Editor’s note: This article was written within 48 hours of the first day of business at the 2012 Washington State Republican Convention in Tacoma and uploaded to The Reagan Wing, where it has waited for nearly a year, although regularly revisited by our staff… Like the story of the Republican Liberty Caucus Kickoff in January 2013, Something held us back from publishing …until now. The author, was an eyewitness to the events discussed in Lord of the RLC #9: The Silmarillion Secret. This article is published now as a response to the comments of Michael & Katja Delavar.
Standing on Principle at the Washington State Convention
Michele St. Pierre (c)2012
THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION AND AGAINST THOSE WHO WOULD COVER IT UP
I want you to know that there are many who do not want me to tell this story. In the past, sometimes I have held back from publishing things that I thought might be damaging to the Liberty Movement, things that might have reflected poorly on leaders, or demoralized people, or made us appear divided. I have often agonized over these decisions, and be assured they were not made lightly.
But at this time, I believe that the public’s right to know, is more important than any other consideration. The purpose of a Free Press, as enshrined in our First Amendment, is not to tell about the sex life of some beautiful starlet, not to feed the public a cleansed and censored propaganda stream of entertaining faux news. The primary, over-riding purpose of a Free Press is to publish the truth about our political system, so that the public can make informed decisions when they choose to participate in our system of self government. Without it, self government, as envisioned by the Founders, is not possible.
Many journalists have lost their lives trying to report the truth. Many have been excoriated, had their reputations destroyed, been imprisoned or suffered other grave consequences as a result of their efforts to tell the truth to the public.
LET’S MAKE A DEAL
Over time and with experience at many County conventions across the State, I have realized, when you don’t have a majority, there are two ways to fight a political battle. People can stand on principle, fight to allow free speech so that Robert’s Rules can be utilized in the way it was intended to allow the minority to become the majority through the power of their words, their ideals, and their character. Or, you can make a deal with the opposition.
The first is clear. It allows you to proceed with clean hands and a clean conscience. It allows you to build credibility, for individuals, and a movement. It allows those tainted with corruption or perhaps new to the process to see something different, something positive, something hopeful and perhaps change their viewpoint. For those steeped in corruption, who have abandoned all principle, it causes knee jerk fear reactions that can be damning to them, which is gratifying and sometimes even amusing, raising the morale of the Liberty Movement.
The second option is the route most taken. Deal making of one kind or another governs our political system and has led us into the corruption that we currently have, masquerading as a Republic. This is the story of deals made during the Ron Paul campaign, at the Convention, what they were, and the people who made them
It is up to you, the public, to decide what the ramifications are, whether you agree or disagree, and what you think about the people involved.
The night before the convention, I held a meeting during the same time as the “party” that most of the delegates attended, hosted by Katja Delavar. I believed at that point that there should be some real strategizing taking place, rather than just a “feel good” exercise in futility. We did not have a majority going into the Convention. But we did have some weapons in our arsenal.
The most potent of these weapons was the 70 Challenges filed with the Washington State Republican Party Credentials Committee. Yes, 70! Most of these were thrown out by the Credentials Committee, to benefit Mitt Romney, and to cover up the massive cheating that had occurred around the State to give him the nomination. This cheating and the failure to teach our people how to prevent it and how to fight it and how to use it if it happened, is what caused us to lose Washington State for Ron Paul.
THE MINORITY REPORT
We had about twenty activists at our meeting and we discussed how we were going to introduce those credential’s challenges to the body of delegates at large. We discussed the possibility of a “rump” convention, where we would elect our own slate of delegates, in case the Washington State Delegation was thrown out for the massive, documented cheating that had taken place. There was a minority credentials report to be put in the record and voted on.
But I knew that it was probably too little, too late. It was the Eleventh hour and our people had been poorly organized, were not trained in how to use Robert’s Rules, and did not have even one effective leader to rally them. If you are going to use a political strategy effectively, involving the whole group of delegates, then everyone must have some sort of understanding of it ahead of time. At least, the all important WILL TO FIGHT must be fostered, rather than actively diluted.
SOTELO VERSUS PARRIS
Around 9:45 am, the day of the Convention on June 1st, I was out in front of the doors where the Washington State Republican Convention was being held, working to get
signatures from people on the Credentials Committee for the Minority Report when I looked over and saw two police officers (1 male – 1 female) talking with my friend Doug Parris at the end of the South Hallway.
