NewsOp by By Ed Wallace – 02/22/2018
In his short term as Chairman of the UTGOP, Rob Anderson has managed to accumulate a long list of improper and deceptive behavior. This is a story about the corruption of Utah’s political process (and its leaders), that should by all means be the epitome of incorruptibility. Anderson began his term under a cloud of ethics violations while he was Chairman of the Davis County GOP.
Anderson’s Ethics Violation in Davis County
In a press release dated Nov 2, 2017, the Davis County GOP released their finding to the DCRP Executive Committee of a substantiated claim against former DCRP Chair Rob Anderson. “It was discovered that Anderson had removed the ethics committee from the liability insurance policy held by the DCRP shortly after the 2016 County Convention without discussion or consent of the County Central Committee or executive committee.”
On June 22, 2017, the DCRP County Central Committee voted overwhelmingly to indemnify ethics committee members. The vote followed after a discussion of the abuse of the committee due to a legal threat [from Anderson] and their need to be protected against such political intimidation.
Following indemnification, the ethics committee resumed their investigation of the ethics complaints against Anderson resulting in a finding of a substantiated complaint of “behavior unbecoming an officer of the DCRP” as reported to the executive committee on November 2, 2017.
“His tactics of intimidation have brought substantial harm to the party in impeding the work of fairness, order and justice” according to ethics committee members. The real and personal effect on the ethics committee has had a long and lasting impact, taking almost two years to finish the investigation, while throughout the process they worked under threat.
While the executive committee was not apprised of specific details, the ethics report did specify that the threatening behavior toward their committee was unfair to appointed members who work on a voluntary basis to support the workings of the party. In addition, undue stress has also been placed on the current administration to overcome the effects of this intimidation in order to have the ethics committee fully functional again and for order to be restored.”
Anderson’s Election as Chairman
Anderson was elected as UTGOP Chairman on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at the South Towne Exposition Center in Sandy, by declaring that the party had lost its way. “We are a house divided,” Anderson said as he called for an audit of the party’s finances. He ran on a platform that heavily emphasized his support as a protector for the caucus system. He even published a video to that effect on Apr 26, 2017: “I’m not the Count My Vote candidate!”
Yet, in an article published on May 27, 2017, he “was already devising a strategy for ending the legal fight over a controversial state law that’s driven the party into debt.” Anderson had also signed the Count My Vote initiative, something that he did not disclose during his campaign. And, he sent a note to Dave Bateman on Dec 13, 2017 acknowledging that he did sign the Count My Vote Petition.
In increasing numbers, SCC members were beginning to feel that they were deceived by a chairman they believed they elected to protect the Caucus System, defend the lawsuit, and pay off the legal fees owed by the Party. Anderson has mocked those SCC members as “fear mongers” and that they were falsely maligning him when they accused him of being a count my vote candidate.
One SCC member stated: “His campaign promises were a lie. Rob was elected after he lied about his support of the caucus and commitment to raising money to pay the debt. We were warned before he was elected that this was his intention. His associations with other people who want the same thing reinforced my knowledge. He is and has been the Count My Vote candidate. He’s the chair and he’s demonstrated that he will do anything to get what he wants.” Those associations include Governor Gary Herbert, who some have accused of being the reason that donor contributions have dried up because of the Governor’s urging.
In the case of the Count My Vote (CMV) initiative, the evidence seems to be overwhelming that the UTGOP was duped into electing a CMV ‘stooge’ to head up the party instead of the caucus defender that he claimed to be. Anderson’s action come down to his apparent, intended results of that very salient issue which the appeal of CMV was fighting: pretending it to be an issue of cost…when, in reality, it was an issue of subversion.
Anderson’s Bumbling (Intentional?) of the Sept 9, 2017 SCC Meeting
In an epic display of incompetence and/or manipulation, Anderson’s performance as Chair at the Sept 9, 2017 UTGOP State Central Meeting (SCC) meeting, left many SCC members shaking their heads, and others stunned, by the realization that he wasn’t the person he presented him as.
