The current president of the Republican Assembly of Kern County, Martin Bertram, has publicly accused its immediate past president, Ken Mettler, of misspending the group's money.
That accusation is untrue and has subjected Mettler to 'public ridicule and suspicion,' according to a committee put together by the California Republican Assembly to look into Bertram's allegations.
The CRA is the parent group of the RAKC. The two groups are not part of the Republican Party. They are clubs formed to support conservative Republican candidates and issues.
In a release Monday, the CRA committee exonerated Mettler on what it called bogus charges, noting members of the RAKC board were trying to score political points on behalf of Mettler's opponents.
Mettler, who is running for the 32nd Assembly seat, also said in previous interviews with 17 News he was being targeted by others in the group who wanted to derail his campaign.
The committee also seeks the removal of Bertram as chapter president and his banishment from CRA membership for five years.
"We consider it an honor to receive this rebuke from a group of political hacks whose philosophy is more aligned with Saul Alinsky than with Jesus Christ or with the founders of our nation," Bertram said through a news release Tuesday. "This is just political spin of the Ken Mettler campaign in order to deflect attention from the real issue: Mettler's manipulation of the RAKC board and his misappropriation of funds."
The committee's recommendations will be taken up by the CRA board on April 29.
Bertram publicly accused Mettler of spending several thousand dollars of the group's money without the board's permission.
Bertram says Mettler spent close to $200 to research Bakersfield City Councilman Zack Scrivner in early 2009.
He also accuses Mettler of using the group's PayPal account in 2008 to spend another $200 to investigate a man Mettler was accused of kicking and punching during a Proposition 8 rally in a fight over campaign signs.
Mettler denied the allegations in a written statement, saying he reimbursed the exact costs associated with using the Pay Pal account.
And Mettler said the money spent in early 2009 was to investigate governmental waste, not Scrivner.
"It is disheartening that a handful of RAKC Board members have chosen to involve themselves in political gamesmanship using completely bogus and often petty charges," Mettler wrote in the release.
"I am fully aware that some are desperately trying to derail my campaign and I will not flinch."
Bertram characterized the committee's report as political spin.
"This report is not an indictment on me or the board of the RAKC, but upon the committee who produced it and the CRA board which appointed that committee," Bertram said.