Saturday, November 03, 2012

Tregenza and the Mystery of the Unregistered PAC

My sincere condolences to Norman Tregenza, Jr. and the rest of the Tregenza/Lyman family on the loss of Norman Sr. Even when someone we love has been ill for a long time, we're still never prepared for that moment when they aren't with us any longer. Losing a parent is a big, big loss, and one that takes a very long time to grieve.

I'm truly sad for Norman.

But, sad or not, he's still running for the NH legislature. And losing his father doesn't erase the fact that he's run a disgusting, mean-spirited, and dishonest campaign against Ed Butler as they vie for the newly created seat in the newly gerrymandered floterial district.

Someone advised Norman. He's not clever enough to have thought to focus on the so-called "bathroom bill," a meme that is being used all over the state. That's straight from Speaker O'Brien and his pal Kevin Smith, formerly of Cornerstone Policy Research. I suspect he was told to go on the offensive and stay the course. It's not surprising. As we've seen in two weeks of newspaper ads, Norman doesn't have any legislative accomplishments to boast about. Norman focused on sponsoring bills asking Congress to return to the gold standard, asking Congress to withdraw the United States from the UN,  and affirming the state's powers based on the Constitution for the US and the Constitution of NH. Another bill he sponsored urged Congress to amend or repeal legislation expanding the constitutionally delegated powers of federal government. Then there was a bill urging Congress to withdraw the US from NAFTA, and  one urging the NH delegation to support bills requiring a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve. The UN withdrawal bill he filed in 2011 and again in 2012. In fact, a number of his do nothing bills were filed both years of the biennium: The withdrawal from NAFTA, the affirming state's powers bill, and the audit the Fed bill.

Each bill filed by a legislator costs taxpayers approximately $1500 - for researching and writing up by legislative services, publishing costs, etc.  Each of those bills norman filed twice cost us $3000. He wasted $12,000 on bills that had nothing to do with state government, and were absolutely meaningless, just to prove some Ron Paul/John Bircher point. And he has the audacity to speak of fiscal responsibility.

Because Norman is so bereft of accomplishment, someone decided that he should run an ugly and mean attack campaign. For a couple of weeks now we've been treated to the daily newspaper ad from his campaign, alleging that former Rep. Butler is aiding and abetting perverts. To fight perversion, Tregenza urges employers to cut out his ads and post them on bathroom doors. Apparently in Bircherville,  any pervert who catches a glimpse of Norm's Arayan youth photo in the ad will flee from the ladies room, never to be seen again.

The ads became unpopular. People started writing letters to the newspaper. It was apparent at the candidate's forum held at the VFW that Norman had nothing else to offer in his campaign. He wants to protect loons from lead sinkers in our lakes, which may be the only laudable cause he's involved in. He wants to fix our roads - or so he says - but he voted for a budget that slashed spending on roads and bridges. When asked about the bill in question, Ed Butler's response was so calm, so informed, and so adult that Norman was left with nothing else to say on that subject.

In a desperate measure to look as if he'd done something good, he ran an ad about being a co-sponsor of a bill that renamed a bridge in Grafton County. The bridge was renamed after a young man who died  at age 17.  Norman failed to ask permission from the family to use their dead son as a tool in a political ad. They were outraged. Norman responded by taking out another ad:

He apologizes to the family, but whines that he was trying to do something positive in the midst of all the negative advertising - as if he'd played no role in the negativity. And in this ad, he not only exploits a dead boy for political gain, he also exploits his recently deceased father, telling us that he designed this ad while he was holding his dying father's hand. I know better than many, that grief can cause someone to be unhinged. This ad is proof. Then bizarrely he has a text box at the bottom to show inform us that HE isn't dead, it's his father who died. Weird. Really weird.

Today's ad was not as strange, but still out there. He informs us that he's STILL ALIVE, that it was his father who died (a plea for the sympathy vote) and then, after bleating the day before about negativity, he jumps right into phony outrage about bathrooms. And yes, it is phony outrage. Norman voted against women at every opportunity - so his oft professed concern about what transpires in ladies rooms  is as phony as it is hypocritical.

