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More Bad News From RPV

By Greg L | 15 February 2015 | RPV | 8 Comments

UPDATES: WashPo says RPV Executive Director Sean Kenney is out.  RPV’s federal account has $252 cash on-hand and $217,499 in debts.  In January, the gap widened by another $11,086, worsening the situation just as RPV sent out mailers for Bill Howell’s primary campaign.  The state account shows $47,147 on-hand at year’s end, not enough to cover the shortfall.  Heads are rolling.

If you ever wondered whether being RPV Chairman is an honor or a penance, on Monday you’re going to get another example of how it’s the latter.  Although folks in the know are being awfully tight-lipped right now, on Monday an announcement is expected that will involve some sort of less-than-helpful behavior with significant financial impacts on RPV’s finances that may degrade at least in the short-term the ability of RPV to adequately fulfill it’s mission.  Immediate staffing changes are expected as a result.

As tough as this is going to be for John Whitbeck to navigate a way forward from whatever this is, it’s fortunate that he’s at the helm.  There aren’t many out there more capable than him.

Stay tuned for updates below the fold…


Here’s a visual look at the changes in RPV’s federal account over the past 13 months. Not pretty.

Since April RPV has been accumulating debt just as contributions from the state account to the federal account fell from about $20k/month to only $28,000 in the last six months.  All of RPV’s staff are paid from the federal account, but the funding comes from transfers from the state account.  When that funding dried up, RPV started running out of money and stopped paying quite a few vendors, accumulating debt at a rapid pace without any effort at all to make repayments.  At this point it’s hard to imagine anyone providing services or materials to RPV under contract as it’s quite likely they won’t get paid for them until this gets cleared up.

I wouldn’t want to be in John Whitbeck’s shoes right now.  This is going to be hard to fix.

UPDATE 3: With the Washington Post reporting (apparently someone at RPV decided to talk to them, but not to any Republicans) that Sean Kenney will be leaving the Executive Director position at RPV.  His tenure does match up quite coincidentally with the onset of RPV’s debt problems (as one commenter noted) and that likely has something to do with this.  The full story probably won’t come out for a while, and only after a few beers with some select insider.

UPDATE 4: Steve Thomas writes an interesting piece over a Virtucon that starts the process of explaining what happened.  It would not surprise me if his insight on the financial picture is a great starting point on the post-mortem that needs to be done.  Was Kenney really the one hope RPV had to fix the financial problems that incumbents laid on them?  Or was it something else entirely?  This at least starts a pretty important dialogue deserving of completion.

UPDATE 5: Laura Ingraham has an amusing take on all this:

One of the biggest Establishment GOP disasters in state politics of the past year has been Shaun Kenney from Virginia. So we’re not sad to see him goWe remember his famous no-show on our show, which caused waves. Hint: If you can’t defend your position or strategy as a Republican on the Laura Ingraham Show, you’re simply not a conservative.

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  1. Greg L said on 15 Feb 2015 at 4:00 pm:
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    With Eric Cantor out of the financial picture - and it’s quite possible that he had been financially propping up a state party that wasn’t making ends meet - there really isn’t anyone out there to bail out RPV. Was this what someone meant by “declaring war” as a result of Cantor’s loss to Dave Brat?

  2. Anonymous said on 15 Feb 2015 at 6:58 pm:
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    Interesting coinkydink: Sean Kenney gets named Executive Director in April, 2014. The next month is the first month RPV starts running debts on their federal account which go from $29,875 on the May report to $217,499 in the January 2015 report. RPV’s net worth crashes from positive $31k in May to -194k by year’s end.

    For someone charged with managing the day to day operations of RPV he seems to have done one hell of a job - for Democrats.

  3. James Willis said on 16 Feb 2015 at 6:20 am:
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    I have to wonder how much better this picture would look if conservative voters in Virginia felt like they could once again support the RPV? Many of us stopped giving to the party organizations way back when the party organizations stopped supporting conservatism, giving instead directly to worthy candidates, and that situation seems to be getting worse rather than better. Perhaps it might be time for the RPV to mend some bridges.

  4. Vote rght said on 16 Feb 2015 at 8:42 am:
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    The problem is Cuccinelli has screwed every electable candidate since placing his minions on state party central. His narcarssitic behavior has
    turned off so many particularly in norther Virginia that it has caused many to stop donating to the party.

    Someone like Congreeswoman Comstock would have never got elected and won the 10 th district handily if Cuccinelli had got

  5. Vote rght said on 16 Feb 2015 at 8:50 am:
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    sorry some got cut off. It should read if Cuccinelli had got involved in the 10 th district race because would have supported the more extreme candidate. Cuccinelli and Jackson were such a turn off it dragged the ticket down and adversely affected Obenshain. The writing was on the wall when campaign donations and the major fundraisng effort in northern Virginia goes towards Obenshan rather than Cuccinelli and Jackson. Cuccinelli has stepped on and has thrown so many fellow Republicans under the bus in northern Virginia that they get back at him a every opportunity. There is a reason we have not won a statewide race since 2009 and that is known as the Cuccinelli Curse.

  6. J.R. Hoeft said on 16 Feb 2015 at 3:49 pm:
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    Outstanding graph, Greg. What happened in October and all those revenues started plummeting? The graph is really telling. From April-October under Mullins-Kenney, RPV’s net worth grows to more than $100k. Suddenly, Mullins announces his retirement, donations dry up, and the debt skyrockets (likely because of pre-determined outlays like the Advance). Of course, over this entire period of RPV decline, Whitbeck has been the de facto chairman. Very good graph, Greg. Don’t worry about deleting it. I have a screen capture and will ensure to give you full credit if I post.

  7. Greg L said on 16 Feb 2015 at 7:54 pm:
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    J.R., if you’re able to dig down to the truth on this, you’re welcome to use that graphic no matter where it leads. I’ll continue to poke around in the finance reports and see if I can come up with some other aids to understanding that mess of data.

  8. Chris Beer said on 20 Feb 2015 at 2:39 pm:
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    Why in the world does anyone want a strong RPV. I have spent exactly ZERO minutes of my life worrying about the well-being of RPV. Candidates need to spend time in their communities, raising money locally, and building local organizations rather than schleping down to Richmond to beg for money and being forced to take a consultant you don’t want or like in exchange.

    Sorry. Broke or not, RPV doesn’t serve much purpose to begin with. The success or failure of this party depends on finding candidates that are qualified and can earn the vote of their communities. Stressing about the fact that Eric Cantor’s old buddies have cut off the spigots because voters got pissed he’d rather be in New York than holding a town hall in Henrico is useless.

    Keep it local!

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