One veteran SCC attendee said “Anderson and Joni Crane (his Vice Chair), and Carrie Dickson (Parliamentarian) exhibited the most egregious and bullying behavior I’ve ever witnessed at a SCC meeting. They ignored SCC members and twisted the rules to their advantage and made sure that their supporters were allowed to gain voting seats on the SCC and EC without even having to go through elections.”
The meeting included at least 23 serious and blatant violations of SCC rules and parliamentary procedure.
Some of these abuses of power, and infringement, on the party’s rules and Constitution could have caused his censure and/or removal on the spot. For instance, some of the more fragrant violations include:
– Making motions (the chair is not supposed to make motions)
– A point of order was raised that a motion did not have a second, which was ignored.
– Anderson announced that electronic voting was going to be used for the elections. There was an uproar and people objected. The parliamentarian stated “an electronic ballot is a … form of a ballot. It doesn’t have to be paper.” No rule was cited to support this.
– The electronic voting did NOT work, was probably hacked, AND was used to spy on the SCC members, according to Anderson.
– Anderson announced that he, the Vice Chair, along with the parliamentarian, had reviewed the auxiliaries who were re-petitioning for auxiliary status. Auxiliary status gives their chair or president a VOTING seat on the SCC and on the State Executive Committee (SEC). None of these auxiliaries were approved by the SEC, as required by the bylaws, because the SEC did not have a quorum.
– Anderson moved by use of a stated “without objection” that the auxiliaries “be retained in their current form”. There was an objection with a motion to have each auxiliary voted on separately. Anderson called for a standing vote and ruled that the motion had failed. A call was then made for a division count. Anderson doubled down on his original motion. Someone raised a “Point of Order”. Anderson asked for a standing vote again. There were 22 for and 30 against. Anderson moved (according to party rules the chair isn’t supposed to make motions in larger committees) that “without objection, those are our current auxiliaries.”
– Two newly applying auxiliaries were denied auxiliary status. Not by the SEC, nor by the SCC, but by Joni Crane and the parliamentarian Carrie Dickson. Anderson never recused himself from chairing the portion of the meeting where his wife’s auxiliary was approved and the other group was denied.
– Anderson recognized a non-SCC member, State Senator Dan Thatcher, to speak against preference voting. Holly Rabanne (Tooele) raised a ‘Point of Order’ asking why a non-member was allowed to speak. Anderson responded because he recognized him, then instructed the member to take her seat telling her that she was “dismissed.”
– Someone called for a division count and Anderson said “we will not use division today.” Again, division was called for along with a “Point of Order” that once “division is called the chair is obligated to use it.” (Note: Division does not require a second, and cannot be debated, or amended. It cannot be simply dismissed).
– A member immediately appealed the ruling of the Chair. It was seconded. Anderson simply said that he noted the objection, but he completely ignored it and did nothing. (Note: Robert’s Rules state: “if a motion to appeal the ruling of the Chair is seconded, the chair should state clearly the question at issue, and his reasons for the decision if he thinks it necessary, and then state the question thus:, ‘Shall the decision of the chair be sustained?” Dickson the Parliamentarian stayed silent.
– Several members said that a motion could not be made while in recess. But, the parliamentarian and the vice-chair said it’s okay.
– During this time, the parliamentarian also went into the secure elections room several times, checking the status of the votes and giving orders as though she were also the elections chair. Committee members didn’t even know who the elections chair was, because it was never announced.
– Anderson started his report by expressing his desire for efficiency during meetings. He mentioned the elimination of Robert’s Rules of Order (replacing them with Dickson’s Rules of Deception?) as a way to do that (Daryl Acumen later referred to them as “Robert’s Rules for Radicals).
– As he was finishing up his report, without missing a beat, he slipped a little blurb into his long speech that “things happened” with the voting program and that the IT guys “accidentally” tapped into your cellphones and monitored all text messages, data activities and “things like that”. Then he said something like, “We’re not going to make an issue out of this, are we?” He asked the members to not disclose the problem with monitoring everyone’s phones.
