Reagan Wing readers may recall an article last month concerning the Grays Harbor County Republican Party and some shady goings on (catch up here). Well, it looks like they may be at it again.
At the June Central Committee meeting, an Aberdeen police officer was in attendance (for the first time, according to Michael Thompson) allegedly at the request of [illegally] acting chair, Beth DeVaul, and sat near Michael Thompson during the meeting. The GHRP CC meeting minutes from the meeting in which Thompson was [illegally] “ousted” were approved [illegally] WITHOUT any debate. The one PCO who did object, was called “out of order” [illegally] by DeVaul.
This time, Mr. Lowder seems to be playing games with the bylaws. He has submitted two amendments for consideration by the GHRP Central Committee. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not uncommon for a Precinct Committee Officer to submit such proposals; what’s a bit troubling here is the content of these proposed changes.
In an email sent to the PCOs of the GHRP, Mr. Lowder outlined these proposed amendments:
I, C. K. Lowder, hereby submit the following Amendments to our Bylaws:
1. Add to Article V as “A.” to Section 1, other letters devolve to B, C,D,E, etc.:
“All persons seeking to be elected as an Officer of the Grays Harbor Republican Party shall be subject to a background check. The required information shall be provided to the Nominations Committee. This information will remain confidential and used solely for the purpose for which it was provided.”
2. Add to Article V as “B.” to Section 1, other letters devolve to C,D,E, etc.:
“All persons seeking to be elected as an Officer of the Grays Harbor Republican Party shall provide to the current Nominations Committee a minimum of three references for review by the PCOs as requested.”
Respectfully submitted 7 May 2013,
These proposals can also be seen on the official GHRP website.
Listen, I’m all for some due diligence, but background checks? Really? What kind of information will be required? Social Security number? Bank accounts and investments? Financial records going back who-knows-how-long? How about a DNA sample and dental records? (Of course, I hope that I’m suggesting that last one in jest.) How long will these records be kept, and who will be keeping them? Will the people keeping them be signing confidentiality agreements with both the party and the candidate?
Who’s going to be conducting these background checks? Will it be through a licensed private investigator, certified to do this sort of thing? What will they be allowed to look for? Traffic citations for “failing to wear his seat belt properly?”
Has anyone checked the background of Mr. Lowder?
One also wonders who will be required to pay for these background checks. Surely not the party. The candidate will have to do that themselves, I suppose. What a fantastic idea! A filing fee for party office. Quite a fundraising scheme. With a bit of a mark up, and some hotly contested positions, the GHRP could be bringing in some good money every two years, unless they keep improperly removing duly elected officers and having to replace them. Then, who knows? The sky’s the limit!
That is, if a candidate can make it through the proposed pre-screening process of providing references to the Nominations Committee. Oh, and the PCOs, I’m sure that they’ll be provided with the references without a single word from party officials on who to support. If you were asked to be a reference, would you want all of your contact information being distributed to all of the GHRP PCOs? Will they each be allowed the opportunity to call these references? Where does it end? It’s madness! There’s so many questions about this and so many openings for corruption and abuse here, that it’s not a matter of if someone will exploit the gathered information for personal, monetary or political gain, but only a matter of when.
Reagan Wing sources tell us that Mr. Lowder, at the June Central Committee meeting, asked to have the vote on these proposals suspended so that he could add to these amendments. I’m told that the Committee is expected to vote on these proposals in early July, which would give the PCOs no time to review the changed proposals. There are legal and parliamentary problems.
Any constraint on the freedom of the Central Committee by any other body to nominate and elect any candidate is an open violation of State Law (RCW 29A.80.011 & 29A.80.030). Further, as we have already noted, the only person currently legally authorized to chair a Grays Harbor County Republican Central Committee meeting for proposed elections, bylaws changes, or any other purpose, is Michael Thompson.
We think Grays Harbor would do well to remember the old adage,
“Beware of Rules violators bearing Bylaws amendments. “
The Reagan Wing will, as usual, be giving updates as events warrant.