4’s activists?
Question To Kysylyczyn: Has CD4 donated funds to non-congressional candidates?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Yes. CD4 has donated to many legislative candidates and also BPOUs.
Former treasurer Skip Wolverton has stated that CD4 has also funded state senate and house candidates up to the $400 to $500 range.
My Counter-Response: Yep. In 2011, the district donated to the Copeland special election campaign in SD66, and to the three school board candidates (Paulsen, Igo and Huepenbecker).
Question To Kysylyczyn: What is this business about some CD4 funds being in a Federal account and other funds being in a State account?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Some CD4 funds are in a Federal account and generally can only be used for federal purposes. Other funds are in a State account and generally can only be used for state purposes.
Note that the rules do not always seem clear cut. For example, we were advised to use Federal funds for our new email service even though most of the use will be for BPOU and state activities. We were informed that if we used State funds, we would not be able to email on federal candidates. But if we used Federal funds, we could email both for Federal and state candiates.
According to former CD4 treasurer Skip Wolverton, State House and Senate candidates can only accept money from the State Account. US Senate and House candidates can only accept money from the Federal Account.
Skip also said that City Council, County Commissioners, School Board, and all other local elected offices can accept money from EITHER or BOTH the State and or Federal Accounts.
My Counter-Response: So far so good.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Can funds placed into the Federal account be withdrawn and placed in the State account or can a campaign finance amendment be filed to allow the moving of these funds from one account to another?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: I don’t have the answer to this question today, but I am researching this issue.
All I know is that I believe the funds in question were primarily raised by overcharging attendees to the CD4 convention. I do not believe they were raised in a manner where donors were told where their money was being allocated.
My Counter-Response: This is unvarnished bullshit.
The “overcharge” for the convention was agreed upon by the previous sitting CD4 committee, to help make up some of the funding shortfall from the lack of funds from the state party. The charges were arrived at via the process laid down in the district constitution, on the premise that people activists should help out the district via their attendance. The charge was higher than in previous years, but far from exorbitant.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Can CD4 Federal account funds be used in accordance with the law but targeted to legislative districts which could switch from DFL to GOP?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Yes. Absolutely. That is an example of targeted spending.
My Counter-Response: So it seems Kysylyczyn is trying to build a case for shorting Tony Hernandez and either spending money in State districts that could, or might, flip – or maybe not spending it at all.
It’ll be an interesting premise to debate.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Is it unethical to target CD4 Federal account funds towards certain legislative districts?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Laugher…
There is one rule book that every follows. That is the law.
With that being said, I do believe that you should always try to conduct CD4 business in an ethical manner.
The claim one member made that targeted spending is unethical is simply foolish talk. If you do not conduct targeted spending, the campaign will lose.
My Counter-Response: It’s extremely unclear what Kysylyczyn is referrring to, here. What “campagn” will “lose” if what money isn’t targeted?
Now, it’s reading like Kysylyczyn wants to divert CD4 money from Hernandez to “indirect” spending on legislative races – in other words, acting like a PAC and spending money to undercut DFL candidates without actually spending it directly on campaigns.
Now, since Kysylyczyn was demanding a “strategic” plan from Hernandez, and digging out metrics to show why spending money on a Congressional race is a poor investment, presumably Kysylyczyn has got some airtight history for the success of minuscule amounts of “Independent Expenditure” spending in legislative races?
Question To Kysylyczyn: Can CD4 Federal account funds be given directly to a state legislative candidate?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: No. Funds cannot be directly donated.
My Counter-Response: The longer you read this mass of gray, the more it looks like Kysylyczyn wants to spend the money on an Independent Expenditure.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Can CD4 move funds from the Federal account to the State account?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Good question. I don’t have an answer for this at the present time.
My Counter-Response: I’m going to omit quite a few upcoming questions that cycle back over redundant points of party accounting.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Where did the CD4 funds come from that are currently in the accounts?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: I believe that most all of it comes from overcharging delegates and alternates registration fees at conventions. For example, charge people $25 each when actual cost is $10 each. Charge $10 for a box lunch that only costs you $7.