– After the election voting, there were multiple motions and questions going on. When the members finally voted on something, it was unclear exactly what they were voting on. It was chaos, and people were asking for clarification of the motion, while they were voting, and the Vice Chair and parliamentarian were counting votes. The members think that whatever motion they voted on, passed.
– Someone moved to conduct “the vote on the resolution a little earlier prior to the counting of the votes for the election.” No one called a second.
– Don Guymon (Davis) raised another “Point of Order” about another resolution on the floor and no vote was offered or taken.
– Two more “Points of Order” were raised by Cherilyn Eagar (SL) that “the poll watchers were not in the room” and “we have a substitute resolution that is in order.” Then, Anderson asked for a standing vote on ‘those in favor of continuing with the resolution at this time, please stand and raise your credential.” The nay vote  was not heard and was not reported to the secretary. Anderson said that the resolution had passed, before the votes were counted
– After the meeting was adjourned, the reporters spoke to Anderson and a few other people. The reporters informed one of the members that Anderson said he could end the lawsuit against SB54 without SCC approval.
– That greatly concerned many of the members when they heard it, so they quickly called a meeting and 53 of them signed a letter stating that the SCC is the governing body of the party, etc. It seems that Anderson chose to make it public, so people would think that he was a victim and people were trying to remove him. (Read the last paragraph of the letter to see the intent.) Anderson referred to the signers as 53 rogue SCC Members. Since, Anderson and his dwindling number of associates, have done everything they can to bully and intimidate the signers of the letter. Some of the signers felt that they needed to send a letter to the other SCC members to clarify their intent. There was a lot of blow-back when that email was sent.
Anderson Flips about Dave Bateman’s offer that led to a special December SCC Meet
Related Article: NewsOp: Anderson Flips Again
Anderson had said in a budget meeting that if the party was not out of debt by Jan 15 he would take the UTGOP into bankruptcy and reorganize the party. He also threatened to drop the SB54 lawsuit because of mounting party debt. Twice, under different SCC members, the party had voted to continue the lawsuit if no party funds are used.
Dave Bateman wrote: “When I read that GOP Chairman Rob Anderson was planning to drop the SB54 lawsuit due to funding problems, I stepped forward and offered to pay all the ongoing legal expenses to defend Freedom of Association, as well as a healthy political climate in Utah. I subsequently learned the party was drowning in $400,000 of debt, so I offered to eliminate it. I heard the party was struggling to find donors, so I offered to personally help Rob Anderson fundraise; I have found several significant donors who said they would step forward.
The only significant items I asked in return was for Chairman Anderson to simply honor the directive already largely provided by the SCC: (1) don’t drop the lawsuit if it’s funded externally, and (2) empower [don’t impede or overrule] the committee tasked to oversee the lawsuit.”
Anderson knew that 90% of the SCC members voted to have a committee to address the debt and allow him to get other things done (like planning for the caucus). Anderson has described his relationship with the committee as “acrimonious”. One source involved in the negotiations described Anderson’s attitude as “bizarre… because the committee has no motive other than to do the job the SCC tasked it to do. This shows that the Chair clearly does not have the same goals as the committee, or the SCC.”
Anderson responded: “It is our extreme pleasure to announce that Chairman Anderson has been in communication with David Bateman, and Layne Beck, Chair of the CDC. All three parties are hopeful there will be an inked and executed contract tomorrow that will absolve the Party of all past legal debt and fund the legal challenge going forward. More details to follow. ***Please note: should this contract be signed, as hoped, the Special SCC Meeting will NOT be held. Instead, a celebratory event will be planned in its place. All SCC members are encouraged to attend. Same time and location. Standby for more information.”
One SCC member stated: “Anderson assured me and everyone else he would sign the contract, and asked the SCC to drop the special meeting. The SCC members who called the meeting refused, so Anderson went public and announced we’d reached an agreement, and falsely announced the cancellation of the meeting.”
