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St. Charles Republican Central Committee playing fast and loose with funds?

Jon Bennett, Missouri House of Representatives
Jon Bennett, Missouri House of RepresentativesJon Bennett, MO House of Representatives

Trouble is brewing within the ranks of the St. Charles County Central Committee and it’s all about the money. On Thursday evening, during their monthly meeting, the Committee voted in a swift, and some think hasty, decision to transfer more than 80% of their funds to the political action committee, St. Charles Organization of Republicans.

The committee, among other things, acts to promote Republican candidates during elections and appoint candidates to fill vacancies, in elected positions. Much of their work also includes fundraising to support these efforts.

As of April 2014, the committee reported they had $30,663.74 in their coffers, and on Thursday voted to transfer $25,000 to the St Charles Organization of Republicans. The discussion was heard in closed session under the guise of legal issues.

Members of the committee, and attendees, report Chairman, Jon Bennett, gave no previous notification the issue would be brought up at the meeting, and were rapidly overridden in a motion to table the issue for further investigation and discussion.

The motion to table played out this way. Those in favor: Macia Behr, Bryce Steinhoff, Eva Guest, Barb Hall and Ann Farnsworth. Those against, Jon Bennett, Mike Sommer, Dave Evans, David Zucker, Frank Eggering, Jack Strick, Bill Gardner, Cindy Carpenter, Fred Henke, Penny Henke, Sandy Garber and Cindy Evans. Chrissy Sommer abstained.

While the St. Charles Central Committee works to support and elect Republicans to office, it is usual policy to not engage in, or throw support to candidates in primary elections. Observing the discourse, on a national level, between establishment and Tea Party Republicans, some members of the committee expressed a serious concern that the money donated to a PAC would violate that policy, creating more serious divides, throughout an already fractured Republican party.

St. Charles Organization of Republicans, was formed in January of 2007 and lists Brad Harmon, of St. Charles as their Treasurer. As of April 2014, the PAC reported $4,202.47 in cash on hand.

The St. Charles Republican Central Committee last made national news for its involvement in the Raucous Caucus, in 2012, where it was alleged that the committee tampered with protocol to achieve a predetermined outcome.

Jon Bennett, Committee Chair, is a former state representative, elected in 1994, who served three terms in the Missouri House until he was unseated by Democrat, Tom Green. Bennett did not respond to requests for comment prior to publishing.