After the Exec. Com. of the Lebanon County Republican Committee (LCRC) made an unprecedented move to have a candidate removed from the ballot on August 7, attempts have been made to justify that vote.
In related news stories that followed it was stated by the Chair, Casey Long, that the reason for the vote was based on previous poor performance by the candidate in prior elections. Then Dave Arnold, the County District Attorney, was later quoted as citing PFA’s concerning the candidate, which included a violation of those PFA’s as a concern.
Are these important issues that need further discussion? Certainly the PFA’s raise a concern but previous performance in elections is a weak justification. The fact is that most committee people had, to some degree, been made aware of the PFA’s prior to the Primary Election and then did nothing.
As a child you may have been told that two wrongs do not make a right. That certainly applies here. The PFA’s on Russ Diamond are a separate issue worthy of discussion but that not really what this is about. This is about the Executive Committee and their actions.
1) The Executive Committee of the LCRC does not have the authority to perpetrate such an action. They serve in an advisory capacity to the greater body. The vote was an action whereby the Executive Committee was speaking on behalf of the entire committee without speaking with them. There is nothing advisory or representative in this action and is a gross usurpation of power.
2) The Bylaws forbid such an action. Article 1, Section 5 “In General Elections, County Committee members shall not publicly oppose any Republican candidate”. The Primary is over. We are now in the General Election yet in July of this years members of the committee as well as members of the Lebanon County Young Republicans were circulating petitions for an independent candidate. Other members of the Committee signed those petitions all in violation of the bylaws. The action taken by the Executive Committee further violates those same bylaws.
3) A vote of this nature requires that certain rules of Parliamentary procedure be strictly followed. Rather than a vote to take this before the greater Committee, the Executive Committee acted on their own in violation of those rules of procedure. During the casting of the vote it was simply asked if anyone disagrees whereby one individual raised their hand. It was assumed that the rest of the individuals in attendance were yes votes without formally calling for that vote.
4) Proxy voting was allowed for this vote. No notification was provided prior to the meeting informing those who would vote on the nature of the vote or that this matter was even going to be discussed and yet certain individuals gave their trust to others on such an important matter even though that action required breaking the bylaws. It demonstrates a flaw in the Proxy process but raises a question. How can any individual delegate through Proxy an authority for another individual to violate the bylaws on their behalf? In a true Representative Government, such an action should never be allowed.
5) The bylaws of the LCRC state that 25 members of the committee can call for a general meeting with the entire body. There were a total of 26 votes questionably counted as yes votes which include a body of Members at Large who, combined, make up far more than 25 individuals. Rather than use this rule to hold a meeting in front of the greater body of committee representatives, the executive committee acted on their own, using authority they do not have to commit an action that violates the committee’s bylaws. Instead they chose to conduct this business behind closed doors where information to the public related to this decision has to be pieced together by persistent individuals who want to get to the facts.
As John Adams said, facts are stubborn things. The questionable conduct of the candidate was public knowledge before the Primary Election. Information about that conduct did not come from the committee but from a write-in candidate working outside the committee. That is an indisputable fact. The PFA’s and things related to those PFA’s did not happen after the Primary. The rumors of a video that is to be leaked to the press from these same people isn’t something new although I’m sure they will try and spin it that way. That video existed before the Primary and some individuals involved in this decision had that video back then. They chose to sit on it when the bylaws did not forbid such actions by the committee demonstrating yet another intentional gross dereliction of duty on behalf of those members committee who are elected to represent the people. None of this information was presented to those who voted on August 7th so it is then a mute point to use this now as a justification for an action that violated their authority and the bylaws. How can they now claim that this is a reason when that reason was not fully explained to those who voted on August 7th nor was any attempt made by those responsible for pushing this action to make that a matter of public record?
Whether or not this video actually surfaces or is just being used as a threat to intimidate those who won’t toe the line remains to be seen. The point is simple. That video or any other accusation still does not justify the actions of The Exec. Com. in the violation of their authority and their bylaws. Prior to the primary when you could have done so, you chose not to….Why?
I suggest that this was a conscious and intentional decision on their part as they were working behind the scenes to establish another candidate knowing full well that once the Primary was over they would have control of the LCRC and that they had full intention of violating their own rules. This was not a mistake of judgement, the leadership behind this effort knew full well what they were doing.
It is possible that some individuals on the exec. com. did not fully understand what they were doing. Some of them had only recently become committee representatives. This is, however, what happens when you make the bully of the playground the chair of that playground.
I further suggest that this is a betrayal of trust between those members of the committee and the people they were elected to represent. When one of the individuals manages the campaigns of other elected representatives both locally and statewide; when others hold elected positions in our community; that betrayal of trust extends to those offices and the conduct behind the scenes during campaigns and while holding office. If they can not be trusted with our vote, why should we trust them at any other time?
This is about you and me, the hard working citizens of this community, and a blatant attempt to hijack an election. It is a rejection of the election process where your vote matters. It is an embracing of a Statism mentality that believes you do not matter and that you are to uniformed to make an informed vote. They embrace this while doing everything in their power from providing you with information they have to make that informed vote.
I further suggest that this action is only a symptom of a much greater problem. As egregious as this action is, it is only a reflection of a problem with our elections that begins at the local level and spreads like a cancer throughout the entire election process all the way to the highest levels of government. It might be local but nothing that has happened in this local election is any different than the usurpations of power by this current presidential administration. You can not possibly be offended by the actions of this President if you are willing to turn your eyes away from the actions of those working behind the scenes to manipulate our elections through misinformation, deceit, and blatant misrepresentation of the people who vote. It is this breach of trust and the principle that we are dependent on that trust in our elections that makes these actions reprehensible.