In our Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson wrote about the Consent of the Governed. He said that “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” This is a fundamental truth essential to the establishment of our Nation.
One of the ways we express our “consent” is through the ballot process in open elections. There have been many instances in the past 250 years were there have been attempts to subvert this process but few have been so bold and brazen as the recent attempt by the Executive Committee of the Lebanon Country Republican Committee here in Pennsylvania.
In a radical move, this committee determined that a primary election is not enough to determine who should move forward as the candidate in a voting district in the county. Some individuals on the executive committee were not elected as committee members but rather were hand selected and placed on the Executive Committee. Then in a startling attempt to control the election process met and voted in an attempt to void the primary election by seeking to have the winner of the Primary removed from the ballot. Isn’t this a blatant attempt to hijack an election?
The 102nd has duly elected committee representation. The people in that district gave their “consent” to the committee people in this district, not to the 26 people on the executive committee. The people in that district gave their “consent” at the ballot box during the primary understanding that in the general election other avenues are available to them should they change their votes. There will be an independent candidate, a democrat and the possibility of a write-in candidate as well. Shouldn’t it be up to the people in that district to make that choice? Should an internal committee, some not elected, many not even in that district, have the power to try and control the election process to the point of attempting to remove an individual from the ballot and silence the voices of the 3,400 people in that district who voted?
Prior to the primary election objections about the candidate in question had every opportunity to come forward. Many of the people on this internal committee who cast this vote were silent….they said nothing. They made no attempt to inform the public of any problems with this candidate. The election resulted in changes in the Lebanon County Republican Committee that resulted in a new chair. This chair is a staff member of leading elected representative to the General Assembly, Senator Scarnatti. He is also the son of an individual who is one of the foremost lobbyists in Harrisburg through Long Nyquist and associates.
As pointed out in a recent ABC27 news story (link), Long Nyquist and Associates have taken on clients and fought against principles of the Republican Party. The website of the Long Nyquist lobbying firm boats “superior relationships” but few realize who those relationships involve. As the ABC27 article points out Long Nyquist have the ear and trust of Republican leadership, yet have as clients the unions representing liquor store workers, UFCW, and the teachers union, PSEA. Meanwhile, four years of an all-Republican state government (House, Senate, Governor) failed to pass liquor privatization, school choice, pension reform, or paycheck protection. Long Nyquist and Associates also actively participate in the management of political campaigns that included Mauree Gingrich in the 101st and the failed attempt at stopping Scott Wagner’s bid for the Senate seat representing York County. In this process they establish PAC’s where they can hide their identity from the general public as they publish hit pieces on opposing candidates that often have a thin basis on reality.
Should you, as a voter, have the right to know that the same person being paid to run the campaigns of the people you elect is also fighting against liquor privatization, school choice, pension reform, or paycheck protection? Don’t you have a right to know that the same individual who is managing the campaign of a candidate who may be claiming to be for Property Tax Independence but that lobbyist/consultant is also fighting to empower the PSEA who is one of our strongest opponents?
A bill was introduced in April of this year, SB 752, which would put controls on the lobbyists/consultants like Long Nyquist and Associates but it has failed to garner the support necessary to move the bill forward. That alone should be an indicator of the problem. Our legislators do not want to see the type of controls in this legislation that enable these lobbyist/consultants concerning the election process because it often, as in the case of Mauree Gingrich, protects the incumbent.
As one individual commented in posts related to this article on the internet, “who is Long Nyquist anyhow?” That’s a larger part of the problem. The average voter isn’t even aware of how the entities operate and in some cases, that these entities even exist.
All elections begin at the local level. They begin with the party committees. They exert some controls over the process through endorsements but we should have serious concerns when individuals controlling that process have a conflict of interest in this process. Long Nyquist and Associates do not do what they do for free. They are paid to do what they do. As demonstrated by who they have taken on as clients, they are paid to represent people who work against conservative principles. Shouldn’t we ask ourself why Mauree Gingrinch, who claims to be a conservative would hire a firm that represents organizations working against Conservative values? Shouldn’t we also be concerned when that firm now takes leadership of the local Republican Committee?
The recent action by the executive committee without consulting the greater body of the duly elected representatives of the Lebanon County Republican Committee or even just the duly elected representatives of the 102nd district is a gross assumption of power. A grab of power that should concern even the most casual voter. It is a statement declaring that the vote of the people no longer matters. The issues related to the candidate in question are nothing new, so why now?
The actions of this executive committee comes after many of them have circulated a petition in support of an independent candidate in violation of the by-laws of the Lebanon County Republican Committee. This includes David Arnold, the County District Attorney, who should know something about the rule of law. It also includes Josh Golgowski who is the newly elected head of the Young Republicans and also serves on the Lebanon City School Board. The Young Republicans, under Mr. Golgowski, had already chosen to endorse a candidate during the primary in violation of the by-laws. This seems to imply that the by-laws are to keep the rest of the committee in line, while the leadership is immune from the rules.
