Pop quiz for all you wannabe political strategists. If you had a campaign leader who, according to today’s Salt Lake Trib, was named as a defendant in a suit alleging that at a school he ran:
[S]tudents were forced to eat their own vomit, clean toilets with a toothbrush and brush their teeth afterward, were chained or locked in dog cages, kicked, beaten, thrown and slammed to the ground and forced into sexual acts.
Would you distance yourself from him? Not if you are Mitt Romney, and the guy is one of your Utah Finance co-chairs. In fact, Mitt seems to be good buddies with the guy. Romney got a quarter-mill to fund a candidate in Maine last cycle, according to the Portland Press Herald:
Romney and Lichfield also made the news in Maine recently when the Portland Press Herald reported that an organization affiliated with Lichfield was the top donor in the governor’s race there. RECAF Inc., the paper reported, gave $250,000 to a political action committee set up by the Republican Governors Association to buy television time to support Republican Chandler Woodcock.
Ok. So Lichfield is probably a big donor for Romney and a friend. Who …. misrepresents himself on campaign contribution filings?
The same penalties apply to any false statement made in campaign disclosure reports. In this case, the address listed for RECAF is 170 N. State St. in La Verkin, Utah.
However, the entire 100 block of North State Street is occupied by Cross Creek Programs, a youth treatment center that sits on land owned by a partnership in Lichfield’s name.
Now, what does the Romney campaign say? Well, when the issue first arose, they said:
"Mr. Lichfield has donated to numerous Republican candidates and committees," Pompei said in the statement, "and is just one of more than 34,000 donors to Governor Romney’s campaign."
"Nothing special." Nothing to see here. Move on. Yesterday, in the Hill, they said:
“Mr. Lichfield is one of 6 Co-Chairman of our Utah finance team,” said Romney spokeswoman Gail Gitcho in a statement.
Just one of 6, just one of 34,000, that gave $250k and held a fundraiser:
Lichfield helped to organize a February event in St. George, Utah, that raised about $300,000 for the Romney campaign.
Right…… The Hill had a suggestion:
The allegations could force Romney to re-examine his relationship with his Utah finance co-chairman or put pressure on him to give away the contributions Lichfield helped raise.
Is he gonna do it?