I knew that King County Chair Lori Sotelo had placed a restraining order on Doug Parris, and that he and another friend had talked to the police the day before and the officers had said they would not enforce the restraining order at the convention center because it was not Ms. Sotelo’s place of employment. Also, I had been around Doug most of the morning and had been in and out of the ballroom and had not seen Ms. Sotelo anywhere at the the time, so I was curious what the problem was. Indeed, a friend was acting as a scout for Doug to make sure that he did not get anywhere near Lori Sotelo by accident. Also, we were afraid that Sotelo might be trying to find DOUG, so that she could force a violation of the restraining order herself, in order to get him arrested.
The only reason for this restraining order was to stop Doug Parris from participating in the political process. He never stalked or harassed Sotelo. Indeed he has never even seen her outside of political events. Her only real quibble was that he “took her picture.” Since she is a public figure, participating in numerous public meetings, where many people take pictures at will, this is bogus on the face of it. It was merely a political move to block Doug, who has printed many articles about the Sotelo administration, from exercising his First Amendment Rights, guaranteed by none other than our dear old, abused friend, the U.S. Constitution.
I approached and the police began to handcuff Doug, and we asked “is he being arrested?” and the male police officer answered, “No, he is being detained.” and we said, “then why do you need to handcuff him?” and the policeman said, “because it is just our procedure. He is not being arrested at this time, we are just following procedure.” Friends began taking the Officer’s information.
Then began a discussion with the Officers about the fact that they had spoken with two officers earlier in the week (giving the names to the Officers) and they had agreed that they would not keep Doug from attending the convention because it was not Sotelo’s “place of business” as defined in the restraining order and indeed this colleague had spoken with Washington State Republican Chairman, Kirby Wilbur, with three witnesses and Kirby had verified that Lori Sotelo was not an employee of the Washington State Republican Party.
The male Officer said that the Republican Party had rented the room and could impose any rules that they wanted, such as they had imposed a rule that even though open carry was legal in the State, the Party had requested that anyone who was open carrying would be removed from the convention. This seemed to imply that somehow Doug was in violation of a rule, rather than a law.
The upshot of all of this, after some wrangling, was that Doug, surrounded by the four officers, was escorted through the Convention Center (it is a huge place and packed with people) with friends following. He was taken outside the front doors and told he could not re-enter the building.
Thus setting the stage for a Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit. Information on the case is here if you wish to donate to help Doug. Doug is being represented by none other than the Steve Pidgeon who is also running for Attorney General of this State. His willingness to take on the Establishment is testament to what a great A.G. he would make for this State. Donate here.
ABANDON ALL PRINCIPLE, YE WHO ENTER HERE
After that experience, I re-entered the Convention Center and proceeded upstairs to be waylaid by Katja Delavar, who began walking with me and talking. The following is my best recollection of our conversation.
“Michele, you can’t do this, you can’t introduce the Credential Challenges on the floor! If you do that it will endanger the 3rd CD, and the delegates will be thrown out. You have to stop the delegates from making a motion.”
“And why would they all be thrown out?” Considering I had just watched my friend, who has been a lion against corruption in the GOP, thrown out by the police for his perseverance, I wasn’t in a great mood to hear about the “expediency” of ignoring corruption.
“The Romney people said that if we bring up any Credentials Challenges they will vote them all down! You have to stop it! If the 3rd CD gets tossed out then Michael and I will lose and we won’t get any National Delegates. Are you running for Chair?”
I said that no, I wasn’t planning to run for Chair. Not that it was really her business if I was.
“Oh good, National doesn’t want us running anyone for Chair. It would just demoralize everyyone.”
“Why would that demoralize them? What will demoralize them is if they do not see us mounting any opposition!”
“They will see our numbers!”
“Everyone already knows our numbers, Katja.”
I said I thought Tamra Smilanich was going to run for chair. (I had spoken with her in the morning and she said she would run, so I decided that I wouldn’t run against her). Katja said they had already talked to Tamra. So the fix was in.
“National doesn’t want us to run anyone for Chair. National thinks we should just let Kirby have it. You’ll see, you have to talk to Jedd.”
At which point, she ran off to locate Jedd Coburn, who had just flown in the day before to be some sort of liason from the National Campaign.
