Nov 11 2008

120k Well Spent?

Posted by Steve Ross in Uncategorized
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If you’re a political party that is already experiencing challenges communicating to your constituents, what’s the first thing you do? Let you Communications Director go of course.

Kleinheider says he has an explanation for the personnel move, but I don’t think it passes the smell test, and I’m not sure that Munday was part of the 50 state strategy thing anyway. Don’t all party organizations need some kind of media and outreach liaison? One would think so.

Anyway, in the absence of any transparency, or even an explanation of any sort, it gets people to wondering, which is what I do more often than not. So with the help of Al Gore’s internet, I did a little digging into the federal disclosures of the TNDP at the FEC.

I’m no Campaign finance expert, but the disbursement portion of the federal filings is telling. Since the beginning of the year, Chairman Sasser, and several other staffers have received compensation from the TNDP. No surprise there, though Wade Munday does not appear on the federal disclosures as an employee, which is interesting to me.

Another thing that’s interesting is the amount of money disclosed. Sasser receives $3646.67 twice a month. Simple math tells you that this adds up to $87k/year, but that’s the income he actually sees. Further in the disclosures we find that individual payments to the US Treasury for payroll taxes go out at the same time. That would make his gross around $10k/month, for around $120k/year.

Now, I believe that people serving as the chairman for a medium sized state party should be compensated. And even the compensation amount isn’t completely outlandish, if there was some real progress to show for it, but right now, I’m not seeing it. So the question has to be asked…how can the TNDP afford to pay Sasser this amount, but not be able to keep a communications director on staff? It defies logic.

Even if Munday is a DNC staffer, wouldn’t it make sense to put him on the state party payroll, to at least aid in the transition, and provide us little folk out here wondering what the hell is going on with some information?

Again, I ask annoying questions, it’s what I do. Deal with it.

I’m not sure who all the potential candidates for TNDP chair are, but I suggest they campaign as if they were running for public office, instead of a secretive and dysfunctional organization. Spend some time out in the state. Come talk to Democratic organizations, do something other than just lobby TNDP Execom members. Regular Democrats like me want answers and solutions. We want to know how a future chair will handle the party and what role we will play in the party. In short, we want to know if we will be treated as potential partners, or if we’ll be treated with scorn, the unwashed masses to be ignored.

Mostly, we want to be inspired. We want to know that someone out there is doing something and interested in involving us in the process. We want to help build something great here in Tennessee.

Doing what we’re doing now isn’t working. It’s time to flip the script and turn the TNDP into the grassroots organization that it should have been to begin with.