The Other McCain

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RNC: Saul Anuzis Under Fire

Posted on | December 23, 2010 | 5 Comments

The rough stuff continues in the contest for the Republican National Committee chairmanship.

A week ago, Wisconsin  GOP chair Reince Priebus got blasted for his law firm’s stimulus-pimping business. Now it appears that Michigan’s Saul Anuzis is in the oppo-research crosshairs. 

An anonymous e-mail calls attention to tax liens against B & S Telecom (PDF documents here and here), a firm co-founded by Anuzis, and also refers to a Nov. 17, 2006, article from the Grand Rapids Press:

“In a letter to media, Zandstra details that since Anuzis became chairman [of the Michigan GOP] in February of last year the party has paid $85,000 to Quick Connect USA. ‘The conflict of interest is obvious,’ Zandstra writes. In addition, Zandstra claims, Anuzis hired staff members from Sterling Corp. consulting firm in Lansing, a group that did work for his run for state party chairman in 2004. The state party has paid Sterling $1.7 million this year, Zandstra writes.”

Two years ago, Sterling Corp. threatened legal action against Dan Tollis, who challenged Anuzis for the Michigan GOP chairmanship in 2008. In announcing his bid for the chairmanship, Tollis sent out an e-mail accusing Anuzis and the state party’s executive director of corruption:

Our current Michigan Republican Party heads have continuously exploited their positions of power to bolster their own business interests; and that is no longer tolerable. It is important to emphasize that Saul’s executive director, Jeff Timmer, served as a VP for the Sterling Corporation. In the 2006 and 2008 elections, Anuzis and Timmer funneled millions of dollars to the Sterling Corporation. With Anuzis, Timmer, and Sterling at the helm, we’ve been creamed at the top of the ticket, as well as losing the majority in the Michigan House of Representatives, two Congressmen, The Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, Republican majorities on several County Board of Commissioners, and several seats on the statewide education boards.

Sterling Corp. evidently considered that accusation by Tollis libelous, and I don’t know if they also took action against Zandstra. From my point of view, the two relevant facts are:

  1. Some disgruntled Michigan Republicans thought Anuzis was shady and blamed him for the party’s election losses in 2006; and
  2. Somebody who doesn’t want Anuzis to be RNC chair is calling attention to these accusations.

As for the tax liens against B & S Telecom, we saw during the recent election campaign that many Republican candidates for Congress (including Ann Marie Buerkle) were hit with attack ads making hay of similar situations. Perhaps people with small-business backgrounds can comment on whether such disputes over unpaid taxes are routine.

During the 2008 contest for RNC chair, Anuzis was a favorite of many online activists and bloggers because he “gets it” in terms of New Media. I’ve met Saul and like Saul and have no reason to oppose him or to believe the accusations against him.

Nevertheless, we can see that there are some Republicans who don’t like Saul and — as with the Reince Priebus story — Republicans are playing hardball in the battle for the RNC chairmanship.


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