How Much Longer Before AZGOP Stonewalling Takes on the Odor of Deliberate Malfeasance? Or has it, already?



2016: In Breach as Treasurer – Jonathan Lines never ordered the audit the bylaws required to be complete BEFORE the Statutory Meeting in late January 2017. Purpose of that rule: To have books ready for the new treasurer.


Period from January 28, 2017-June 2017--

Kept the first Breach & Added Two New Ones:

1) Refused to give any permanent records to the new secretary, limiting the tasks she could perform.

2) Refused to give any records from the period prior to 2/1/2017 to the new treasurer, creating all-new Quickbooks and bank accounts for the treasurer.

3) Failed to call for audit of 2016 from January till June of 2017.


Period from June 17, 2017-the present –

Lines continues in breach, today: 

1) Lines still refuses to give the permanent records to Secretary Gabby Mercer.

2) Lines associates at ExComm erupted noisily, when Steve Slaton moved that the body order Lines to give the secretary her permanent records. Several of their comments were called out of order by acting presider, Al Gage (a professional parliamentarian), only on the initiative of Steve Slaton, who certified, by citing Robert’s Rules, that they WERE out of order.



So Many Questions for PCs & State Committeemen to Think About:


As treasurer, why would Jonathan Lines fail to call for the 2016 audit prior to the Statutory Meeting, as bylaws require?
This one question breeds 30 others: 

Was it simply incompetence? If not, then was Lines inattentive to, or often absent from, his job? Or was he really just Treasurer-in-Name-Only? If Lines took his oath of office, but never actually served as treasurer, would that not be another breach of the bylaws?

Or, worse, would there be something fraudulent about—in essence--posing as the treasurer, while someone unknown handled the books in a totally unofficial capacity? Is it even imaginable that such a thing could be the case? And, if so, then who, indeed, was it who held and kept the books for those two years? And who named that person to do the treasurer’s job?

Does imagining even the possibility of a “ghost-treasurer” on the payroll of the AZGOP make any PCs or state committeemen roll their eyes and feel squeamish? To get a sense of how such a scenario might somehow unfold, one would have to envision quite a strange succession of events, in which a party would hold an official election to fill an office, but then ignore the results, and, instead, placing an unidentified person into the elective seat that was just filled. How would it feel, though, to be one of the state committeemen who voted in such an election, and find out it was secretly voided the instant it was finalized?

Personally, how would a state committeeman feel on discovering that he or she had voted for a person who was elected, but elected-in-name-only? That is, voted for a winner who never served! What kind of picture comes to your mind of what a hypothetical party administration responsible for that would look like? Is it a picture of an administration that’s being run like a private “family business,” accountable to no one—not fiscally nor any other way? Is such a thing possible in the modern world?

Could anything like this ever happen under the nose of a sitting chairman? Is it outlandish or out of the question to conceive a scenario in which Lines was groomed to run for chairman to succeed Graham? Would it fit such a scenario for Lines to have been instructed to run for treasurer, to increase his likelihood of success in the 2017 election for chairman?


If any of these hypothetical questions hit anywhere near actual deeds, would the implications be considered par for the course or as a devastating indictment of the current state of the Arizona GOP?


Take, for instance, Lines’ announcement, about two weeks after his election, that he had been surprised by Robert Graham’s revelation that the party had incurred $250,000 in debt. How is it possible that, as the serving treasurer, he did not know?


How certain is anyone in the party that all $250k of debt consists of ballot harvesting legal fees? Why would our party volunteer to take responsibility for the crushing ballot harvesting legal fees, when the state is actually responsible for them, according to many? Are there, in truth, other expenses mixed in there with the ballot harvesting, such as legal fees for the legal action against LD 23, just prior to the statutory meeting in January 2017? Are there any costs in there that have nothing to do with party business? If so, incurred by whom? And for what? And how can the state committee pin down that information, for sure? Do you believe the state committee has a responsibility to pin down that information? 


How many of us have heard people tell the story about Robert Graham having used AZGOP funds to travel and campaign for RNC chair across the country, with wife and kids, in the summer of 2016? How many have heard the related story about $80,000 some say Robert Graham spent throwing a free concert at the Cleveland convention, for the purpose, according to the story, of ingratiating himself with potential RNC voters? Are those stories true? How many would like to know? How can the state committee verify that no AZGOP funds were used for those purposes? Does the state committee have a right to get to the bottom of all expenditures by the party administration? 


Do any of these questions place in a different light the refusal by Lines to deliver the books to the treasurer, until many months went by?

