BY DANI OLSEN
Republicans, this is my call for you to open your eyes to what is happening behind closed doors in the Wyoming Republican Party’s State Central Committee.
I recently was elected as chairwoman of the Laramie County Republican Party. The chairperson is one of the three representatives of each county that becomes a member of the State Central Committee – the governing body of the State Party.
Having filled in as a proxy for the previous county chairman at previous State Central Committee meetings, I am not new to the process and the going-ons of the State Central Committee.
But, the special election meeting that was held in June left me feeling disgusted
For this whistleblowing to make full sense, please indulge me on a general overview of the functions and governance of the State Central Committee.
Each county in Wyoming, large or small, has three State Central Committee members – the county chair, state committeeman and state committeewoman. Also, there is an elected state party chair, vice chair, secretary, national committeeman and national committeewoman. They are voting members of the State Central Committee.
The State Central Committee is governed by the Wyoming Republican Party Bylaws. The bylaws are the general rules of business conduct for the State Party. These are passed every even-numbered year at the State Convention.
The state convention is made up of all State Central Committee members plus several hundred delegates who represent their counties, based on population in their counties. It is at the state convention where large counties are represented by a larger voice in voting. That makes sense since the large counties represent a larger percentage of the state’s Republican population.
Now, back to my whistleblowing. The State Central Committee has long been controlled by a few members who do not represent Wyoming Republicans and who have long surpassed what most would view as a conservative length of service on the State Central Committee.
This group of individuals has an agenda it wishes to press that goes far outside of the Republican Party’s platform. You know who I am talking about. They have grown to adopt an “if you do not agree with me, you are not welcome in the party” mentality even if the issue you disagree with is not in the Republican platform.
These individuals have been able to grab many leadership roles in the state party – mainly through their creation of new committees with new governing tasks, but also through elections. And they have been able to form alliances with other longstanding members of the State Central Committee. Through all this, this faction tries to dominate all aspect of the state’s Republican Party.
But there is one thing that continues to get in the way of their grand scheme of taking over the party – the bylaws.
You see, these individuals with these “Pinky and the Brain” schemes of party domination are only able to make it is far as the bylaws allow them, which – trust me – they find ways to stretch to some pretty extreme limits.
But for some issues, the bylaws specifically outline processes and procedures that cannot be changed by the State Central Committee. At every state convention, some of these members of the State Central Committee try to pass changes to the bylaws that will grant them additional power. But to their dismay, these changes are often rejected by the hundreds of delegates at the state convention.
One such change that this group wants to make is to the process for selecting delegates to the National Convention. At the State Party Convention in 2018, an attempt was made to change the process. But convention-goers rejected the changes.
So in comes the corruption.
The bylaws outline a process of counties rotating delegates and alternates to the National Convention every presidential election year. All remaining delegates are chosen “at large” by State Convention-goers.
Well, the “Pinky and The Brain” State Central Committee members do not want this to continue. Because while they have a control of the State Central Committee members, they are not able to grasp the control of the State Convention delegates, and the o not trust them to make the decisions they want them to make.
Instead, these schemers want to make it so that the voice of the State Convention attendees becomes almost obsolete. Instead, they want to make it so that all counties, whether large or small, will get one delegate to National Convention. So, how do they do this when the bylaws specifically outline the process for selecting national delegates? Through the back door of political corruption.
You see, the bylaws strictly outline the process for delegate selection and state how the process can be changed – through amending the bylaws at the state convention. Well, this continues to get in the way of the “Pinky and the Brains” plans.
So instead of following the proper process, they are working outside the bylaws and trying to make the change through the State Central Committee at a meeting set for August. This is in direct violation of the bylaws as well as state statute, specifically W.S. 22-4-118(a)(v)(C). It states the state convention only has the power and duty to formulate or change the rules governing the internal organizations of the party, which rules must include “the method of selecting delegates and alternates to the national convention.”
Fundamentally, even if this proposal didn’t violate the bylaws and state law, it flies in the face of the basic principles of representative government.
If it is so clear that their actions are in blatant violation of the bylaws and state law, why are they continuing to move forward? Because they are hoping nobody within the State Central Committee will call them out. They have grown so powerful in their positions that they have been able to log roll their agenda without much opposition from the other members.
Well, not anymore! I am committed to do everything that I can to bring out the corruption of this scheme and will work to prevent its passage at the meeting in August.
If they pass this illegal measure, they will be sending this plan to the National Committee before the deadline on Oct. 1 passes. This means they will make the official change beforeconvention-goers even have the chance to review the measure at the state convention in May of 2020, which is the required process outlined by the bylaws and state statutes.
So why do you care about this? Maybe you are not involved in the Republican Party. Maybe you are not on the State Central Committee. Should you care? Absolutely! And here is why: If these people are successful, Laramie County’s 22,000 registered Republicans will have the same voice as the 1,200 registered Republicans in Niobrara County.
While there is nothing wrong with our friends in Niobrara County, why should their voice be louder than the voice of the Republicans in Laramie County? (No offense to my friends in Niobrara County; I only use this example as your county is the smallest in Wyoming).
This is so critically important because the end result will be a Republican Party that represents an extreme minority of viewpoints. It will become even more divisive and alienating.
As much as I wish this was the extent of the political corruption at the State Central Committee, that is far from the case. But that will have to be saved for another day.
In the meantime, Republicans, it is time to raise concern about the operation of the State Central Committee. It is time to put a check on the individuals you have elected to represent you. Some of them have forgotten they are not outside the bylaws and state law.
It is becoming ever clearer that those abusing their powers on the State Central Committee have forgotten they are elected to represent Republicans like you – and that Republicans like you are the real authority within the Wyoming Republican Party.
(DISCLAIMER: None of the actions taken by the Wyoming Republican Party State Central Committee are connected to any elected official in Wyoming, outside of the State Central Committee.)
Dani Olsen is chairwoman of the Laramie County Republican Party.