At the bottom of Norman's signs and his numerous newspaper ads is a statement about who is paying for the ads and signs. It reads: "This ad is paid for by Mt. Washington Valley Campaign Fund to Elect Tregenza, Lisa Hayford, fiscal agent, PO Box 205, Madison, NH 03849" In other words, a political action committee, or PAC, was formed to handle the contributions and expenses of the campaign. This is very common. The Secretary of State's website has plenty of them listed: Friends of Fenton Groen, Committee to Elect Gene Chandler, Friends of Jeb Bradley - you get the idea. The rules that these PACs must abide by are also listed at the Secretary of State's website, in the Election Division section of the site. The very first rule is:

Any political committee, except that of a political party, must register with the Secretary of State not later than 24 hours after receiving any contribution in excess of $500 OR before making an expenditure in excess of $500, but in no event later than 14 days after the formation of the committee. 

As I mentioned earlier , I was at the Secretary of State's (SoS) office yesterday going through candidate and PAC reports. These are, of course, a matter of public record. In the course of my research I learned that there is no "Mt Washington Valley Campaign Fund to Elect Tregenza" registered with the Secretary of State. You can see this for yourself on the SoS website, where all of the registered PACs are listed. I wanted to be sure, though, so I asked. This committee has never been registered with the SoS.

 I did find 2 candidate reports that Norman had filed. The first was received September 19.

This report makes no mention of the committee. This is his report for the primary segment of the election. He claims a total  for the primary of $4, 211. 07 in campaign receipts. (That means contributions) He claims $1095.50 in expenditures on this report, and $1,441. 55 in prior expenses. His campaign expenditures to this date total $2537.05, which leaves a reported balance of $1684.07.

Now, on to the itemizations:

As you can see, there are no itemized receipts (contributions), so we have no idea where the money came from. There is one expenditure, to Mt. Washington Graph-fix and Printing for signs, to the tune
of $1095. 50.

The only other report thus far is from the General Election, received by the SoS on October 17.

This report makes no  mention the Mt Washington Valley Campaign Fund to Elect Tregenza. Norman brings forth a balance of $1674. 07. (He's only off by $10, according to the last report.) He reports $950 in contributions thus far in the general election cycle, with $0 previously reported during the general election. Adding the balance brought forward and the new contributions, he claims a new balance of $2634. 02. This new balance includes the $10 he was previously off by.

There are 3 items in the receipt section. One donation from the Carroll County Republican Committee for $350.00. The second is a $200.00 contribution from Margaret Devine of N. Conway. The third is a donation of $100 from Barbara Jane Tupper of West Ossipee. Try as I might, I can only get those donations to add up to $650, not the $950 claimed on the front of the form. There is one expenditure, for $1000 to the Conway Daily Sun newspaper for advertising.

Let's just say that the math doesn't exactly work out - but there's no smoking gun in the math,  just a person who appears to be inept at filling out forms.

The smoking gun is the committee. Why do Norman's signs and newspaper ads refer to a PAC that is not registered with the Secretary of State? Why are thousands of dollars in donations not itemized?

What's really going on here?

Why in the world would we trust this guy with taxpayer dollars, if he can't be trusted to engage in honest record keeping?


Anonymous said...

Bizarre would be descriptively kind. This individual has had most of us shaking our heads, mostly in pity for him but also for our tax dollars he's just lit a match to. When people point fingers, there are always three pointing back at themselves, and in this case Tregenza isn't paying attention to those three fingers. He doesn't engage in any critical thinking. This is clear from his rambling ads. I would suggest he enroll in some institution of higher learning in order to gain some critical thinking skills and some commmon sense knowledge of how to communicate effectively. Then again, when it comes to anyone on the right, it really doesn't seem to matter much. Some idiot who enjoys poisoning our environment placed Romney signs all along portions of Rt. 16 from the Jackson dump to Old Westside Road. Eye Poison. No other way to describe it and this desperate pathetic signage pollution I see is by far worse from the right. Mean spirited and uncaring all the way through.

susanthe said...

I saw all those signs yesterday as I was leaving Jackson. As I was driving by, a good citizen was taking them all down.

Does the person who has the most signs win? I would have thought Craig Benson cured us of that quaint notion.

Anonymous said...

Exactly Susan! Profuse apologies for my mess up. Not Westside Road but Old Jackson Rd. Jackson.

Sadly, that good citizen, put out those signs on the opposite side of the road. Unbelievable. If I had a huge rig, I wouldn't run down every one of 'em. Keep up the fantastic writing for those of us sane and smart enough to appreciate it.

susanthe said...

Thank you, Anonymous.