How many reading this see the sudden surrender of the 2016 financial books to the Treasurer, after 4 ½ months, equally as mystifying as the previous refusal to surrender them? Is it conspiracy theory to entertain the notion that 4 ½ months would be enough time to change the books so they could pass muster in the eyes of the new treasurer?

Hypothetically--and even fantasmagorically—what alternate reason might you imagine for someone to hold, hold, hold, and then give up the books? We could probably ask this question till we’re blue in the face: Who was in actual possession of those financial records, during those 4 ½ months?



Why Does Chairman Lines Keep Refusing to Give Secretary Gabby Mercer the AZGOP Permanent Records, as Required by the Bylaws?

This One Question Breeds 15 more: 

What is it about the permanent records that causes Chairman Lines not to want to give them to the secretary? Is there something in them that he does not want her to see? What might fall under the category of things in the permanent records that Chairman Lines might not want Gabby Mercer to see?

How is it that, at the Statutory Meeting, January 28, 2017, everyone on Chairman Lines’ slate did not win—only Chairman Lines? How is it that everyone on Jim O’Connor’s slate did not win—only Gabby and Bob? What is the usual outcome, when people run together as a slate?

On the multiple occasions that Gabby Mercer has gone to the AZGOP headquarters--with witnesses in tow--to demand the permanent records, who has been there to refuse her demands? Has only Chairman Lines met with Gabby? Which AZGOP employees, and which elective or appointed officials have performed the task of rebuffing her lawful demands? Has the general counsel met with Gabby?


If so, has he given her a reason that conforms to the Bylaws and also justifies refusing her lawful demand for the permanent records the Bylaws require her to keep, as secretary?


If the general counsel, who the bylaws stipulate “shall advise the chairman and the committees on all legal matters,” has explained to the secretary why she cannot have the permanent records that the Bylaws require her to have, does that explanation constitute “advising” her, as the Bylaws require? Or would such an explanation by an AZGOP general counsel constitute placing himself in a state of conflict of interest? Would it constitute taking the side of the chairman--who is in breach of the bylaws for refusing to provide the permanent records—AGAINST the secretary who continues to lawfully demand those records? 


Is it proper for one elected or appointed official to, in any way, prevent any other elected or appointed official from doing his or her job? Do any of Chairman Lines’ actions--or refusals to act--contradict the oath of office he took when elected, either as treasurer or as chairman, or both? If so, what would that say about the current state of the party that elected him?

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Replies to This Discussion

Like Edmund Burke said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." It's about accountability. All Republicans need to be held to a high standard, but for our officials, it needs to be higher. 

I'm only a PC, not one of Jonathan's hand-picked state committeemen, so my voice at the state level is limited. His last shenanigans with the Yuma GOP are creating a local chapter of AzRA, so I suppose we could thank Jonathan in a left-handed sort of way. I pray the state committeemen who are lost come to their senses soon and take back control of our party.

A "Treasurer in name only" may not be qualified, therefore not required to give testimony regarding any misuse of funds. 

All this sounds like obfuscation and misdirection for the purpose of keeping the actual true use of funds and/or appropriations away from those who would question the way funds are being used.  Transparency does not seem to be important to the AZGOP.  Did AZGOP adopt the policy of the late Obama administration?  Do you remember hearing, "this is going to be the most transparent administration in history"? 


Flem flamed, corruption fraud ?

All the questions brought forth in the article are valid for an Az State P.C.  I think there is one question missing.  Why did Rep. Paul Gosar campaign for Lines at the State Meeting and in essence help him win?  What was it that Rep. Gosar was gaining by doing this despicable thing?  I have since chastised him for his actions since he is my Representative in Yavapai Co.  Without that support, I seriously doubt that Lines would have won and all the following shenanigans would have taken place if Jim O'Connor had been elected.   I'm not here to rehash that vote just saying we need to look to those that supported Lines whether it was by voting or by supporting as in the case of Rep. Gosar.

And Gosar was not the only elected representative who endorsed Lines. It was a veritable fountain of endorsements we saw on that stage. Wasn't Trent Franks there, too, and others? We elect them to represent us, to hold back the floods, so to speak, and instead they become the flood. They absorb the conventional "wisdom" that you have to go along to get along, when no such thing could be true and also allow them to properly represent their constituents!. You have to vote for theirs, in order for someone else to vote for yours, down the line. You MUST endorse the people belonging to the so-called powers that be, or suffer the consequences when the next campaign comes along. It's a putrid pattern we must get well rid of. We do not want or need followers, as politicians. Indeed, we do not need "politicians," per se. We need real people to represent the interests of the people for a short time, and then come home. There was a book written about Congress, a few years ago, whose title comes to mind. It was called Throw them All Out.