My Counter-Response: Again – unvarnished baked wind.
The CD4 Full Committee voted for these prices, in large part to raise money for the CD in a very tough year. That’s one of the things delegates and activists sign up for – help the party financially.
Not sure if Kysylyczyn really believes all previous district committees were illegitimate or not. If he does, perhaps he should say so.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Is CD4 receiving the same level of funds that it has received in the past?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: No. The $50 political contribution refund program was eliminated. Then the state party stopped sharing fundraising revenue.
My Counter-Response: And for the life of me, I’ve seen nothing from Kysylyczyn so far to show even the faintest intent to replace any of that money with organic local fundraising.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Can CD4 funds only go to congressional candidate?
My Counter-Response: I’m starting to get the idea why this page is so murtha-farging long.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Aren’t BPOUs solely responsible for funding state legislative candidates?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: No. Past CD4 Federal Election Commission reports show that CD4 used to give donations to state legislative candidates.
My Counter-Response: I thought this was established about 20 feet earlier?
Question To Kysylyczyn: Isn’t there a policy where the CD supports its congressional candidate and BPOUs support their legislative candidates and no one takes money from the other group?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Laughter.
That is a policy that one member made up. There is nothing in the constitution or bylaws that supports this. I doubt you could make a policy like this because the CDs have no authority over BPOUs and no one BPOU has authority over the CD.
My Counter-Response: It might not be in the constitution – but it’s not a huge reach to assume the FOURTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT might support a candidate endorsed by THE FOURTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT.
I know. I just used caps. This is getting frustrating.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Are BPOUs taking money away from state legislative races in order to support the Hernandez for Congress campaign?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Yes. Federal campaign finance reports show that BPOUs have donated funds to the Hernandez for Congress campaign.
While I haven’t done exhaustive research, common sense tells me that there is no way most BPOUs have donated $5000 to each of their House and Senate candidates, which I believe is the current maximum. If by remote chance one or two of our wealthy BPOUs have, they also have the ability to spend additional funds on independent expenditures.
My Counter-Response: It’s not uncommon for a BPOU that can afford it to pony up a few bucks for the Congressional race. In CD4 it’s usually a fairly token amount – more a show of solidarity than a significant donation. It’s never enough to be a drag on a BPOU’s candidate – presuming (this being the 4th CD – that the BPOU has a candidate.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Has the CD4 Federal account been used to provide a donation to a US Senate campaign?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Yes. I recall seeing an entry that CD4 made a donation to Norm Coleman for US Senate.
I have to verify this.
My Counter-Response: And if you dig through enough party records, you’ll find all kinds of these small – borderline token – “Show of Solidarity” donations from one level of the party to another.
So what – Kysylyczyn wants to donate CD4 money to Bills? Perhaps he should demand a strategic plan and go over Bills’ numbers first…
By the way – my butt is going numb from writing this.
Question To Kysylyczyn: What is your plan for spending CD4 money before the election without a Full Committee meeting?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: This is sort of a loaded question. I had no plan on how to bypass the full committee. I propose spending funds in accordance with the constitution and the bylaws. I communicate with the top leadership on the executive committee to make sure there is a consensus as to the rules that need to be followed. Some expenditures can be made by the executive committee. Others need to be made by the full committee. We just follow the process. If members don’t like the process, then changes should be proposed for adoption at the next convention.
My Counter-Response: Nothing loaded about the question; it’s perfectly legitimate. Kysylyczyn cancelled the last meeting before the last election of the four year election cycle at which funds could be voted on for the election. The district’s activists would have none of it.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Is it your belief that a Full Committee meeting isn’t required to spend CD4 funds?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Yes and No.
It all depends upon the expenditure that is being proposed. We have made expenditures by both executive committee and full committee vote. The constitution and bylaws lay out the process.
My Counter-Response: Criminy. You know what kind of expenditure we’re talking about.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Is it your belief that a Full Committee meeting isn’t required to donate CD4 funds to a specific candidate?
