December 02, 2004
College Republicans seek to end direct-mail contract

Here's an update to the College Republicans story I've noted recently (see here and here). Looks like CRNC President Eric Hoplin is coming under pressure to get his organization out of the ridiculous contract they've signed with Response Dynamics (RDI), the firm that handled their direct mail. He's still being weaselly about it, though.

Before those critics could offer a resolution condemning the fund-raising practices and calling for immediate termination of the contract, however, Eric Hoplin, chairman of the CRNC, pushed through a verbal resolution that he said would have the group out of their contract by April.

The RDI contract will be "terminated," Hoplin said at the board meeting as he hammered the gavel after passing the measure, according to several state chairmen who attended the New Orleans meeting.

Exactly when the contract will be ended is unclear. The resolution was not written down, and a spokeswoman for the College Republican group offered no details.

"We are now working with our legal counsel on our contract with RDI," said Alison Aikele, communications director for the group.

Some state chapter chairmen remain concerned about their relationship to RDI.

"I don't care if the CRNC gets sued for breach of contract, this is about right and wrong," said Dan Centinello, chairman of the New York College Republicans, who was among those pushing for an immediate end to the RDI contract. "To prolong this is just wrong."


College Republicans became one of the country's best-funded independent "527" committees this election year. The group raised more than $6.3 million before the election and nearly $15 million since 2001, according to the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group.

However, nearly 90 percent of the money raised went directly into the fund-raising operation, according to filings with the IRS. Most of that was paid to RDI and four affiliated firms. The College Republican organization's financial records indicate more expenses than revenue over the past three years, and Centinello said he was concerned that the CRNC might have been locked into a shoddy contract.

Boy, those shadowy 527s are something, aren't they? There's no question in my mind that this contract is "shoddy", to say the least. The question is who was responsible for it, and was that person merely incompetent or something more sinister. For their sake, I hope they figure it out. In the meantime, kudos to Dan Centinello and his peers for pressuring Eric Hoplin to do the right thing despite his apparent insistence otherwise. You think Hoplin feels the ground crumbling beneath his feet? Thanks to Mark McCaig for the tip.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 02, 2004 to Scandalized! | TrackBack