POLITICS
02/14/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

RNC Chair Race Gets Nasty: Shots Taken At Candidate's Education Level, Salary

The race to become the next chair of the Republican party is, as expected, a bit of a political dog-fight, with six candidates vying to differentiate themselves from one another at a time when the party's image is in tatters.

As one anonymous consultant who worked with the RNC phrased it: "Everyone is basically pissed." Another GOP source described it to the Huffington Post as a circular firing squad.

And so, it isn't a shocker that opposition research tarring the different candidates is being peddled around to reporters -- and some of the material crosses the line into personal, petty sniping.

One Republican consultant mailed over an opposition research document on Saul Anuzis -- no author is listed, as is the case with several such anonymous files that are "floating around," the source said. "There are certainly a number of candidates who are benefiting from attacks on Saul," he added. The oppo research starts off, sharply enough, by making light of Anuzis' education.

Highest degree earned: High School Diploma.

From there, it goes after Anuzis' salary as current chair of the Michigan Republican Party, raises questions about secret business partners and ethical conflicts of interests, and generally trashes his leadership as a GOP organizer. It concludes:

Saul Anuzis is a paid political hack whose greed and misconduct lost him his job in government. After fifteen years of trying to make it in business, he came back to what he knew best: politics for pay. His goal was simple: take over the party to enrich himself and his friends. After overseeing tremendous party setbacks and election loses, he leaves his party as a failed chairman. Saul Anuzis now leaves his post after undoing most of the good party building work in the 1980's and early 90's. His true legacy will be a financial one: an exorbitant salary, a huge debt, contracts to his friends and himself (that obligate the party well into the future), and a party in no position to pay for any of it. Isn't this the kind of legacy that Republicans are trying to get away from??

I emailed Anuzis to get his reaction to the file but didn't immediately receive a response. Certainly, this is the most nefarious interpretation of his record, and indicative of the intensity of the race to take over the RNC grows near.

A former union member, Anuzis has called for the GOP to beef up on the technological front, and offers the chance for the party to at least reclaim a symbolic root in the industrial northwest. As Marc Ambinder, who has been following this race closely, noted: "Anuzis has allies and enemies; he doesn't have the best track record in terms of winning races -- though he was the chairman in Michigan, after all -- but gets credit for his enthusiasm, his PR savvy, and his knowledge of how and why the party needs to change technologically."

Full text of the opposition file:

Saul Anuzis: Just the facts

Education:

Highest degree earned: High School Diploma

Employment:

Fired from Lt. Governor Posthumus' office on orders of Governor Engler for misusing state property and resources specifically long distance calls to other countries billed to the state as part of starting his own personal telecom business.

Current Income:

Michigan Republican Party: $175,000+ a year; ($9,868.28 a month after taxes)

Quick Connect USA: Undisclosed amount from co-ownership and state GOP contracts.

Sterling Group and WWP Strategies: Undisclosed business referral fees from these companies who also have Michigan GOP contracts

Funding RNC Campaign:

Michigan Republican Party
Consultants and others who he has promised GOP contracts and jobs

Service as Michigan Party Chair: 2005-Present

2006- Republicans lose control of Michigan House and seats in Senate.

2008- Nine more House seats lost and lost Republican Chief Justice and majority on the Supreme Court, Two Republican Congressman lost (thank goodness the Senate was not up)

Michigan GOP Debt:

$250,000 (currently borrowing $25,000+ per month simply to cover ongoing expenses)

Analysis:

Saul Anuzis is a paid political hack whose greed and misconduct lost him his job in government. After fifteen years of trying to make it in business, he came back to what he knew best: politics for pay. His goal was simple: take over the party to enrich himself and his friends. After overseeing tremendous party setbacks and election loses, he leaves his party as a failed chairman. Saul Anuzis now leaves his post after undoing most of the good party building work in the 1980's and early 90's. His true legacy will be a financial one: an exorbitant salary, a huge debt, contracts to his friends and himself (that obligate the party well into the future), and a party in no position to pay for any of it. Isn't this the kind of legacy that Republicans are trying to get away from??