What's Going Wrong with AZGOP? Part 1: Armageddon Over Conservative Motions at ExComm

This is the first in a series of articles reporting what I witnessed at the June 2017 meeting of the AZGOP Executive Committee. It was held in Flagstaff Saturday, June 17th. I've never personally witnessed a more revealing episode in the life of the AZGOP. More and more clearly, we can now understand what is going wrong with our state party. 

Purple hearts are in order for Rose Sperry, of Yavapai, and Steve Slaton, of Navajo County. Each of them made substantive motions at 2017’s second quarterly AZGOP Executive Committee meeting, held in Flagstaff this Saturday, June 17, 2017. Armageddon ensued!

Rose Sperry, who I believe is secretary for Yavapai County, moved that Bylaws Chairman Kathy Petsas give members of the Bylaws committee each other’s contact information, so they can discuss bylaws changes between quarterly meetings.

Her motion was quickly labeled “out of order” by the acting chairman, Al Gage, a professional parliamentarian, who explained that no one can give out an email or phone—even within a single committee—without permission of the person. No one bothered to mention that bylaws committee members have been begging to be able to communicate amongst themselves, but the chairman won’t allow it--hence Rose's motion! Russell Sias, who is on the bylaws committee, has been posting on Briefs for months about this problem.

As an observer, I couldn’t help wondering how a parliamentarian would be so well versed in rules or laws about the disclosure of AZGOP emails and phone numbers, within a single committee, that he could instantly call that motion out of order, without needing to ask someone. 

Steve Slaton, chairman of Navajo County, moved that the Executive Committee order Chairman Lines to finally, after five whole months of refusing, turn over to Secretary Gabby Mercer all of the documents that pertain to her duties as secretary. So far, all she’s been able to do is keep the minutes and sign letters. Gabby has asked for the records many times, and I believe she also went twice to see the chairman, with witnesses in tow, to demand that she be given the party’s permanent records, which the bylaws stipulate she is responsible for keeping. In all cases, she has been refused.

After Steve’s motion, Armageddon ensued, which included what sounded to me like quite agitated shouting by Kim Owens, yesterday’s acting secretary, saying, “This is nothing but a witch hunt!.” It wasn’t the only thing she said that I thought was over the top. When Karen MacKean (Navajo County 1st vice chair) approached gently and calmly, to assure Kim that it really wasn’t a witch hunt, she very lightly touched Kim’s forearm as a reassuring gesture, whereupon Owens—shouting, in my opinion—said, “Don’t touch me! Get your hands off me! You are intimidating me!” Then she turned to a man standing to her right and added, “Tell her not to touch me! She is intimidating me!”

This was just one part of a generalized visceral reaction in the room. What’s oddest about it is that these motions were perfectly justifiable. It seemed to me that widely forgotten was the reason the leadership meets with the executive committee four times a year! It's because the Executive Committee has authority OVER the leadership, not the other way around, and it must exercise it regularly. In fact, the executive committee actually exists to represent the whole membership of the state committee, so it can maintain oversight over leadership's activities in the long periods between our mass meetings each January.

Parliamentary procedure required that Steve’s motion come to a vote, because it was seconded, as was Rose’s, by the indomitable Jennifer Jones, 1st chair of La Paz County, a fulsome defender of conservative values. In the discussion prior to voting, I was amazed at the number of reasons—reasons I considered specious, at best—why the chairman doesn’t have to give Gabby the records, as the bylaws stipulate. One is moved to ask why it is so very important NOT to give the secretary her permanent records!

In essence, Chairman Lines remains in breach of the Bylaws five and a half months AFTER he and the secretary were elected! And yet the executive committee votes down a motion to provide her what she needs to do her job. What gives?

During the discussion of Steve’s motion, Kim Owens read aloud the duties of the secretary, as written in the bylaws. When she got to the inconvenient part, where it says that the secretary is the keeper of the “permanent records” of the party, it was my perception that she felt the need, hastily, to add, “And that phrase, “permanent records: In the bylaws that means the MINUTES! ONLY THE MINUTES!”

