The Untouchables

Guess things are so bad in the California GOP that they have to hire immigrants to run it…

I don’t blame them. I live in California, have actually sat in the same room with Ron Nehring (shudder!), and I wouldn’t go near these people if I were a California Republican either.

Aussie hired by state GOP embroiled in immigration lawsuit

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.

As the state GOP’s new operating officer, the 35-year-old Kamburowski was handpicked for the post by state Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring, who became party chief in February.

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.

In a week in which the immigration bill is being revisited by Congress — and after Republican presidential candidates and party officials nationwide have called for secure borders and tough enforcement of illegal immigration — the past immigration troubles of a high-ranking California GOP official has the potential to both endanger Republican fundraising in crucial California, the nation’s political ATM, while also handing Democratic opponents ammunition for coming campaigns.