The 2012 Republican National Convention wrapped up in Tampa last week, but not without a lot of dirty dealing, the worst of which involved teleprompter scripts, inexplicably-long bus rides and sham voice votes.
The shenanigans highlighted in the video above are not new. Some of the same political skullduggery took place this year at local and state-level presidential caucuses all over the country, including St. Charles County, Mo., where the “St. Patrick’s Day Massacre” took place and resulted in many Republican voters feeling as if their votes did not really count.
Though little can be done to change things before Nov. 6, the day on which all Americans must set their differences aside and vote Barack Obama out of office, much can be done during the next four years.
At every level of government — from school board to Congress and everything in between — “Big-C” Conservatives (a.k.a., “little r” republicans) must get involved so that we can take the Republican Party back from the people who seem to have hijacked it.
Three months after the bedlam of a botched Republican presidential caucus (a.k.a., the “St. Patrick’s Day Massacre”) took place inside and then outside a St. Charles County, Mo., high school gymnasium, Ron Paul Republican Brent Stafford will plead “not guilty” to charges of criminal trespassing during an appearance Tuesday morning at the City of St. Peters (Mo.) Justice Center.
Though I attended the gathering and offered several reports related to it, the outdoor “fireworks” took place after I had departed. According to the news release, however, Stafford and his attorney, David Roland of the Freedom Center of Missouri, contend the following took place during the impromptu outdoor portion of that oh-so-raucus caucus:
On the morning of March 17, 2012, Brent Stafford expected to be elected as the chairman of the St. Charles County Republican Caucus. Instead, Stafford’s political rivals ignored parliamentary procedure, blocking his election and improperly adjourning the caucus. Intent on following proper procedure, Stafford started to reorganize the caucus outside the Francis Howell North High School gymnasium. As he was giving instructions to a peaceful assembly of citizens, police officers placed Stafford under arrest, although they did not at that time tell him why he was being arrested.
The police eventually claimed that Stafford had been “trespassing,” although the gathering took place on school grounds that were open to the public and the police did not arrest any of the scores of other people gathered outside of the school.
Stafford and Roland will meet with reporters at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Northeast Corner of the building located at 1020 Grand Teton Drive in St. Peters. They will answer questions about the charges and explain why the charges threaten all citizens’ constitutional freedoms. It could get very interesting!
UPDATE 7/23/12 at 12:03 p.m. Central: Tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. Central, the City of St. Peters, Mo., will put Brent Stafford on trial in St. Peters Municipal Court, seeking to have him convicted of trespassing, according to a message I received from Dave Roland at the Freedom Center of Missouri. More details here and here.
UPDATE 8/01/12 at 4:10 p.m. Central: Last night Judge Donald Kohl did not even need to hear witnesses testify in favor of Brent Stafford before ruling him not guilty of the criminal trespassing charges with which the City of St. Peters had charged him. Stafford, a supporter of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, had been arrested on March 17, 2012, because he was speaking to a peaceful crowd of several dozen people on the grounds of Francis Howell North High School in the wake of the aborted St. Charles County Republican Caucus. More details here.
UPDATE 4/16/2013 at 8:39 a.m. Central: According to a local newspaper report, Brent Stafford has filed suit against the City of St. Peters and at least one of the police officers involved in his arrest at the caucus.
In a letter dated March 26, 2012, and addressed to five Missouri Republican Party officials, three individuals challenged the seating of delegates “allegedly elected at the caucus,” contending that “serious and prejudicial misconduct at the caucus — amounting to voter suppression — requires that the delegates allegedly elected at this caucus not be seated at the Second, Third and Eighth Congressional District Conventions on April 21, 2012, and at the State Convention on June 1-2, 2012. If the conduct that occurred at the Jefferson County Caucus is condoned, the Party will only be inviting such tactics in the future.”
The challenge letter, a copy of which I received via email today, featured the signature of Kathryn Biber, general counsel for Romney for President, Inc., and had as-yet-unsigned signature blocks for Dimitri Kesari, deputy campaign manager for the Ron Paul presidential campaign, and Cody Baker, a Romney campaign volunteer and caucus participant from Festus, Mo. I was told by the person who forwarded the letter to me that all three signed separate copies of the letter.
The list of Republican officials to whom the letter was addressed included David Cole, Missouri Republican Party chair, as well as the following representatives of GOP congressional district committees: Richard Magee, 2nd CD chair; Janet Engelbach, 3rd CD chair; Eddy Justice, 8th CD chair; and Ramona Wilkinson, identified in the letter as being on 3rd CD Committee but identified on the Missouri GOP website as secretary of the 9th CD Committee.