I beg to differ, however. Permanent records includes, for example, the lists of all pcs and state committeemen, their addresses, phones, emails, etc. but lots more important information, as well. Gabby is the keeper of those lists, and needs them to send out calls to meetings. Apparently, though, hired employees have been doing mailings for the last five months, not Gabby. Why is the secretary being limited to taking minutes and signing a few letters, when the bylaws list other duties in her job description? Why would the leadership insist on continuing in breach of the bylaws, regarding the secretary’s permanent records? What could the reason--or motive--be? Who gains?

Yet another person who claimed that Steve’s motion was out of order, said it was because it failed to list the specific documents that were missing. I must say, I see that as specious reasoning, because AZGOP secretaries have traditionally always kept the same group of documents. I don’t personally know what they all are, but I am certain the AZGOP must know it. So why is someone trying to make it Steve’s responsibility to name specific documents? In my opinion, it’s an attempt to obfuscate and confuse someone who is seen as the “opposition.” Does this sound like a political party doing normal business? What does it sound like to you?

Here’s one more to-me incredible utterance--my favorite of the day. Among the ardent responders was Matthew Kenney, recently hired executive director, whose voice expressed complete mystification, in my view, at this outlandish motion. His voice went way up high, as he said, that he had just met with Gabby on Tuesday! Everything was fine! And “Gabby never asked for any documents” or said documents were missing, therefore “the motion is disqualified. It’s out of order.” I must say that these so oft-repeated terms, “out of order” and “disqualified,” put me in mind of something else we hear far too often on the national political scene--terms like “racist” and “fascist” that the Left uses against conservatives who stand up against unchecked immigration and etc.

Everything conservatives want—especially if they ask for it, and most particularly when they demand it--is out of order, it seems.

But the vehemence that I found so visible on June 17th did shock me with its stridency. Those who “won” the vote let out a shrill and joyful shout of triumph, when they realized they had vanquished the unwashed interlopers and witch hunters among them. The sound of it, the intensity of the satisfaction they seemed to take from having prevented two conservatives from exerting any influence whatsoever on the affairs of the AZGOP executive committee, said volumes to me.

It said that there is something more than just a difference of opinion, here. There seems to me to be the desire to vanquish, to control, to render conservatives ineffectual to the point of enforced nonparticipation. That is more than a difference of opinion. And there is an aggressiveness about it that alarmingly exceeds the occasion. Something is very deeply wrong within our state party, the same thing that is wrong in our national political institutions.

Coming soon -- Part 2: Why all the problems with the Bylaws Committee? Why all the secrecy? What are these changes they want to make? 

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Replies to This Discussion

At the meeting, I had the distinct sensation that there was an echelon of people who were not of us, and not with us. By us, I mean individuals who have joined the Republican Party as pcs and state committeemen in order to participate in supporting our platform--a good platform. Unfortunately, that echelon of people do not seem to have the same goal in mind. They seem to have, not a goal, but a well-thought-out agenda. I believe that agenda is spelled out quite clearly in the results, the outcomes, that we have been seeing for years. In my opinion, it takes very little to see the pattern behind the following things we all know so well: Working against all conservative / constitutional candidates, by withholding money and even spending money against them; flooding elections at statutory meetings and state conventions, with proxies, in order to to grease the skids for the RINO candidates, the globalists candidates, not the conservatives; Working tirelessly to purge conservatives from the ranks of PCs and state committeemen. It requires only that we recognize that the inevitable outcome can only be the destruction of the Republican Party. If what's happening continues much longer, the GOP in AZ will be completely ineffective--if that is not already the case--and Arizona will go blue in a fairly short time. What is worse, in my opinion, however, is this: If Arizona goes blue, it will mean we will not be there to help President Trump complete the cleansing of the American political system. There will come a time when he will ask for and expect conservatives in the states to be able and ready to carry the cleansing all the way down to the local level. If we are unable to help him do that, we will not fully save America, and the forces of destruction will surely rise, again. 

Bravo Marianne!  This is happening throughout the party, state by state in an effort to defeat our president from within..  If Donald Trump fails, we ALL fail.  You understand that and I thank you for stating it so eloquently.  Now it's time to act.  The message to all patriots is, it is time to Rise Up and stop these so called republicans and guide them to the party where they belong, the democrat party.  Stay strong and Rise Up.  Do not let them destroy this party and above all this presidency. 