Question To Kysylyczyn: Has the current Full Committee passed a budget?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: No. We have a budget that was passed in January by the members, most of whom are no longer serving the CD. The current full committee or executive committee has not passed their own budget. By the time things were finally organized after redistricting, we are now looking at setting a budget for 2013.
My Counter-Response: By the time things were organized after redistrciting, it was the middle of the summer.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Is it irresponsible to have a major spend down of funds?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Yes. CD4 is an ongoing political organization, not a political campaign. Funds need to be set aside for the continual operation of the organization, along with so called rainy day funds for unforeseen circumstances.
My Counter-Response: That’s one approach to it. It’s certainly worthy of debate. And in that debate, my response would (for what, the sixth time in this article) “this is an ongoing political organization whose reason to exist is to endorse and support and hopefully send to DC a Congressional candidate, and then support BPOUs in their efforts. But if you fail at that top priority, then you just plain fail”.
“And what kind of “unforeseen circumstances” do you save for? Elections are utterly predictable! They’re in the federal and State Constitutions! And so while yes, some savings is prudent, it’s the job of the CD to raise money, not stash it”
Question To Kysylyczyn: CD4 had $4,500 in the State Account at the end of 2011. How did the State Account get drained down to $900?
CD4 had $250 in the Federal Account at the end of 2011. How did the Federal Account suddenly grow to $10,000 in the beginning of 2012?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Someone in the last CD4 leadership, not the current leadership, decided to spend all the State Account funds to pay for the convention. Then they took the revenue made at the convention and deposited it into the Federal Account.
There was a massive transfer of funds that was made that seems to have skirted the rules that prohibit transfers between funds. They paid for the event with one fund, but took the registration fees and put it in the other fund. Legal? Maybe. Unethical?
So far I have no information as to who approved this. Quite possibly the decision might not have been legally made. For example, registration funds paid at the door for the convention could have only been deposited by the current CD4 leadership. We approved of no deposit into either fund.
What this essentially did was eliminate most of the $4,500 in the State Account that could have gone to legislative candidates and instead essentially transferred those funds into the Federal Account so it could only benefit our federal candidate.
My Counter-Response: And now Kysylyczyn’s making things up. I asked former CD4 chair Jim Carson about this statement.
His response: “This was discussed in the meetings in March and/or April. Nevertheless, I made that call myself. Why? The FIRST responsibility of the Fourth Congressional District Party is to their endorsed candidate. Furthermore, there is nothing either illegal nor unethical in what I did. Deposits are not approved by leadership, they are done by the Treasurer.”
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Questions specific to the calling of a meeting
Question To Kysylyczyn: What is Chairman Kysylyczyn’s philosophy on meetings?
As posted on Facebook…
In my 20+ years of running meetings, my philosophy on meetings has never wavered.
We are 10 weeks from an election. Regardless of the issue, at this point in time I will only call a meeting that will provide a measurable benefit that will directly result in a win. I have given this much though and am confident in my decision.
A CD4 meeting at this time will only harm candidates. It will take volunteers of numerous campaigns off the street, away from phone calling and other campaign activities. Instead, these volunteers will be spending time arguing with each other, giving speeches to the choir, or bragging about the doors they have knocked on.
There is not one iota of evidence to suggest that there is any vote that could be called that would result in a victory this November. No one else has provided me with any proof that refutes this. The benefits of a meeting must outweigh any detriments.
I was elected as chair not just by the members of a Facebook forum, BPOU leadership, or just by those who shout loudest or attack most often. I was elected by the delegates of CD4. I believe that my resume and my speech at the convention made it clear that I strive to run organizations in a professional manner based upon sound principals.
The feedback I have received from the general membership has been overwhelmingly positive. Please recognize that most of the general membership does not participate in this Facebook forum.
I respect members that disagree with my philosophy. I would ask that in return, those who disagree not try to force their philosophy onto me or disrespect the organization or leadership by resorting to name calling, threats, and other behavior of the sort.
If some members wish to call a meeting, they are more than welcome to do so. They are welcome to set the date, meeting time, publish an agenda, etc. but please do so in a respectful manner.
