It has come to my attention that a recent posting on this website misrepresented the Harris County Republican Party’s finances and financial controls. As the Party’s Treasurer and on behalf of all Republican candidates, activists and donors I feel it is important to set the record straight.
In this post the author led readers to believe he was offering a view of all contributions and expenditures in a given time period.
But, while attempting to compare similar time periods, the author did not reflect all of the contributions for the period from 7/1/2014 to 2/15/2016. Therefore, donations are substantially understated by over $948,000.
First, the last Form CEC filed by the HCRP with the TEC was 1/15/2016 for the period ending 12/31/2015. Therefore, the author did not include 1) any of the corporate donations reported on Form PTY-Corp reports filed between 7/1/2014 and 1/15/2016; 2) any of the donations that were reported on the monthly FEC reports between 7/1/2015 and 2/15/2016; and 3) any of donations received by the Party for the period 1/1 to 2/15/16 (federal, state or corporate donations).
I further caution against just adding all of the expenditures reported on the FEC reports to the filed Forms CEC because the FEC expenses are reported at 100% and are not adjusted for the amounts paid for with state and corporate funds. You would overstate expenses, if you just add the total expenses from all TEC reports (Forms CEC and PTY-Corp) and FEC reports.
Additionally, the author doubled (and overstated) certain expenses that are required to be reported twice on the Form CEC. When there is a like-kind expense reported to a candidate and on Form CEC, it is also reported again showing the vendor the expense was paid, too.
The Party’s accounting books and records provide the total picture of Chairman Simpson’s first 19 months of office in comparison to the previous 19 months of office because they take into account all donations to and expenses paid from Federal, State, Levin and Corporate funds.
In reviewing the Party’s Quickbooks (the accounting program used since approximately 1998) donations raised between June 16, 2012 through February 15, 2014 (Former Chairman Woodfill’s final 19 months) equaled $1,337,517 in comparison to the $3,003,430 that Chairman Simpson has raised his first 19 months of office (June 16, 2014 to February 15, 2015)
Further analysis shows both chairmen spent approximately 75% of revenues on political efforts – ie, outreach, GOTV, campaign advertising, staff time assigned strictly to political efforts (as compared to overhead or fundraising), precinct and other political training, database development, etc.). This means that Chairman Simpson spent $1.25 million more in his first 19 months of office to help get Republican candidates elected and motivate voters to vote Republican than the former chairman did in his last 19 months of office.
The author also makes an overall assessment that there has been a “huge increase in fundraising expenses with little positive net to negative results;” a comparison of the 2015 Lincoln Reagan Dinner to the 2014 Lincoln Reagan Dinner shows a different picture:
|LRD Gross Revenues||
|Net LRD Profit||
Given that last year’s LRD netted $218,527 more than the year before and total donations raised since July 1, 2014 have increased 2.25 times, I don’t see any support for your statement that fundraising efforts have had “little positive net to negative results.”
As for the claims regarding the auditing procedures. An independent, third-party audit had not been performed in twenty years, though the Party bylaws had required the Chairman to do so. (It is my understanding that the Accounting Review Committee was in fact formed in 2012 when that outside audit requirement was eliminated to at least provide some limited review of the accounting books and records by the Executive Committee.) Additionally, before 2014, the HCRP had not been filing the appropriate FEC reports, but since 2014 HCRP has engaged outside attorneys with FEC experience to ensure filings are done timely and properly.
Since July 2014 – accounting policies and procedures have been developed, a Conflict of Interest policy has been prepared and Conflicts Disclosure Statements signed by officers and the management team. Lastly the first audit in many years was performed this past fall for the period of July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015 and a “clean” opinion issued.
I am happy to always address any questions about Party finances when I report on the Party’s finances at each quarterly Executive Committee meetings.
Cindy Siegel, Treasurer of the Harris County Republican Party
Note: The original title of this post was “Cindy Siegel says Jennings full of shit”. That title did not come from Mrs. Siegel, those were my words. It never occurred to me that she and some of the leaders of the HCRP would be offended by that title. In fact, I thought I was making fun of myself. People often tell me that I”m full of ….
Let me be very clear. I meant no offense to Mrs. Siegel or anyone else with that title. I apologize to her and to anyone else that took offense to my choice of words.
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