Via TPM, the SF Chronicle:
"Michael Kamburowski, the Australian immigrant hired as a top official in the California Republican Party, was ordered deported in 2001, jailed three years later for visa violations -- and has filed a $5 million wrongful arrest lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to U.S. District Court documents.
Kamburowski was named in March to be the chief operating officer of the California GOP. He is responsible for the state party's multimillion-dollar budget and oversees campaign funds and financing for the nation's largest state GOP organization. (...)
Kamburowski is a former registered lobbyist for Americans for Tax Reform and a top operative for the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project, both founded by conservative activist Grover Norquist. Nehring -- also a former senior adviser and consultant to Norquist's Washington, D.C., operation -- worked with Kamburowski at Americans for Tax Reform in the 1990s.
News of Kamburowski's troubled immigration past comes on the heels of revelations in The Chronicle earlier this month that the state GOP used a highly sought-after H1B visa to hire another immigrant as a top consultant.
Christopher Matthews, a Canadian citizen with no experience in statewide politics, was hired this month after the California Republican party applied for, and received, an H1B visa specifically to fill the role of "political director,'' according to U.S. Department of Labor data. (...)
(A)sked about his immigration status, Kamburowski said he has a green card and added, "I am a legal resident. I am a permanent resident, and it can be proven.'' He referred all questions regarding the matter to his attorney."
Actually, it's not clear from the article that Kamburowski is legal; the story of his immigration travails presented by the article ends with his having been released from custody on a $7500 bond in 2004. And he was pretty clearly illegal before that.
In any case, you'll never guess why they hired these two. Honest, you won't:
"The decisions to hire Matthews and Kamburowski represent the welcoming values of the Republican Party, the California Republican chairman said."
Still, you might be thinking, maybe these people are really so exceptional that the GOP couldn't really expect to find anyone of their caliber in a state as large as California, or even in the entire US. Judge for yourselves:
"Kamburowski's former boss in the Dominican Republic resort town of Punta Cana -- where Kamburowski worked until February -- expressed astonishment that the Australian was hired for such an important financial job in a major political party.
"I wouldn't give him my company to run, I can tell you that,'' said Rico Pester, the owner of Re/Max Island Realty in the fashionable Caribbean beach region.
Pester said Kamburowski arrived in Punta Cana in the summer of 2006 and "was so successful that he couldn't sell anything the whole time he was here -- and we provided him with clients. He didn't rent anything and he didn't sell anything. ... I have no idea what he was doing.''
Then, in February, Kamburowski "ran away without mentioning anything to us,'' he said.
"I couldn't understand how somebody like him could become a (Republican Party) COO,'' Pester said in a telephone interview." (...)
Kamburowski's current resume -- which states his objective is "to play a major role in the reshaping of the California Republican Party into a hyper-effective political organization'' -- shows no employment from 2000-2006. Sources said that during at least some of those years he called himself an aspiring actor, and occasionally worked in desk clerk jobs before he eventually tried his hand at selling real estate in New York and the Dominican Republic, which he left in February.
One month later, the board of directors of the California Republican Party approved Kamburowski's hiring to head up financial operations handling millions of dollars in campaign funds."
At least the California Republican Party doesn't have any serious problems to deal with while Kamburowski sorts out his legal troubles. I mean, other than gearing up for a national Presidential election and stuff. Oh, wait, it does:
"The hiring of Kamburowski -- a virtual unknown in state party circles -- comes at a time when the state GOP's financial health appears weak. The California Republican Party at the end of 2006 had $219,000 in the bank and outstanding debts of $4.4 million -- and a $3 million loan repayment to wealthy contributor Larry Dodge is due at the end of this month. Yet senior party members, speaking not for attribution, say Kamburowski has had little contact with the team behind Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has generated a fundraising bonanza for the state GOP."
Heckuva job, Kamburowski.
It occurs to me that I'm assuming that being the Chief Operating Officer of the California Republican Party involves some real responsibility. That's not an assumption I'm in a position to make, since, when I was 16, I was the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee, a title given to me because I was doing some of the logistics for the Massachusetts delegation to the 1976 convention, and I needed a response for those occasions when I had to explain to someone why s/he couldn't come to the Convention even if s/he was Mo Udall's closest childhood friend, and I was asked: well, who are you, anyways? At moments like that, "I'm a sixteen year old unpaid intern" didn't really seem to cut it, and so I became an Executive Director until the Convention was over. It was good for giggles -- the people who actually ran the place would look at me and say: I have some xeroxing for our new Executive Director to do, ha ha ha. But it was an essential part of that story that I wasn't being paid, and had no real responsibilities. If it turns out that Kamburowski doesn't draw a salary either, I will take back my laughter.