Utah’s Neighborhood Caucus System And Democracy In America

I was reading Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy In America. In a section on public officials, de Tocqueville observed the need for paying those in public office as unpaid offices creates “a class of wealthy and independent officials, to form the core of aristocracy.” He further concludes:

I regard the complete absence of unpaid offices as one of the most visible signs of the absolute empire that democracy exercises in America. Services rendered to the public, whatever they are, are paid: thus, each has not only the right, but the possibility, of rendering them. [Emphasis added]

It struck me that while we don’t have unpaid offices per se, we are headed to ‘bought offices’ and a new form of aristocracy/oligarchy on the electoral side of government. Part of this is perpetuated by the political-media elites in the form of “Count My Vote”/SB54 sophistry and their ongoing 2011 war to crush the neighborhood caucus system. If they succeed, we may retain the right of public office but will virtually lose the possibility of public office.

Through County My Vote and 2014’s SB54 (by State Sen. Curt Bramble), private political parties’ rights were usurped and the state (run by the politically entrenched) dictate how they will conduct business. Now candidates are strongly pushed to circumvent the neighborhood caucus and gather signatures to get on the ballot. This takes large sums of money which the candidate must already have or be aligned with political and media elites.

Furthermore, these elites bank on the fact that bypassing caucuses (where they may fail your neighbor delegates’ vetting), they will automatically trigger a primary race. Primaries cost more money and, again, the advantage goes to the elites with their access to funding and large media backing, particularly if you don’t have a significantly engaged electorate (in contrast to a neighbor delegate). Essentially, they fiscally steamroll better candidates.

Facing a caucus with engaged delegates, the ‘little guy’ without a big saving account who is honest and upholds local area principles and values has the possibility to defeat the big-money backed guy who may have splashy handouts and kitsch but no depth. This happened enough that the rejected political entrenched and Chamber of Commerce got upset. See my post on the neighborhood caucus for specifics on why it is the equalizer and best means of electing good men/women to lead in a republic.

Please don’t fall for their flattering sophistry. Support Keep My Voice and your neighborhood caucus. Let’s keep the possibility alive!

If you’re a delegate, thank you for the time and research you put in to selecting the candidates who best represent your neighborhood. Please consider voting for those candidates who did not gather signatures and stayed with the caucus only – if the signature gatherers’ are so darned keen on a primary, make sure they get one and have an opponent.

For all caucus posts, click here.

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Utah Swamp?: The Buckshot Caucus (Sen. Todd Weiler, a member), Daryl Acumen, GOP Chair Rob Anderson, And GOPe Elites

This came into my inbox and I’m printing it below. It describes some ‘very swampy’ and possibly illegal personal-destruction tactics used by those within the local GOP establishment (and deep state within the courts?) against those fighting to retain the caucus (and draw power back from elite power brokers). Those reportedly involved include Daryl Acumen and The Buckshot Caucus which includes GOP Chair Rob Anderson (see link below), local pol Todd Weiler, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, and Utah’s part of Chicago swamp politics, Curt Bramble (naturally):

“GOP Chairman Rob Anderson, Rep. Mike Mckell, Senator Curt Bramble, Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox, and Senator Todd Weiler are members–as well as other prominent political figures in Utah” [Links added and Bramble’s first name spelling corrected].

I have a pretty good suspicion as to who the “political attorney” mentioned in the report likely is but will keep that to myself (UPDATE: Weiler is that attorney) . The email copy/paste is below the fold (click on Continue reading). I’m not holding my breath on any local media reporting since they financially benefit from getting rid of a caucus system.

UPDATE: Bateman has released audio of a voicemail from Weiler related to the lawsuit/$1 mil offer. I also have a list of names who are purportedly members of the Buckshot Caucus (from their facebook group so bear in mind some folks may have been ‘added’ to the group and may not be active participants):