\My Counter-Response: What a load of pant-drippings.
- It’s entirely possible to call a meeting at a time that doens’t “harm candidates”. That’s why the meeting tonight is at 9PM. QED.
- You only call a meeting if there’s a reasonable chance it’ll result in a win? This is the Fourth CD. The job is as much to make the district relevant as it is to win.’
- In saying this, Kysylyczyn is either trumpeting his ignorance about the district he chairs, or showing a major gap in a “philosophy” that’s a whole lot more important to the Fourth CD than his “philosophy on meetings.
- If it’s really Kysylyczyn’s “philosophy” that the CD should only support candidates that are nearly certain of victory, then perhaps he should say so loudly and clearly. Some CD4 voters might call the philosophy “dereliction”, not to mention “delusional”.
- No, that’s not name-calling, that’s an observation.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Why did Chairman Kysylyczyn make Full Committee members request the meeting?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Simply put, my standards for calling a meeting were not met, therefore I left it to the the members of the Full Committee to call a meeting in accordance with the CD4 Constitution and By-laws. My specific reasons are noted below. I posted the following below on Facebook:
In posting my philosophy on meetings (not on campaigns) I previously stated that there is not one iota of evidence to suggest that there is any vote that could be called by CD4 that would result in a victory this November. No one else has provided me with any proof that refutes this.
The benefits of a meeting must outweigh any detriments. I stand by that position 100%.
I have meeting standards because I do not believe it is productive to call meetings and just hope that someone, anyone, will have a plan, be able to answer questions, etc. With an 80 member group, that is a recipe for disaster and it also violates the rights of delegates.
When a few members demanded that I call a meeting Wednesday afternoon, there was no information provided to me that supported the calling of a meeting.
Why, because it was an empty request. There was no information provided that could lead me to any other answer.
Here are the facts I had in hand.
Someone has a proposal on the table to drop $5k on a campaign. What member is sponsoring this plan? No one knows. No one member has stepped forward to take ownership of it. It is like a bill at the legislature that has no authors named and willing to stand for questions, but expects a hearing and final passage.
There is no write up stating how this proposal will meet the organization’s strategic plan or vision.
There is no write up as to how this proposal will benefit the CD and how it will affect the other endorsed candidates that we are obligated to also support per the constitution.
There is no write up as to how this proposal fits within the overall goals of the organization as outlined in the constitution and bylaws.
There is no write up as to the process that legally must be followed to execute the proposal.
There is no write up to indicate the financial affect this proposal will have on the CD.
The candidate has not requested the funds.
The candidate has provided no information to inform delegates as to how the funds will be used.
The proposers have provided no information to inform delegates as to how the funds will be used.
Next to nothing has been done by the proponents of this proposal, nothing has been provided to the delegates, yet they demand that a meeting be called immediately.
Delegates have rights. As chair, I have an obligation to stand up for them.
Delegates have a right to know the answers to all the questions stated above.
Delegates have a right to know information on the proposal well in advance of a meeting?
Delegates have a right to ask questions and receive answers from the proponents of a proposal well in advance of a meeting.
Delegates have the right to offer amendments and circulate them to other delegates well in advance of a meeting.
Delegates have a right to know in advance, the names of the proponents who they can ask questions of at the meeting.
I will not call meetings solely based upon a mob mentality that essentially is telling delegates that all you need to know is to show up and vote to “cut the frigging check” (a quote from a delegate).
Let me be clear, if members wish to make a proposal and do not feel like they have to or that it is their responsibility to do the work in advance that I described above, which assures that all delegates can make an informed decision, and that we will have a high-performance productive meeting, then you will have to call your own meeting because I will have no part in any haphazard kind of process.
My Counter-Response: If strawmen could each donate $10, that last wiggling mass of gray would make CD4 the wealthiest district in the nation.
- The “standards for a meeting” were apparently met just fine, until the meeting turned out to coincide with the Veep debate. That was in Kysylyczyn’s own words.