But, in a stunning reversal, Anderson flipped on his decision from 2 days earlier to proceed with his agreement with donor Dave Bateman. Bateman had offered to pay all past and future expenses relating to the party’s continuing support for the caucus system and their opposition to the SB54 “Count My Vote” lawsuit, currently awaiting decision from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeal in Denver. That legal debt, $360,000, has brought the party close to bankruptcy and the future costs could run as high as $500,000.
One SCC member explained it this way: “Members of the committee had a verbal contract with Bateman. The Chair intervened after they had an agreement. The Chair changed the agreement and made it a point of the contract that the donor would be held legally liable, as a litigant in any legal proceedings. It is just unacceptable to make a donor a litigant. The Chair claims to stand by our governing rules then violates them time after time. You couldn’t script a better villain to take down the Party if you tried.”
After Anderson flipped, Bateman stated: “At the last minute, to my complete surprise, Rob Anderson has rejected my offer. In fact, he proposed that after I write this huge check and pledge to cover future expenses, he can unilaterally drop the lawsuit, and then sue me personally for any errors [malfeasance] made by Party counsel throughout the SB54 litigation….over which I have zero control.”
Bateman continued “I spent countless hours acting in good faith with the SCC’s honorable, legal-defense committee to work out a no-brainer solution, but I was deceived by the Chairman. I now know that Rob Anderson’s desire to drop the lawsuit has nothing to do with the GOP’s burgeoning debt. Rather, his actions lend immense credibility to those who suspect he’s colluding with Count My Vote to bankrupt the Party, undermine the Caucus System, and silence the SCC. My offer remains open, and I am hopeful that the State Central Committee will find a way to accept it and protect all State Political Parties’ ability to determine their own leadership-nominating methodologies.”
One SCC Member stated “Seems to me that Rob is working hard to offend as many people in the SCC as possible. Did he follow the 90%? No he did not. Has he planned for the caucus? He has not. I’m enjoying how rank and file Republicans came up with solutions when “leadership” just wanted to give up! Rob is clearly attempting to destroy the Utah Republican Party and then have it reinvigorated under CMV control. His attempts to do so must be exposed to the SCC and defeated. How many times has Rob Anderson said he supports the Caucus, and paying off debt, and then says the opposite? How many times can he say he voted for it before he voted against it, and maintain any credibility?”
Most members of the GOP State Central Committee (SCC) were shocked to learn of Anderson’s duplicity, defiance and maneuvering to end the lawsuit. At that meeting, a committee was tasked with overseeing the lawsuit but Anderson doesn’t see the committee as having any decision-making authority. “He thinks it exists only to provide advice and counsel.”
In increasing numbers, SCC members were beginning to feel that they were deceived by a chairman they believed they elected to protect the Caucus System, defend the lawsuit, and pay off the legal fees owed by the Party. One SCC member stated “I suspected he would do something scathing like this. I didn’t think he had the guts to do it after his excuse about not being able to afford it was diminished.”
Another stated “He has ZERO authority to negotiate anything regarding the lawsuit or legal debt. In fact, Rob has ZERO authority to be involved in ANY of it. That authority was taken away from him by the SCC. The committee was simply being polite by giving him the opportunity to agree to the proposal.”
Most caucus delegates and SCC members see CMV as a direct attack on the Utah Republican Party and see the lawsuit as saving the rights of the party to organize as the party chooses and not by the forced dictates of government. There is evidence that the destruction of the Republican party is planned and has been in the works for a long time.
When Anderson threatened bankruptcy, he stated that he was going to reorganize and restructure the party and call it “Republican Party of Utah.” The “official” Utah Republican Party does not own “Republican Party of Utah.” Taylor Morgan, CEO of Count My Vote owns it. Morgan purchased “ Republican Party of Utah” with the State Commerce Department on March 3, 2015. Searching that page for this registration, we find: Entity Details: REPUBLICAN PARTY OF UTAH – Utah Business Search – Utah.gov Status: Active as of 03/03/2015.)
