Tilting the Field: NRSC Chairman’s Fundraisers Raise Jane Norton’s D.C. Money, Too

Update 2: NRSC responds again: “Your correction is incorrect. Neither of the folks you mention are NRSC fundraisers in any way. We do have a fundraising department but neither of the people you mention work for the NRSC or are contracted by us. Magda El-Tobgui raises money for Sen. Cornyn personal leadership PAC and she has a number of clients as well – but that’s all separate and apart from the NRSC.”

So the official organs of the NRSC are not connected to these fundraisers, but NRSC chairman John Cornyn is. You can decide how important the technical distinction is. I regret the error and again have updated the headline and text to reflect the greatest possible accuracy. The bottom line to me is clear: Jane Norton is the D.C. Republican establishment candidate.

Update: NRSC responds: “What’s frustrating though is when falsehoods are spread – and your item below – from the headline on down — is not true. Neither Magda El-Tobgui and Robyn Swift are NRSC employees or are on the NRSC payroll. So to state that they are “NRSC Fundraisers” is false. Magda El-Tobgui has her own independent business and counts Senator Cornyn’s personal leadership PAC, along with other Senators and candidates, among her clients. This is no different than any of the other dozens of DC-based fundraisers that are employed by incumbents and candidates. She is not employed by the NRSC though and your item stating otherwise is not accurate.”

I regret my poor wording inferring that El-Tobgui and Swift are NRSC employees. For clarity, they have done work for John Cornyn and the NRSC as clients. I have made the appropriate corrections to the headline and the text.

Also, I regret that the comments are turned off for this post. It’s a glitch I haven’t been able to remedy yet, and hope to have it fixed soon.

In the Denver Post‘s red-carpet column for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton, the main reason we are told why her rivals aren’t credible candidates is:

When she jumps in — scheduled for this week — Norton will clear from the field a few of the contenders who have had trouble raising money. [emphasis added]

Well, I’ve heard from several different sources (who understandably don’t want to disclose their identity) that the National Republican Senatorial Committee and other GOP bigwigs have been trying to blacklist non-Norton Republican Senate candidates with national donors. Hard to prove? Yes. But it helps to explain why Ken Buck nearly bowed out of the contest before a slew of support urged him not to bow to the “shenanigans” of “Washington, D.C., insiders”.

Today enter a new piece of evidence: the invitation (PDF) for the main Washington D.C. September fundraiser for Jane Norton. What’s so interesting about it? The fundraisers for Jane Norton for Colorado are Magda El-Tobgui and Robyn Swift. Both of them are NRSC fundraisers, and El-Tobgui is also a fundraiser fundraisers for NRSC chairman John Cornyn‘s and his Alamo PAC (see below):


So Cornyn’s top fundraiser iss are also working at the same time to raise funds for Jane Norton. The NRSC‘s chairman is privileging its fundraising human resources one or two of its his main fundraisers to Norton’s advantage. No other candidate in this race — not Ken Buck, not Ryan Frazier — has that considerable advantage working for them. Do you still doubt that the NRSC is high-ranking D.C. Republicans are actively pushing national donors from other candidates to supporting Norton?

It therefore seems fair to say that any problems Buck and Frazier have had raising money may be explained at least as much by Beltway interference as by lack of enthusiasm from Colorado Republicans and other liberty-loving Americans. Or at the very least, we can’t know for sure as long as the playing field is tilted — and, might I add, being tilted by a national leadership that has not exactly exhibited brilliant success in recent election cycles.

No, NRSC interference in the race does not necessarily mean an official endorsement invoked by the infamous “Rule 11″. In fact, Republican National Committeeman Mark Hillman confirmed to me that Rule 11 hasn’t been invoked, nor does he wish to see it invoked:

As I understand it, Rule 11 can only be invoked by a unanimous vote of the state chairman, national committeeman and national committee woman. The only conversations I’ve had about Rule 11 are from curious bloggers and activists such as yourself. No one has suggested to me that it be invoked or even considered, and I’ve not discussed it with Dick [Wadhams] or Lilly [Nunez]. Finally, I would not vote to invoke Rule 11 so long as their are credible, qualified Republicans competing in a primary and right now there are several. Colorado’s Republican senate nomination will be decided by Colorado Republicans — not by Washington powerbrokers.

But of course, as we already have seen, there are other ways outside the control of our Colorado Republican committee representatives that the NRSC Beltway leaders can use its their clout to tilt the playing field in a candidate’s direction.

Another interesting note about the Norton fundraiser invitation? For the uninitiated, the hosts Judy and Charlie Black are Jane Norton’s sister and brother-in-law. Charlie is a D.C. lobbyist and was a top adviser to John McCain. Judy also is a D.C. lobbyist and chaired “Women for McCain”. Both began their work for or on McCain’s behalf during the primary election. Jane Norton herself co-chaired McCain’s Colorado campaign starting in 2007.

How high up does the effort go to push national fundraising in Norton’s direction? And do those high up truly realize what they are doing to help increase the likelihood that Michael Bennet has a career seat in the U.S. Senate? Someone save the Republican Party from itself … PLEASE ….