- No CD4 Congressional candidate in anyone’s memory has had to write a detailed plan to the CD for spending the money. While Kysylyczyn is right that it’s not a precedent that binds the district, it’s also something that he’s thrown in Tony Hernandez’ path more or less at the last electoral moment.
- As I’ve noted before, the fact that the district endorsed Hernandez, and Hernandez has been working for the past five months, working full-time, quitting his day job to devote more time to carrying out the mandate conferred by the district’s endorsement, should be the main reason the district ponies up for the campaign. Hernandez asked for the district’s endorsement; what should be expected as far as money goes?
- As far as all the monkeydoodle about communications with delegates? If you’ve got a question for Tony Hernandez, you can ask at his Facebook page, on his Twitter feed, his website, or just give him a call.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Did Chairman fail to do his duty by not calling the meeting himself?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: No. The CD4 Constitution provides for two ways for a meeting to be called.
Meetings may be called by the Chair or by 10% of the membersrepresenting 25% of the BPOUs. The Chair has no duty to call any meetings. CD4 Constitution and Bylaws require a minimum number of meetings. I don’t know the number from memory but it is about 4-6 meetings a year.
My Counter-Response: Another blazing strawman. The mission of the district is to push the GOP. The GOP is pushed through elections. The most important election of the four year cycle is coming up in under two months. If there is business to be done, you have the meetings you need to do it.
If you don’t believe “helping the district’s endorsed candidate” is the business that needs to be done, say so and stand by for the consequences.
It really is that simple.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Was the CD4 Secretary stuck in the middle of this situation?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: No. The CD4 Secretary is responsible for actions such as taking meeting minutes and calculating votes. He is also has other communication responsibilities due to his position. He also has a vote on the Executive Committee so he is allowed to express his opinion on matters before the CD.
My Counter-Response: Again, this is a ripe cow-pasture of a statement.
When members of the district committee began objecting to Kysylyczyn’s dereliction, Secretary Dan Overlander – who is, by the way, one of the many Ron Paul faction members in the Fourth who’ve done a stellar job this year – was the one who had to field the demands for the meeting, and turn those demands (per the Constitution) around and present them to Kysylyczyn to call the meeting. I will assume that the response was something like “notice” to which I’m responding.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Why did all CD4 members get an email about calling the meeting when only a portion of them had the authority to call a meeting per the CD4 Constitution?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: CD4 does not have a good email system. Frankly, it is a disaster. The current leadership inherited it. We are working on a new system that will last for many years. Funding was approved at the last Full Committee meeting. Doing a project right takes time and this new email system will take months to implement.
The Secretary accidently sent out the meeting notice to all members instead of just the Full Committee members. An honest mistake.
It is surprising that more mistakes are not made under the circumstances.
My Counter-Response: Jim Carson again: “CD4 has long had a serviceable email system. Re-districting created some problems, but would have been easily solved with a little bit of work. For example, I had a complete Full Committee list that I was planning to use to call our next meeting already done. I transferred that information to the new leadership. They chose to ignore it.”
Question To Kysylyczyn: Why don’t we have meetings every month?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: We do not have enough business to conduct serious meetings every month.
My Counter-Response: Elections at every level from County Commission up through Congress isn’t “enough business”?
To say nothing of figuring out how to raise money for the next go around?
Sorry, Chairman Kysylyczyn – from where I sit, that’s plenty of business.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Are we required to have a meeting before the November election?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: No.
My Counter-Response: Well, that settles that, then!
Question To Kysylyczyn: If you will not call a meeting, isn’t that being obstructive?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: No. Per the Constitution and Bylaws, the chair is not required to call meetings.
I do not believe that most would think it is a burden to have 10% of the membership representing 25% of the BPOUs to call a meeting. That is only 7 people. That is fewer members than what we have on our Executive Committee. If it is not a burden, then it certainly is not obstructive.
My Counter-Response: And that’s just plain evasive.
- For what else other than getting people elected does this party unit exist?