To say that I had had enough of the “National Campaign’s” bungling of the Ron Paul Campaign in Washington State would be putting it mildly. I believed that it was important that we not roll over for the Republican Establishment. Losing was one thing, not opposing the blatant corruption the GOP had promulgated was another.
Katja and Jedd approached me. “Tell her Jedd,” Katja cajoled, “tell her that National doesn’t want the Credentials Challenges brought up and they don’t want us to run a chair.” She reminded me AGAIN that the 3rd CD was at stake and that she and Michael would not be elected if I didn’t stop the Credentials challenges from being motioned on the Floor of the Convention.”
Jedd is a big guy, but he was hunched over, looking very uncomfortable at being where he was. He did corroborate what Katja was saying.
I let loose on him. “So you come here for one day and are going to tell us in this State what WE should be doing, when you don’t know us, the factors involved, the players, or anything about how this affects the Liberty Movement! Ron Paul’s Campaign will be over in this State and we still have a movement to motivate going forward and we have been lied to and cheated on by this GOP here and you are telling us to just roll over and ignore it!”
“I am an individual in liberty and I don’t HAVE to listen to anything you say, or do anything you tell me!”
I am paraphrasing, because the actual conversation was actually a lot longer and more detailed, but you get the picture.
At this point, I left the area and went inside the convention, where another liberty activist was busy emailing Credential Committee members to help me get signatures on the Minority Report.
I went back outside to wait and see if any of those people responding. It was then that I encountered a full court press – Katja, Jedd, Matt Dubin, Scott Shock, Larry Hvode and others all attacking me at once.
You cannot do this Michele!”
“You have to stop this – the Romney people will throw out all the delegations.”
“They’ll throw out the 36th Leg District, the one that you chaired, Michele.” As if I had some ego-trip about that particular delegation, that they could leverage against me!
“If you bring up the Credentials, you will lose any possibility of winning any delegates for Ron Paul.”
“We addressed all these things already in the Credentials Committee and it’s a losing battle,” said Larry Hvode.
“You have to give us the names of the delegates that are going to make your motion so we can stop them.”
And from Katja, “We’ll lose the 3rd CD!”
THEY BECOME THAT WHICH THEY ARE TRYING TO DEFEAT
This went on in a round robin barrage and I was stricken with the surreal quality of it all. Many of my liberty cohorts arguing Establishment Romney GOP talking points.
Scott Shock said that we were going to bring up the most egregious offense, the Kitsap Convention, which was re-convened in contravention of the rules – 3 weeks after the deadline for all conventions to be finished.
He showed me the text of what they were going to say on his mobile phone. He said they were going to bring it up as a point of information. I read through it and it looked good, especially when they actually got down to making the motion about it.
“Well, I agree with this, this looks really good,” I said, pointing at the part about the motion.
“Well, we’re not making any motion. We’re only doing the part about the point of inquiry. The Romney people said that if we make any motions about Credential Challenges they’re going to bring all the challenges up to a vote, which means we will lose all the delegations. We’ll lose all the delegates.”
Katja reiterated, “Michael and I will not get elected to National.”
I turned to her, “Katja, whether you and Michael are elected as National Delegates does not even enter into any of my thinking here. It is absolutely irrelevant to me. So please just QUIT SAYING IT!”
FOR WHAT DOES IT PROFIT A MAN TO GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD AND FORFEIT HIS SOUL?
I pondered things for a moment. I certainly did not want to lose for Ron Paul the 5-6 delegates that we had a possibility of winning. Some of these people were friends, who I had once trusted. But I realized in that moment, that what they were saying was that we should ignore the corruption, that we should do the bidding of the Romney people, those evil, twisted corrupt people, who were so horrible, that they had actually infiltrated and taken over the Santorum Campaign, placing their people in leadership positions, so they could run his campaign for the benefit of Romney.
And why were our people, the people who were supposed to have such high principles, even speaking with these people, much less making deals with them, as if they had something, anything we needed? I could see Doug and my friend’s faces, clearly in mind. The faces of purity, of clarity, and of goodness. The look of taking a clean, uncompromising stand, from which there would be no retreat, anymore. Not now, not ever. The look of liberty, the face of our movement, if it were to survive. They would not want me talking about them in these terms as they seek no personal adulation for their efforts. They seek something far more important – Justice.