I spoke with someone close to the Congressman and asked the same question. What we're seeing, I believe, with these high official endorsements, are experiences with blinders, experiences limited to their personal dealings with Lines during previous elections. I doubt anyone researched or reached out for other information. After all, we've been taught to speak not ill of another Republican, right? It would be interesting to see if those same people back him now.

Comment from Jim Ehl:

From a voice in the wilderness, The AZ GOP bylaws: state:  “The executive committee shall approve the annual budget and review and counsel the state chairman on all programs relating to the state party.  Is that not a dictum for the Executive Committee (which includes the County Chairs) to act where this bylaws fiasco is concerned?  Is not a bylaws review and update a program???  Remember, Ms Jones, 1st Vice from LaPaz wrote in the MCRC briefs:  “Then, I wanted to observe the Bylaws Committee meeting and record it for La Paz County Chairman Russell Sias, who is on that Committee but could not attend, and some pushy little woman tried to force me to stop recording by grabbing my hand and my camera.’  And Ms. Jones further stated, “about a half dozen of us would be observers were ordered out of the room despite no rule or bylaw being cited and the meeting was held behind closed doors. “  This kind of action was apparently condoned by Chairman Lines.  We’ve heard no comment from him!Question, is this the kind of leadership that you want for our AZ GOP??  Oh, as to the budget, Ms Jones stated, “The minutes from the last meeting were amended by majority vote to say something like the budget was approved, even though it technically had not been, according to those that had been there.
Our hearts bleed for the members of the Republicans through out Arizona to see as many ‘weak sisters’ as County Chairmen to let things like this go in our party!  You can bet your ‘bottom dollar’ that if the County Chairmen don’t bother to stand up for the party we are still headed down hill like a snow ball headed for hell! 
OH, by the way, what are the 11 chapters of AzRA doing?  Anyone know?  

Editor: Jim:  You may not have noticed but AZRA is not the AZGOP nor it is a legislative district.  It is a private organization.  Nonetheless, AZRA is doing things that will benefit all republicans.  I guess, taking a page out of Trump's playbook,  they are not ready to spill the beans right now. The better question is simple:  What are the ELECTED district chairmen doing to stop this?  That is who has the power to do something.  We see very little movement there.  But if you want to hold AZRA accountable for what AZGOP and District Chairs are or are not doing, might we ask, are you an AZRA member or State Committeeman and if so, what are YOU doing?  If you have a plan, let's hear it.  Maybe we can get someone to put the plan in place and get rid of the AZGOP once and for all.  How nice would that be?

Jim Ehl,

You're so right about the bylaws. As CD4 Member at Large, I can tell you as I did previously  we did NOT approve the budget at the March meeting in Yuma.  What was approved was Chairman Lines' "proposed" budget. Even voting on a proposed budget was ludicrous and myself along with one or two others voted NO! Those that were not at that meeting, which was most of the panel at the Flagstaff meeting, can try to thwart the facts but Secretary Mercer's minutes do not lie.The sentence on of the minutes which said it was a "proposed" budget was not contested. They may have fared better had they contested that rather than 3rd Vice Chair Christopher Campbells prior discussion about the impropriety of the vote. It is only through God's grace that they didn't think of that or surely we would be telling an even more bitter story.  Chairman Steve Slaton & 1st Vice Chair Karen McKean, both from Navajo and Chairman Russell Sias and 1st Vice Chair Jennifer Jones, both from La Paz are the only Chairs taking the committee to task for these injustices. Not a peep from the other Chairs. I will try to be as fair as I can by suggesting that maybe they don't see a problem, they maybe haven't heard the rumblings of their discontented PCs or they just refuse to take a stand.  I pray it isn't the latter.   

I'll be shocked -- shocked! -- if you see any action from the new Yuma County Chair since Lines went to great lengths to get him elected.

Where can I get a copy or read Secretary Mercer's minutes of the June 17, 2017 Executive Committee meeting?

Contact Gabby Mercer for a copy.  If you don't have her contact info, email us at team-azfreedomalliance2@hushmail.com and we will get you in touch with her.

Bruce, I was not in attendance at the June 17th Ex-Comm meeting.  I believe Assistant Secretary Deborrah Miller took the minutes.  I can find out tomorrow for you or you can call AZ GOP and request a copy of the minutes.





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