Daryl Acumen, Kathleen Anderson, Rob Anderson, Sylvia Anderson, Bart Barker, Doran Barton, Todd Bauerie, Kelsey Berg, Aaron Bludworth, Curt Bramble, Daniel Burton, David Butterfield, Terry Camp, Brian Chapman, Diane Christensen, Kim Coleman, Joel Coleman, Jon Cox, Spencer Cox, David Damschen, Brad Daw, Mike Deaver, Sophia DiCaro, Dana Dickson, Carl Downing, Tani Downing, Sue Duckworth, Heather Duel, Dan Duel, Kitty Dunn, Nic Dunn, Steve Eliason, Clair Ellis, John English, Scott Ericson, Chase Everton, Lincoln Fillmore, Adam Gardiner, Wade Garrett, BJ Griffin, Heather Groom, Keith Grover, Eric Hafen, Craig Hall, Dave Hansen, Jeff Hartley, Greg Hartley, Timothy Hawkes, Daniel Hemmert, Gabe Henderson, Deidre Henderson, Carolina Herrin, Casey Hill, Kory Holdaway, Greg Hughes, Sean Hullngr, Joe Hunter, Don Ipson, Nathan Ivie, Richard Jaussi, Leslie Jones, Chris Kantil, DeAnn Shmalz Kelly, John Knotwell III, Steve Lockhart, Hannah Lockhart, Stan Lockhart, Jeremy Lyman, Kari Malkovich, Nicole Martin, Boyd Matheson, Brian Maxwell, Dan McKay, Mike McKell, Jeff McNeil, Mike Mendenhall, Ronda Menlove, Enid Mickelsen, Bret Milburn, Raphael Millet, Shawn Milne, Jefferson Moss, Mike Mower, Aimee Newton, Kyle Palmer, Jake Parkinson, Lee Perry, Jeremy Peterson, Erin Preston, Amber Pugmire Johnson, Susan Pulsipher, Joe Pyrah, Holly Richardson, Jeremy Roberts, Jeff Rogers, Michelle Scharf, Mike Schultz, Jacob Scott, Rusty Scott, Jennifer Scott, Doug Short, Richard Snelgrove, Lowry Snow, Robert Spendlove, Howard Stephenson, David Stewart, Jeff Strain, Becky Strain, Stan Summers, Brent Taylor, Dan Thatcher, Barbara Thatcher-Stallone, Norm Thurston, DeLaina Tonks, Natalie Tonks, Paul Tonks, Evan Vickers, Russ Wall, Chuck Warren, David Watts, Hyrum Weibling, Todd Weiler, Nathan Whiting, Ryan Wilcox, Brad Wilson, Mike Winder

Continue reading

Bigger Swamp Playground? Rob Anderson, Count My Vote, And The Utah Republican Party

Earlier this month, I ran across a scathing report on Rob Anderson’s time with the Davis County Republican Party. He’s now Chair of the Utah Republican Party (GOP). I concluded the post with:

Will the state party (or media) address this at all or did Chairman Anderson find a bigger swamp to play in?

I may already have my answer. Two reports are out. A short KUTV blurb (Activist says “Civil War” in Utah GOP, special meeting Saturday). In this, a familiar tone is sounded:

“This disagreement with the governing body, and it’s rogue chair will end up in the courts,” said Bill Olson, retired CEO and Utah transplant, who immersed himself in state Republican politics. “He’s a rogue chair.”

For a more in depth report on what is going on, see the op-ed at Utah Standard News (NewsOp: Anderson Flips Again). The report gives much more background and was helpful for me. It notes that Anderson is attempting to usurp authority and may well be a plant by the Count My Vote folks:

Rather, his actions lend immense credibility to those who suspect he’s colluding with Count My Vote to bankrupt the Party, undermine the Caucus System, and silence the SCC.

As noted in the article, Count My Vote was pushed by high power political-media elites, many of whom stand to benefit from it:

If CMV passes, Utah’s media outlets will make a killing on primary campaign advertising. One political consultant stated “So much of this [CMV] has always been about lining the pockets of the consultant class. As a former (and sometimes current) member of the political consulting class, I can tell you that primaries are money makers for “campaign professionals”, and that mostly means media/ad buys.

Per KUTV, attendees include Teena Horlacher who is very familiar with Anderson’s (and his attorney’s) ‘ethical’ behavior while at the Davis County GOP. Let’s face it, the behavior was very swampy.

Better yet, it seems Anderson will be appointing an attorney for the SCC:

Anderson is also complaining about the special SCC meeting called for this Saturday. He says that the GOP attorney, who hasn’t been confirmed yet, has the opinion that the meeting is outside of GOP Bylaws.

