What do Worldcom and the Republican Governors Association have in common?

by Liz A Mair (Editor, WWW.GOPPROGRESS.COM) Click here for a clue.

If you still don't get it, the answer is this: the heads of of both have used organization resources for their own personal purposes.

And, quite simply, it is not OK.

I first focused in on this issue-- or rather just how serious it has become-- when I read Chris Cillizza's The Fix first thing this morning.

Chris saw the RGA ad linked to above.  Of course he knows full well that Romney has been using the RGA (rightly) to shell out huge amounts of cash to candidates and incumbents who have a hope of getting, or keeping, a Governor's seat this fall, yet he noted that Kerry Healey is bound to lose, and that she is far from being in need of RGA funding-- she has huge personal wealth and has promised to throw $15 million of her own money at the campaign if required.  So, he asked, why would the RGA throw money-- $900,000 for ads, to be exact-- at this particular race?

Anyone who has watched the ad will have noticed how little face time Healey, i.e., the candidate, gets.  And how much Romney (that other candidate) gets.

Romney supporters have said this is likely because Romney wants to lend the weight of his huge popularity in the state to Healey's campaign.  Yet I find that argument utterly uncompelling.  

If anything, from what I hear, Romney's groundwork for 2008 has been hurting Healey.  One wonders how someone whose heightened media presence is apparently hurting her could end up helping her by, er, appearing in an ad that is supposed to benefit her?

The answer is he couldn't-- or at least not much.

However, what's more interesting is what Romney could do.

By featuring prominently, more prominently even than Healey herself, in the ad, Romney could keep himself on TV on a daily, maybe even hourly basis, in Massachusetts, and, ever so conveniently, New Hampshire-- whose residents receive the same, exact broadcasting as Boston.

And before anybody says that I'm attributing a nefarious motive to Romney that is unjustified, let's not forget where his-- oh, I mean the RGA's-- biggest expenditures have thus far occurred: Iowa and Michigan.

Sure, both have the opportunity to have their Governorships go Republican-- that's a good reason to spend there.  But so is the fact that both states have a crucial position on the Presidential primary calendar.  And the state parties there have received nearly $1 million from the RGA.

Of course, the $900,000 he's spending on ads for "Healey" tops the $750,000 he's spent in Iowa thus far-- could the extra money be because he is lagging so badly in the New Hampshire polls, perhaps?

Let's be clear about this.  What Romney appears to be doing is using the RGA much like certain crooked CEOs used the assets of their companies, which have now fallen into bankruptcy or otherwise gone down the toilet: it's called using money, set aside for the organization's purposes, for your own ends.  It's called using organization money as your own personal slush fund.  It's called bad news, and bad behavior.  Very bad behavior, indeed.