Following the purge of consultants from CRA in 2011, the Parks began to explore the new environment that they had created. Celeste Grieg had survived the coup attempt by Karen England but she had proven vulnerable. Over the next two years, Aaron and George found and recruited John Briscoe to challenge Celeste for statewide President. When Celeste stood for election in 2013, the Park brothers threw all their weight into the Briscoe campaign. For the first time in memory, a sitting CRA President lost re-election. This was April of 2013.
After Briscoe was elected, the Park brothers began participation in a series of special projects that were kept from the Board. That is not to say that nobody knew about them just that nobody was talking. The Board as a whole was left out. There were a whole series of “side deals” and “off the books” financial activities that were conducted. It is clear that John Briscoe knew about them but never brought them before the Board. If the Treasurer knew, he never put them in his reports.
The first of these concerns the Antelope Valley Republican Assembly.
The Parks characterized the fight with Karen England as a battle to remove consultants and politicians that were using CRA as a “pay to play” organization in order to buy CRA endorsements. Money for political access was reportedly prohibited with the Parks overseeing the Membership and Chartering process of CRA. They claimed then—as they do now—to be the bulwarks of fraud prevention in the group. As you continue to read, please keep this in mind.
I heard rumblings about this transaction several weeks ago. Thru a series of emails with the principals involved, I was able to verify the following.
On December 10, 2013 a resolution passed by the Antelope Valley Republican Assembly is published on Aaron’s blog. Here is the Link
(Please note that this resolution was also passed by the Santa Clarita RA. This is quite possibly the last time Aaron ever praised the SCVRA on his blog.)
This resolution was issued in support of California Senator Steve Knight and encouraged him to run for Congress. The first two Whereas clauses are omitted.
WHEREAS; conservative state Senator Steve Knight has been a longtime member of the Antelope Valley Republican Assembly; and
WHEREAS; if elected, Steve Knight will be the only person from the Antelope Valley ever to serve in Congress; and
WHEREAS; Steve Knight earned a 100% voting record from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association; and
WHEREAS; Steve Knight has consistently fought for second amendment rights and the sanctity of life; and
WHEREAS; Steve Knight continues to stand for the same conservative values as he promised us he would in his first campaign as he does today;
THEREFORE; be it resolved that the Antelope Valley Republican Assembly opposes Tony Strickland running for the 25th congressional district and will support state Senator Steve Knight with our delegates to the California Republican Assembly endorsing convention if Congressman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon decides to retire in 2014.
The next day, December 11, 2013, the Steve Knight for Senate 2016 campaign committee issues a check to CRA for “CAMPAIGN PARAPHERNALIA/MISCELLANEOUS”
There is no record of CRA giving any material goods to Senator Knight in return for this check other than good will. While the check was written to CRA, it arrived with the understanding that this $4,000 was to be used as a club credit for the Antelope Valley Republican Assembly. Using this credit meant AVRA did not have to submit any dues payments until the credit was used-up.
I contacted AVRA about this matter and confirmed the money came from Steve Knight and surprise of surprises, the CRA contact was George Park.
We “have submitted numbers/accounting accordingly with our annual membership documents as required for all CRA units to the CRA Membership Chair.”
Email from AVRA member
The only question that I could not ascertain was how much of the $4K balance is remaining.
This transaction has been kept off the books of CRA. It should have been carried on all Treasurer Reports since George deposited the check. The Board was kept in the dark. John Briscoe had to OK this arrangement.
Per accounting rules, such an obligation should be shown on the CRA books as a long term debt (over one year). I don’t fault AVRA because of this; however, the few leaders that hid this from the rest of the Board should answer for this.
In my mind this raises a whole host of questions:
Why is a politician allowed to prepay chapter memberships years in advance?
Why did the CRA leadership—including the Membership Secretary—OK this arrangement?
Why was this kept from the Board if it was such a great idea?
Why not let other politicians do this?
Would George let Ted Gaines or Tom McClintock do this in Placer County?
Were campaign laws followed when CRA deposited this check?
What is the current balance that CRA owes AVRA?
Why didn’t Knight just donate to AVRA? He gave them $1,000 directly in 2014.
Were it up to me, I would cut AVRA a check today and be done with this. Make them submit their dues just like any other chapter. Why do they get a pass on following the rules the rest of us have to abide by?
Stay tuned, more on the next thrilling episode of the Just Us Brothers.