@Marianne  Your view of the corrupt republican party (I no longer use a capital for that word) is what many of us feel.  McCain has owned the state for decades. There is no difference between him and the democrat party in AZ or elsewhere. He's groomed those to come behind him to carry his globalist anti-conservative anti-Trump agenda forward in AZ.  I can no longer be a PC but for those who can, it's up to them to rid our party of the corrupt amoral villainous politicians in federal, state and local offices. They breed so we must get rid of these scavengers all together and quickly.  We have no candidate against Flake and Ward is just a self-serving joke and that will be proven before the primary by someone somewhere. She can't keep her true history hidden for long. That would be a good start but we elect all of our statewide politicians in 2018. What an opportunity we have if people would actually know who they are supporting and not stop at the facades they show to get elected.  A casual friend of mine supported Ward last time. I asked her why and she said because Ward asked her to. @#&-&@#% was my response.  She's not supporting her now.

I would characterize the plan of attack to regain our party's integrity and ethics back as one who would attack a "roof rat problem". It all starts with the adults and their ability to reproduce the population of baby rats which all starts with the food source. This is the case as our party's funding mechanism is the food source but unfortunately the GOP AZ leadership refuses to open up to the PC's and committeemen's desire for transparency of how those $ are spent, and from where $ come from. Yes there is a bountiful diversion of Bylaw violations, yet our attention should be to make the funding sources the paramount issue for the “puppet masters” want the food sources concealed from us. Therein lie the alligators hiding in our own desert swamp land.   

Agreed.  It's ALWAYS the money.  I suspect, too, there will be further illegalities involved.

@John Good anology- roof rats!  I always take a peek at the FEC reports to see where money is going but some of it is vague. Dot connecting is a handy talent.  No report due from AZGOP until the first of next year since this is not an election year.  Graham got his funding from McCain supporters 100% + some from individual small donations. How do we cut off the head of that funding?

Exposure through social media, and small town news outlet publications, and postings at the local corner kitchens. The pressure must be unrelenting ... for information is the key to knowledge and Victory over this evil deceit.

Exposure is what they most fear. They count on secretiveness and the apathy of others. Post everywhere you can with your convictions on this matter. Tell PCs and state committeemen about your sincere concerns. The more this is discussed, the more people express their outrage, the better. It will take a powerful groundswell of opinion, among people active in the party, to turn the tide.

That is what we have lacked. I have seen sincere conservatives deeply split over the Cruz/Trump question. All I can say about that is, "GIVE ME A BREAK! WE HAVE BIGGER FISH TO FRY." As I said in another post, earlier today, There is no point fighting over which candidate to support in the primary, if the house is burning. The house IS burning. Now.

The only path out of our situation is for people of conscience to unite in the spirit of republicanism. It is for us to refuse to allow any of the usual small disagreements influence that unity. It is pointless to argue over which candidate, when the political house is burning. It IS burning. I believe that the only possible ending, if enough grassroots people do not step up, is the complete destruction of the party. I believe in the concept of republicanism. That name is important to me, because it echos the name of our system of government. It defines our party as the one that stands behind the republic. That is why I want to save the Republican Party. I think the re-embracing of the true spirit of republicanism can save our state party and parties in all the other states. Yes, it is correct, I'm sure, that what is happening here is what is happening in every state--in my opinion, a slow-rolling takeover with the intent to destroy.

How right you are Marianne. Could AZRA be the vehicle to destroy the establishment?

I think it will be there--the embodiment of the spirit of republicanism-- to CATCH the party if and when it falls. 

Wow. Or maybe I should say, Heil! Republicans have always taken things to a higher level than the Democrats, but I never thought they'd add fascism to the list. We could go ahead right now and color Arizona blue, dark blue.

Remember, during the centuries of the Inquisition, women were tortured and burned, the Knights Templar were destroyed or driven underground, and something wonderful arose from those ashes. It was called the United States of America. I believe we will survive this, but we must ban together, educate the PCs and drain the swamp!

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