The summary of the allegations upon which the caucus outcome is being contested reads as follows:
Several Jefferson County Republican Central Committee Members, who were also supporters of Rick Santorum, forced a multiple-hour delay in the caucus by intentionally removing the registration rolls and credentialing information from the caucus site and thereby preventing any business (including the election of delegates) from being conducted. The intentional removal of registration rolls and credentialing information occurred after a vote for permanent chair that made clear that the Santorum supporters would be out-voted by a combination of Romney and Paul supporters. It was only after a substantial portion of the caucus attendees left in frustration, changing the make-up of the electorate, that the registration rolls and credentialing information were returned and pro-Santorum slates of delegates elected.
The authors of the letter were not finished as the letter continued by outlining the impact of the actions alleged to have taken place and demanding a new caucus be held:
The intentional removal of the rolls and credentialing information by Santorum supporters abridged the collective rights of hundreds of faithful and loyal Republican attendees to elect delegates of their choice. These acts of voter suppression should not and cannot be condoned. The only fair result in this case is to recognize that the intentional removal of the registration rolls and credentialing information caused a de-facto adjournment of the caucus. No business conducted after that point, including the election of delegates, can be considered valid.
It will be interesting to see whether or not the allegations contained in this letter result in a do-over caucus in Jefferson County.
Weeks after the “St. Patrick’s Day Massacre,” many voters in St. Charles County, Mo., are probably wondering whether or not the upcoming second attempt to conduct the county’s 2012 Republican presidential caucus (a.k.a., “CAUCUS 2.0″) will produce better results.
The latest effort to select delegates for the upcoming congressional district, state and national GOP conventions is set to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, at the St. Charles Convention Center.
According to a convention center official with whom I spoke this morning, the caucus will take place in the exhibit hall — a room capable of accommodating 3,000 — and has been booked by state GOP officials for five hours, 7 p.m. through midnight.
Not surprisingly, state GOP officials — namely spokesperson Jonathon Prouty — has yet to respond to questions I posed about the caucus this morning:
1. Why was the event scheduled to take place on a weekday evening instead of on a Saturday when more people are likely to be able to attend?One might conclude that they are, for some reason, again trying to limit participation in the caucus.
2. How will this event be managed differently than the first attempt to caucus? I wanted to know whether or not fairness, transparency and adherence to rules would be paramount in the proceedings.
3. Please describe the time elements involved in the contract via which state GOP officials booked the exhibit hall at the St. Charles Convention Center (i.e., start time and estimated end time (not including teardown).In reality, I wanted to know the answer to question #4.
4. Is there a contingency plan to allow use of the room if the caucus does not end prior to the original contract end time? I wanted to know if they took any time to think ahead and consider the possibility that the caucus might drag on past midnight.
Consider what might happen if CAUCUS 2.0 follows the lead of other caucus events that were held across the Show-Me State March 17:
• If it goes the way of the Boone County GOP caucus in Columbia or the Christian County GOP Caucus in Ozark, it won’t get started until 9 p.m. at the earliest and will likely run well past midnight;
• If it follows the same paths as the Greene County GOP caucus in Springfield or the Jefferson County GOP caucus in Hillsboro, it will last more than seven hours and conclude sometime after 2 a.m. Wednesday; and
• If it follows the lead of the first St. Charles County caucus, it will never get off the ground.
Do I hope things go wrong? Of course, not! Instead, I hope thousands of St. Charles County Republican voters turn out for the caucus and help ensure a fair and just outcome.
Americans learn a lot about politicians during election years, and they learn a lot about the political process during caucus meetings. That in mind, I decided to follow Robert’s Rules of Order and make a motion calling for an injection of humor into my far-too-serious ongoing coverage of the 2012 St. Charles County (Mo.) Republican Presidential Caucus and politics in general. In other words, I’m sharing the video below which features the Australian comedy team of John Clarke and Bryan Dawe, with the former of which playing the role of a newly-appointed “impartial” politician. Enjoy!
Missouri Republican Party officials announced Friday that a new 2012 St. Charles County Republican Presidential Caucus (a.k.a., “Caucus 2.0″) will take place Tuesday, April 10 at 7 p.m. Central at the St. Charles Convention Center. Sadly, no details about that news can be found on the St. Charles County GOP “Calendar of Events” webpage as of the publication of this post.
