What do you get when you cross a donkey with an elephant in Alabama?
It appears that you get a well-connected pol like Democratic candidate for Treasurer, Charley Grimsley, a guy adept at playing both sides of the political game. He's boasted about his friendship with Lt. Governor Folsom while donating $5,000 to Roy Moore in 2006. He contributed $2,000 to George W. Bush in 2004 (the day before the election) and $2,300 to Barack Obama last October.
Oh, and there's also a Karl Rove connection, slight but there nontheless. Mr. Grimsley donated $1000 (another link says $2,000 but that info seems suspect) to the now-defunct “Progress for America Voter Fund,” a 527 organization. It's described by SourceWatch this way:
Progress for America, a “friends of the party” organization “operated by Tony Feather, the former political director of Bush-Cheney 2000 and a close friend of White House political adviser Karl Rove, is described by some Republicans as a new group dedicated to corralling outlawed party soft money,” Steve Weismann, Associate Director for Policy at The Campaign Finance Institute wrote January 28, 2003.
The PFA Voter Fund described itself as:
Progress for America Voter Fund (“PFA-VF”) is a conservative issue advocacy organization dedicated to keeping the issue record straight on the campaign trail and serving as a “Political Truth Squad”.
PFA-VF is currently producing issue advocacy TV ads on President Bush’s plan to revitalize the American economy and wage a world wide war on terror.
Future PFA-VF television ads will expose John Kerry's record as the most liberal member of the United States Senate — even more liberal than Teddy Kennedy or Hillary Clinton!
Contribute to our cause to bolster support for conservative policies in the media and see your donation in action when we place our ads on television in your state.
It seems odd that a Democratic candidate for Treasurer, Charles Grimsley would be a contributor to such a group.
In October 2006, they published a brochure explaining how we were winning the war in Iraq and shut down in 2007 after the Federal Elections Commission raised questions about its political activities in 2004.
Just as troubling to progressive Democrats, is Mr. Grimsley's enthusiastic support of Roy Moore in 2006. He donated $5,000 to Moore's campaign and even reserved the Web site domain name (for $60!) to keep it out the hands of the wrong people, according to the Decatur Daily:
“If you don't go out and buy up all components of a name, sometimes your opponents will come in and do so,” Grimsley said. “The first thing you know, there will be negative information out there on a site that has your name on it. I didn't want that to happen.”
Grimsley said he lives near Sipsey River in Pickens County and he believes Moore appeals to people like his neighbors in rural areas.
More about the interesting history of Mr. Grimsley, his political posts, and contributions on the flip.
Mr. Grimsley's payment of $60 for a domain name jumped out from the Decatur Daily article. In most cases, a domain name sells for about $10, not $60. Now, he could have bought it from a reseller who paid $10 and hoped to make more by reselling it.
Still, the fact that Grimsley's concern about Roy Moore's image was so great that he'd pay 6 times the going rate for a URL gives me pause.
I would hope that he won't run the Treasurer's office that way. As a PACT parent, I'm pretty fed up with people who don't bother to do enough research to see if they're getting a good deal or not.
Would Grimsley be a tough negotiater or putty in the hands of the PACT investment mis-managers?
Grimsley's resume is also interesting.
- Appointed Conservation Commissioner by Gov. Folsom – served 15 years
- Chief of Staff for Lt. Gov. Steve Windom
- Chief of Staff to Senate President ProTem Hinton Mitchem
- Early and enthusiastic supporter of Roy More for governor in 2006.
Although politics and state government seem to have been his chief occupations, Mr. Grimsley's also a farmer – or at least receives farm subsidies. He collected almost $200,000 between 1995 and 2006.
We always hear about how underpaid state employees are, but Mr. Grimsley doesn't seem to be hurting financially.
Charley Grimsley's campaign contributions.
These are all over the political map. How the heck do you go from George Bush and Roy Moore in 2004/06 to maxing out to Barack Obama in 2008? Mulitple political personality disorder?
He lists his occupation in many of these as “retired.” Damn. I only hope I have this much disposable income in retirement. Probably not though, if I'm stuck paying for college tuition twice because PACT has gone under!
2008 election cycle:
State-level data isn't available yet on FollowTheMoney.com. This is only federal info for 2008…
- Barack Obama for President: $2,300
- Vivian Figures for Senate: $500
- Parker Griffith for Congress: $500
Looks good, right? But you have to ask if he got hit on the head, had some sort of epiphany, or just tested the wind and decided to donate to the winning team last year. Because those contributions look a bit out of line with his previous donations.
2006 election cycle:
- Roy Moore for Governor of Alabama: $5,000
- Lowell Barron (D) for State Senate: $100
- Beth Chapman (R) for Sec. of State: $500
- George Wallace, Jr. for Lt. Gov (R): $250
- Beth Chapman (R) for Sec. of State: $250
- Jim Folsom, Jr. (D) for Lt. Gov: $5,000
- Roger Bedford (D) for State Senate: $200
- Jim Folsom, Jr. (D) for Lt. Gov.: $5,000 (yes, those appear to be two different contributions)
2002 election cycle:
Let me do the math in case you can't be bothered:
Contributions to Republicans since 2002: $22,000 (includes the PFA PAC contribution)
Contributions to Democrats since 2002: $12,700
hmmm…. I'm seeing a pattern here and it's not one I like.
I first met Mr. Grimsley's opponent, Jeremey Sherer, this spring when we were both delegates to the ACCR Mock Constitutional Convention. I was impressed with Sherer then, and my opinion of him has only increased as I've watched him attend meetings of concerned Alabama PACT parents across the state.
If a dozen PACT parents call a meeting, Sherer will drive for hours to attend, listen to their concerns, share his plans, and reassure them that he will do everything in his power to fix the program.
He's not the connected, big money candidate – and that's a good thing. For too long, Alabama politics and state government have been held hostage by the old boys' network – Democrats, Republicans, and those who play both sides of the fence depending on which party is in power.
It's time to elect an Alabama Treasurer who serves the citizens of this state.
I hate to denigrate someone who's running in the Democratic primary, but the more I learn about Grimsley, the more I'm concerned that he's an opportunist looking to pad his “retirement” with a public office.
Jeremy Sherer, in contrast, is young, parent of young children, and he's looking towards the future.
Sherer isn't a one-issue candidate: he's interested in open government, reform, using the office to promote local economic development by nurturing local financial institutions, and yes… fixing the Alabama PACT mess.
We'll see what Mr. Grimsley proposes, but at first glance he seems to be offering Republican wine in a pseudo-Democratic bottle. I don't think I'll care much for the taste.