- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 8, 2007

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland’s former Republican Party Chairman John M. Kane in an e-mail obtained by The Washington Times yesterday criticized the new party leadership for running up debt and lying to party members about finances.

“I can’t believe you are doing what so many of us are fed up with in Washington: deficit spending,” Mr. Kane wrote in an e-mail to new party Chairman James Pelura III, Executive Director John Flynn and other party leaders. “You have an inexperienced fundraiser, a zealot for an [executive director] and paid legal counsel that I understand will cost somewhere around $40K a year.”

The e-mail was sent a day after an article by The Washington Times showed the state Republican Party had opened a $100,000 line of credit to run the daily operations.

Mr. Pelura has been criticized for his lack of fundraising experience, and many Republicans have questioned maintaining five paid staffers when it is in debt.

Mr. Flynn instructed party leaders not to speak with reporters about the credit line and weighed strategy in a separate e-mail obtained by The Times.

“Here are my thoughts on messaging: It is very common for national parties, state parties and campaigns to take out lines of credit,” he wrote.

Mr. Flynn also said the party had three lines of credit open during Mr. Kane’s term, a point Mr. Kane rebutted in his e-mail as “at best ignorance, and at worst deceitful.”

Mr. Kane, who did not return phone calls for comment, also wrote that Mr. Pelura and Mr. Flynn have not talked to him since taking office on Dec. 2 and have not reached out to former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and former Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, which Mr. Steele confirmed Monday.

Mr. Flynn said earlier yesterday that the state party has was working with Mr. Ehrlich and Mr. Steele to raise money, including Mr. Steele speaking at a party convention and Mr. Ehrlich signing a fundraising letter this year.

Fundraising suggestions have been ignored by the party, despite its financial problems, and there has been a lack of communication between the new party leaders and some of it’s strongest fundraisers, said a Republican fundraiser, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The state party hired more staff when Mr. Ehrlich was in office, though it ran a much smaller operation before 2003, often with only two full-time paid staffers.

Many Republicans say the party needs to return to the smaller staff if it cannot pay its bills.

“The party on all levels [has] to retool their operation to become leaner, meaner and more efficient,” said Tony Caligiuri, chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, Eastern Shore Republican.

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