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Not sure what being “flayed” is like but it doesn’t sound like any fun. The former head of San Diego’s Republican Party, Ron Nehring, who took over the state GOP not long ago, is getting hammered for hiring an Australian with a questionable immigration status to a top post.

The San Francisco Chronicle broke the news Sunday that Nehring had hired Michael Kamburowski to be the state party’s chief operations officer. The board of directors of the state party approved the hiring with a 19-1 vote.

Some bloggers and Republican activists have been calling for Nehring’s head. After all, immigration is a defining issue for conservatives lately. They can’t be seen wanting passionately to crack down on Mexican and Latino immigration while turning a blind eye to the status of people from English-speaking countries.

From the Chronicle‘s report that Nehring is getting “flayed” for the decision today:

Kamburowski was ordered deported in 2001, later was jailed for visa violations and responded by suing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for $5 million for wrongful arrest. Kamburowski was handpicked this spring for the top party finance job by Nehring, who became state Republican Party chief in February. The two worked together in the 1990s in Washington, D.C., for an organization run by conservative activist Grover Norquist.

Kamburowski has stepped down and a temporary replacement has already been named but there’s some worry about the potential fallout from the development.

San Diego businessman Steve Francis is on the board of directors of the state GOP and is the finance chairman, responsible for overseeing fundraising efforts.

I wondered what he thought about it all.

“Obviously, it was a major mistake for Ron Nehring,” Francis said. “It’s not something you should throw him under the bus for, but it’s certainly reflective of [Nehring’s] lack of experience dealing with employees.”

I asked Francis, who joined the state GOP’s board of directos at the same time Kamburowski was hired, if it would hurt his fundraising efforts.

“It’s certainly not going to help,” he said.

SCOTT LEWIS

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