As evidenced by the screen shot (above) of the aforementioned webpage, St. Charles County GOP officials have been slow to “pull the trigger” on letting voters in the state’s largest Republican stronghold know about the event. In fact, they might be following the state GOP’s once-tried-and-failed plan to limit voter participation in the March 17 caucus that, after being discovered, was abandoned 16 days later.
Why does it matter as to whether or not county GOP officials put useful information on their official website? Because, out of a sense of distrust, I suspect the Republican voters most likely to turn up at a second caucus are not the type to rely upon their local newspaper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, for accurate details on such an important event. They might, however, rely on this site.
As a public service, I’ll provide daily updates about this important matter in the space below until it is resolved.
UPDATE #1 — As of noon Monday (3/26/12), county GOP officials have wasted the first three of 18 days available to them to notify prospective caucus voters.
UPDATE #2 — As of noon Tuesday (3/27/12), county GOP officials have wasted the first four of 18 days available to them to notify prospective caucus voters.
UPDATE #3 — Finally! When I visited the front page of the county GOP website at noon Wednesday (3/28/12), I found the following update: “St Charles Caucus will be held on April 10 at 7pm at the Convention Center. No other information is available at this time – for more details go to www.mogop.org.” Now, it appears my work here is complete!
As I walked into Francis Howell North High School in St. Peters, Mo., to attend the 2012 St. Charles County Republican Presidential Caucus March 17, I did not expect fireworks and had no plans to provide anything but cursory coverage of the event. During the week that followed, my plans changed.
I found myself writing eightnine posts — including this one — about the event. Soon after, I find myself flooded with documents and videos purporting to show evidence of political skulduggery at county caucuses across Missouri. So what is one to do with the information, including the photo (above) of the ominous sign that greeted GOP caucus-goers in Jefferson County, Mo?
Rather than pursue the story which wasn’t even on my radar prior to the caucus, I’m going to share a few videos which, according to those who sent them, corroborate some of the claims made in the aforementioned DB article.
The video (above) was shot at the Boone County, Mo., GOP caucus held at Kemper Arena in Columbia. It appeared to show an orderly process taking place, but there is more to the story. On Friday, I was informed by caucus attendees in Boone County that an individual close to the county GOP’s central committee — but not a member of that committee — tried to make a deal with a caucus official who, at this point, asked not to be identified. This wannabe dealmaker, when asked for a specific piece of information by the caucus official, told the caucus official that she would provide that information in exchange for 50 percent — instead of only five — of the delegates.
The next video (above) shows some of what took place at the Jefferson County, Mo., GOP caucus at the Hillsboro R-3 Intermediate School. As was the case in Boone County, allegations of attempted dealmaking surfaced there, too. The change agent, again, was said to be someone close to, but not on, the county’s central committee — perhaps, to offer central committee members plausible deniability. Other allegations surround the alleged theft of caucus rolls. FYI: Since receiving this information from one source, I’ve read elsewhere that the official who allegedly tried to make the deal vehemently denies the accusation.
The third and final video (above) comes from the Christian County, Mo., GOP caucus held at the high school in Ozark. It shows how some attendees at that GOP caucus believe it was rife with fraud. As with the previous videos, I say, “You be the judge.”
I’m told reporters — and others — are investigating these alleged improprieties; therefore, I will hold off on offering any definitive conclusions or pin names to the allegations until more solid details surface.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE THIS PAGE, PLEASE READ THIS EDITOR’S NOTE: If you’re inclined to want to paint me as some kind of loyal Ron Paul follower (a.k.a., a “Paulbot”) rather than someone who merely favors transparency and rules, you need to do some background research first. When you read a number of posts I’ve written about Paul since 2006 (links below) as well as the comments section accompanying each, you’ll find only sporadic support of the Texas congressman:
If the posts linked above — and their related comments — don’t convince you, contact Bryce Steinhoff, one of the top Paul supporters in Missouri and a man with whom I’ve had a long-running dialogue about all things political. He will attest to the fact that I’ve never agreed to go all the way to what I often refer to as the “dark side” of the Republican Party.
UPDATE 3/27/12 at 5 p.m. Central: Though someone forwarded to me an audiotape of a conversation between a Ron Paul supporter and Jefferson County GOP Chair Janet Engelbach about the alleged disappearance of caucus rolls at the JeffCo GOP caucus, I’ll hold off sharing that audio and point readers to a St. Louis Post-Dispatcharticle published this afternoon. It will be interested to see if Missouri GOP officials take any actions in JeffCo.