- If the membership needs to drag the chair kicking and screaming and writing 86 theses to do the job the district is supposed to do, then why have a chair? We could just pass the baton. Or let Dan Overlander do it.
- If Kysylyczyn has an alternative view of what the district should be doing with its time, he shoiuld by all means run on it.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Will monthly CD4 meetings directly translate into election victories?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: No. If meetings directly translated into election victories, the GOP and DFL would be holding meetings on a daily basis for every party unit across the entire state. Whoever holds the most meetings apparently would win?
My Counter-Response: This is becoming abusive.
Monthly meetings don’t translate into victories.
Having a functional CD doesn’t, either.
Having a functional CD that supports candidates? Not necessarily.
Having a functional CD that supports candidates and serves as a permanent storehouse for data, training, best practicies, knowledge, fund-raising skills and lists, and volunteer brawn? Not by itself. But you’re starting to get there.
Having a CD that does all of that and has a general idea of how it wants to get from 70-30 to 51-49? Now we’re getting warm.
If Kysylyczyn has any of these in mind, we’ve heard none of it in five months.
Question To Kysylyczyn: What is the role of CD4?
Most of the responses I have received when I ask this question are violations of the constitution or bylaws.
[much of answer deleted]
I can find nothing that says that we run campaigns or tell candidates what to do. There is nothing that says we are to just blindly “cut a frigging check.” I see nothing that says that one priority should result in the elimination or serious degradation of other responsibilities. I see nothing that says we are prohibited from strategically deciding upon our own as to how to spend CD resources.
Frankly, in my opinion, and I am not pointing any fingers, the organization has failed on the issues of processing party platform resolutions, training, CD communications, research, leadership training, convention operations, website and keeping pace with technology advancements.
One member informed me that they could care less about any of these items. They told me that the CD solely exists to “cut the frigging check”. I appreciate the opinion, but that is not what the constitution and bylaws indicate. There is an obligation to provide support for all the goals, not just some of them. I told this member that at the next convention they should call for an amendment to match their vision. They may have majority support.
My Counter-Response: This is incredible. Kysylyczyn has evaded a question he asked himself!
What does Kysylyczyn think the role is?
I don’t think anyone knows. I sincerely doubt the chairman does.
Question To Kysylyczyn: If you are not willing to do everything to support your CD candidate, then should you be an officer?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Answer coming soon…
My Counter-Response: There certainly is.
This spring at the very latest.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Should CD4 officers get credit for election victories?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: No.
Candidates should get credit for election victories. Why would anyone think that CD officers should get credit for this? It doesn’t make sense.
My Counter-Response: I’m sorry. Dog Gone from Penigma is no longer the most acheingly verbose writer I’ve ever read. My apologies.
Question To Kysylyczyn: Do a lot of the personal attacks have little to do with the issue of donating money to candiates?
Kysylyczyn’s Response: Yes. There are still several people in the organization who are bitter over the election results from this spring. Like we have seen with national political campaigns, the next campaign begins the day after your candidate for office loses the November election. It is a never ending election cycle. What you are seeing now is politicking for the CD4 leadership elections in the spring of 2013.
When those challenging cannot win on the merit of issues, they attempt to create chaos in the organization and they use that chaos as a platform to run for election. That is a lot of what we are seeing here today and this will continue until the 2013 election and beyond.
My Counter-Response: I’m actually just a little bit astounded that the Chairman – who, later on in the piece, trumpets his own skills and accomplishments as a politician – would be so groaningly unsophisticated as to put this statement in a post to the CD4 full committee.
There are certainly people getting their campaigns in line for 2013. That goes without saying. Indeed, the indolence of the Kysylyczyn administration has most likely spawned a slew of new contenders.
But for many to most of us, people with no interest in party office but much passion to change things in the Fourth CD – and I’m one of them – it’s more a matter of “wanting to see this CD Committee be a help rather than a hindrance to moving the needle today, and winning elections tomorrow”.
Speaking as someone with none – zero – ambition to sit in that chair? Kysylyczyn has done nothing toward that objective.
That’s not a personal attack. That’s a job review from a constituent.