If I were on the Utah GOP’s State Central Committee, I would be extremely careful about the attorney he appoints based on what went down at the Davis GOP. If it turns out to be his Davis County GOP days attorney, David Irvine, it only lends even more credibility to his association with Count My Vote since Irvine was (surprise!) a big proponent of it (just run a web search).

I haven’t heard what came of the Saturday meeting but I’ll try to update this if I find a summary somewhere. In the meantime, the SCC may want to keep an extraordinarily close watch on their indemnification protection…

UPDATE: Here’s a write up on the meeting which includes a link to a video of the entire meeting: UTGOP Chair Fails to Sabotage Successful Special SCC Meeting

Local Swamp Drain Needed: Utah Republican Party And Rob Anderson’s Ethics

I don’t know if this was ever covered by the Utah media (please let me know if they have). After a web search it seems like they’ve totally ignored the Davis County Republican Party (DCRP) press release published about a month ago. It’s pretty scathing.  Here are some snippets but hit the link and read the whole thing.

Ethics Complaints Substantiated against former Davis County Republican Party Chair Rob Anderson
Press Release, November 2, 2017

…The complaint was initially filed, on October 16, 2015. In the process of the investigation, the accused, Rob Anderson, when asked to answer questions in relation to the charges responded through his attorney, David Irvine.

Irvine, with Anderson present, informed the ethics committee that if they proceeded with any further investigation he would bring suit against each individual member of the ethics committee on Anderson’s behalf. He based this threat on a supposed loophole within the constitution of the DCRP, which, according to Irvine, left ethics committee members vulnerable due to lack of protection from potential lawsuits. Under this threat, one ethics committee member resigned. The remaining committee members, fearful to proceed due to a question of legal indemnification, suspended their work on the investigation…

….With the change of party leadership in May of 2017, it was discovered that Anderson had removed the ethics committee from the liability insurance policy held by the DCRP shortly after the 2016 County Convention without discussion or consent of the County Central Committee or executive committee…

…With the change of party leadership in May of 2017, it was discovered that Anderson had removed the ethics committee from the liability insurance policy held by the DCRP shortly after the 2016 County Convention without discussion or consent of the County Central Committee or executive committee…

…The workings of the ethics committee are very confidential as stipulated by the DCRP Constitution and Bylaws, however, part of the complaint and some of the specifics regarding it were leaked to the press in 2016. This satirical and slanted article is believed to be aimed at shutting down the ethics committee and others and to dissuade any future allegations from being brought forward. (Rolly: Signature-gathering firm goes from villain to hero for Utah GOP, archive.sltrib.com).

“In a world where it seems no one is held accountable for unethical behavior it is gratifying to see the ethics committee rebound and come forward with their finding in a courageous manner,” said Teena Horlacher, current chair of the DCRP….

Wow. So, if I get this, Anderson removed the ethics committee’s indemnification then sicced his lawyer (David Irvine*) on them to threaten and intimidate them (since they no longer had indemnification protection). Once the party fixed rules and the investigation could restart, they discovered the indemnification trick Anderson had pulled (I wonder if he pulled that under the advice/scheme of his attorney who then used the opening to threaten the ethics committee). Then someone leaked info to Paul Rolly so he could write (another) one of his distorted, pseudo-journalist hit pieces (…should I even use “journalist” in a sentence with Rolly’s name?…).

First, well done to Teena Horlacher and the DCRP ethics committee for trying to bring this to light. Next, where is the media on this?! Seriously, I couldn’t find a report on this at all. But Rob Anderson is gone from the DCRP!, you say. Yeah, that’s true. He’s not in charge of the DCRP; he’s only the Chairman of the Utah Republican Party.

Will the state party (or media) address this at all or did Chairman Anderson find a bigger swamp to play in?

UPDATE: Maybe I do know why the media wants to ignore this. It appears Anderson may well be a Count My Vote ally which means lots of $$$ for the media via political ads etc. – see the latest post on Rob Anderson and the Utah GOP

*If you read this blog and Irvine’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the same attorney who acted as the surrogate attack dog for Bountiful Mayor Randy Lewis’ “positive” campaign. UPDATE: Heh, if you can laugh at irony, Irvine is with Utahns for Ethical Government and A Better Utah. Giggle.