The tentacles of control on Lebanon County related to Mike Long of Long Nyquist and Associates is deeply entrenched and, in my opinion, a serious problem. He has been hired by elected representatives of this county who are quick to dismiss the Long Nyquist connections to principles alien to Conservative Values in the county. While he is representing them he is also representing contradicting organizations and lobbying against those principles. It all harkens back to the Chip Brightbill days but that should come as no surprise to us since he is Chip Brightbill’s brother-in-law.
Back in 2006 Senator John Eichelberger became so concerned about a situation that Brad Bumstead gave the name of “Bonusgate” that he persuaded Tom Corbett, then the Attorney General, to invistigate. Senator Eichelberger had first hand knowledge of what was happening since he was running against Robert Jubelirer. Mike Long was Jubelirer’s chief of staff at the time and over the next two years Long would receive a total of $41,402 in bonuses related to bonusgate. It was the top amount in the General Assembly. (See Keystone Corruption, author Brad Bumstead pg.82). Bonusgate led to the arrest of Mike Veon. On March 23, 2010, after a week of deliberation, Veon was found guilty on 14 counts related to using taxpayer-paid bonuses to reward state workers for campaign efforts, illegal campaign fundraising, other campaign efforts and a single count of conflict-of-interest for having aides drive two motorcycles to a North Dakota rally. Jubelirer was never prosecuted nor was Mike Long.
Long would then partner with Todd Nyquist to form Long Nyquist and associates. As the ABC27 article states:
- Todd Nyquist was Scarnati’s chief of staff. The pair left the legislature to found the firm in 2007, but have remained close to the Senate Republican caucus.
- Long married Amy, longtime staffer to Senator Pat Vance (R-Cumberland).
- Nyquist is married to Noel, former staffer to Senator Don White (R-Armstrong/Butler/Clearfield/Indiana/Westmoreland).
- Both wives work at Long Nyquist, according to its website.
- So does Megan Crompton, wife of Drew Crompton, Scarnati’s chief counsel.
- So does Megan Callahan, wife of Krystjan Callahan, chief of staff to House Majority Leader Mike Turzai.
- So does Tim Nyquist, Todd’s twin brother and former chief of staff to Appropriations Chair Jake Corman.
- Mike Long’s son, Casey, makes $104,000 as a Scarnati staffer.
Friends and those who hire Mike Long might call these “important connections” but those connections are a serious conflict of interest when it comes to the average voter who is often entirely unaware of what is really going on behind the scenes. That relationship and those connections are now being exerted on the local committee in an attempt to ignore the voter, silencing their voice through the voting process while hijacking an election. If you empower the Long’s of this world by hiring them you contribute to a force that is working against principles many of you claim to stand for and to me this is the height of political hypocrisy.
Even if the by-laws allowed for such actions, which they do not, there is nothing ethical in what has been attempted. The fact that it is being attempted and the 26 votes reflect some important players in Lebanon County elections should raise alarm in the county but Long is depending on the typical voter apathy that has been so prevalent in the past.
Senator Scott Wagner called it a cancer and he’s right. It’s a disease that spreads and results in people refusing to look at the history of unethical practices and abuses of the voters and hire him based on a reputation of connections that Long has carefully manufactured. As long as we continue to ignore the cause of the disease it will continue to spread.
The press seems to want to make this about the candidate in question as witnessed in articles in PennLive and the Lebanon Daily News. That only empowers Mike Long while ignoring the cancer. This is about Mike Long, Long Nyquist and Associates and their attempts to negate your vote while they violate their own by-laws to undermine an election process.
The Lebanon County Republican Executive Committee has not simply ignored the “consent of the governed” they have trampled on it as surely as Barrack Hussein Obama is trampling on our Constitution. Your right to vote is the sacred responsibility of those you elect to protect. An attempt to subvert that process is tyranny and oppression founded on a belief that they know better than you do. They perpetuate that by making sure they keep important information away from you while they plot behind closed doors to manipulate and control elections just as this action demonstrates.
The question then comes down to what you are willing to do about it. Will the duly elected representatives defend your vote or will they defend the Long’s? If you say nothing, if you do nothing, then you are just as much to blame. You are also empowering the Long’s of this world. Silence IS consent. Appeasement IS surrender. Contact your committee representative, the person you elected to represent you on this committee, and tell them that this action is unacceptable and that you will not allow our elections to be hijacked or your voice to be silenced.
A government of the people, by the people and for the people can mean any kind of government. It’s up to us to make it mean only one kind….uncorrupted, free.
If not you, who
If not now….when.