An article Saturday about the replacement of Richard DeVos as Republican national finance chairman incorrectly identified him as a former executive officer of Amway. DeVos is the president of Amway Corp.
Republican National Chairman Richard Richards fired controversial GOP finance chairman Richard DeVos yesterday and replaced him with California Lt. Gov. Mike Curb, a fading political star and millionaire record tycoon.
DeVos, a former executive officer of Amway known for his high-power sales techniques, has been a controversial figure within the party since he made a speech at the June meeting of the Republican National Committee describing the economic recession as "a cleansing process." He was quoted at a subsequent fund-raiser as saying that he had never seen anyone unemployed who wanted a job.
However, the principal cause of his unpopularity, according to GOP sources, was that several members of the Eagles, an organization of contributors of $10,000 or more to the party, resented what one of them described as his "rah-rah tactics" of fund-raising.
In a statement issued through the RNC, DeVos praised small contributors as the backbone of the party fund-raising program and confirmed that Richards had asked for his resignation.
"Apparently, he did not like my style," DeVos said. "That is his privilege."
Curb, once considered a GOP political comer and protege of Ronald Reagan in California, lost a bitter June primary battle for the GOP gubernatorial nomination to state Attorney General George Deukmejian. Curb's defeat was abetted by disclosures in the closing weeks of the campaign that he had not registered to vote for several years after he became eligible and had flunked an Army physical examination.
But Curb's credentials as a moneymaker and political fund-raiser are proven.
He dropped out of college and made a fortune in the record business. A performing group known as the Mike Curb Congregation helped raised millions of dollars for Republican candidates.
GOP sources said that Curb came to White House political director Ed Rollins several weeks ago, described himself as "a better fund-raiser than a candidate" and offered to raise $3 million for the party within a 60-to-90-day period.
The proposal was particularly attractive to party officials because Curb has built his own fund-raising apparatus in California and boasts a number of big contributors who are not regular donors to the national party.
In California yesterday, Curb said that the party position, for which he will draw no salary so long as he is lieutenant governor, would not interfere with his state duties and that he would be available to step in if Gov. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr. left the state.