“I believe that we have a difference of philosophy here. I don’t think that if you brought up the cheating and the corruption on the floor, that all the Romney delegates would vote in lockstep to uphold it. They are individuals. Not all of them are corrupt,” I said.
I walked away after some more argument, seeing no use in continuing. I left the building for awhile and breathed some fresh air. When I returned I saw the same group of people gathered around Michael Thompson, Grays County Coordinator for the RP Campaign. They were giving him the same treatment I had received. He was our motion maker.
I went over to back him up. They were making the same arguments against him that they had against me. He was standing strong, absolutely stalwart. We stood side by side and Michael had the same look that Doug gets, the look of a man who knows where he stands and what he is about. He looked like he was actually enjoying the debate. I admired that, because I was finding it rather vexing, myself. I knew that I could completely trust him, and I had only just met him that day.
A guy, whose name I can’t remember, from Clark County, said , “we can worry about the corruption later, in December, at the organization meetings.”
I said, “I fundamentally disagree with that statement. We have to fight corruption NOW, at this moment, in fact everywhere we see it, when we see it. Not tomorrow, not next month, but NOW. This corruption has been going on in the party decades, we have to STOP it! Ron Paul might have won Washington State, if we had not allowed it to happen. We have the goods on them TODAY!
Michael Thompson stage whispered to me, “do you have my names?” I realized that I had not heard from one of the Credentials people we had contacted, except Larry Hvode. “I think they got to them,” I replied and he nodded. “But Doug told me that it was not important, we still need to get the report in the record.”
We argued some more with our fellows, who reminded me more and more of the Republican Establishment. It was a bitter pill to take.
I told them that the delegates on the floor were individuals. I was not a delegate and I was not in control of them. I believed in those delegates and they could make the decisions themselves on what they thought they should do. I trusted them and had no interest in twisting arms to make them do anything.
I was thoroughly sick of the idea that some of our leaders thought the delegates should be manipulated and forced into some sort of warped alliance with Romney corruption for some minor political gain. It is through such sell-outs that America has lost her way. I wanted no part of it. We were supposed to be the Liberty Movement.
I walked away from it again.
Later that afternoon, I was inside watching the convention. Before the adoption of the Credentials Report, Nels Blair of King County made a point of inquiry regarding the second Kitsap County Convention which was re-convened weeks after the deadline in contravention of the rules. Among other things, he asked if a Chair has a right to make rules for a convention. Kirby went into a long-winded narrative of why he had decided to allow that convention, conceding that he knew it might be challenged, and then saying he would leave it up to the body to decide.
At that moment, I realized that silence could indeed be deafening. That silence could speak. That it could speak of all the cowed and threatened delegates, afraid to make the necessary motion to address the grievous violation of rules which seated a bogus delegation, required to be sheep to promote a dubious political expediency. That it could speak volumes of a Ron Paul campaign, that had somehow abandoned principle, until it was all about winning, and thus it became the very thing which it was striving to defeat, and lost anyways, without the redemption of having taken the higher ground.
No one spoke, no one made the motion. It was only a few moments, but in those seconds the Liberty movement was effectively checkmated by Romney threats. My heart grieved.
THE PATRIOTS MAKE THEIR MOVE
But then Michael Thompson stood up. He made the motion for the Minority Report to replace the majority report from key counties. He made it, even though he had been told that the Romney people would then open up all the challenged delegations and the sky would fall. He made it, even after having a entire group of people pound away at him and tell him that he would lose all of Ron Paul’s delegates. He made it because he knew that somehow, somewhere, someone had to fight the corruption that is eating out the heart of the country, permeating the minds and spirits of the body politic. He made it to combat the “business as usual” attitude that has fomented the loss of our rule of law. I was so proud of him at that moment. His motion was voted down, of course. But the Minority Report was in the record now.
And lo and behold, nothing happened. The sky did not fall, the Romney camp did not try to open all of the Credential’s Challenges. It had all been an idle threat. One we wouldn’t have heard at all except that our people ventured into the enemy camp to try to make “a deal with the devil”. They could have taken the high ground after all, with no consequences. But they were played. They fell for that threat, like the political novices they were.
Michael Thompson’s motion was to be the bright, shining moment of the entire Convention. Most people would never completely understand what had happened. But I knew.