Anderson’s apologists attempted to defend his actions by trying to slander Bateman. Alan Wessman stated “Wealthy person throws his money around in an attempt to dictate the actions of the party, while claiming it’s to help combat the influence of money on the political system. Anderson is right to reject large offers with strings attached.” John Mulholland said “How is this not using big money to buy political influence? This seems very hypocritical from what a lot of lawsuit supporters have said.”
The “strings” were in Bateman’s facebook post. He wanted Anderson to honor the agreement to continue the externally funded SB54 lawsuit and empower the CDC to do their job. Basically, he was trying to make sure his money was used to preserve the rights of Republicans in Utah and not squandered away.
If CMV2.1 passes, Utah’s media outlets will make a killing on primary campaign advertising. One political consultant stated “So much of this [CMV] has always been about lining the pockets of the consultant class. As a former (and sometimes current) member of the political consulting class, I can tell you that primaries are money makers for “campaign professionals”, and that mostly means media/ad buys.”
SB54, passed in 2014, allows candidates with deep pockets to bypass the traditional nominating caucus system by gathering signatures and forcing a primary. In the recent special election to replace Jason Chaffetz, Chris Herrod was the GOP nominee at that convention, but was forced into a primary by John Curtis, who went the signature route. The UTGOP had to run Curtis as a Republican even though he was not the nominee.
Ed Wallace, Publisher of UtahSandardNews.com, stated:“The simple fact is that the leaders of the Utah Republican Party are responsible for CMV and are now crying to end the suit, knowing that they could very well lose. The Media, CMV and SB54 folks have used the party debt as a club to beat up the party and force them to do their will for years. Very powerful people don’t like it when the Grassroots organize and take care of business and will stoop to any method of thwarting the effort. If the Republican Party has to go down in order for “The Empire” to maintain control, then so be it. There are casualties in every war.”
Anderson and the Emergency 12/16/2017 SCC Meeting
Related Article: UTGOP Chair Fails to Sabotage Successful Special SCC Meeting
The events of the Sept 9, SCC 2017 meeting, along with Anderson’s duplicity about CMV and his apparent unwillingness to resolve the debt problem, caused 51 SCC members to call for a special meeting on 12/16/2107. The meeting addressed Bateman’s offer and the 2018 Caucus Rules and Delegate Allocation and plans, that Anderson had ignored.
The simple truth was that the Republican Party was on the verge of bankruptcy. Another simple truth is that forces in party leadership positions were doing everything they could to insure that happens.
“Nothing mean or bad was on the agenda. We simply want to extinguish the debt, in a way acceptable to the generous donor, to find out our delegate allocations, ratify some caucus rules, and set up a fundraising committee to help the party move forward. Not sure why anyone who supports the party would be opposed to any of that.” said one SCC member.
Anderson and the GOP staff pulled out all the stops in an effort to sabotage the meeting by falsely asserting that the meeting was unnecessary, improper, illegal, and cancelled. Those efforts included bullying and harassing party members, using false rules information, attacking the secretary for doing her job, robocalls and personal calls to not attend the meeting, and encouraging a standoff. It was clear that Anderson not only targeted SCC members, but anyone (thousands) for whom they had e-mail addresses. Anderson has since directed GOP staff, in open violation and defiance of UTGOP Employee Policy Guidelines, to take screenshots of SCC members Facebook and Twitter conversations.
By doing that, Anderson and his “supporters” used party donated funds against members who were solving the money issues by finding new millennial donors. Anderson did not attend the meeting and Joni Crane, the elected Vice-Chair, REFUSED to attend.
Anderson commented that the meeting notice sent out by Secretary Lisa Shepherd was “unprecedented”. The sentiment among the 51 SCC members who called for the meeting is that the “precedence” is that the elected Secretary is doing the job to which she was elected – contrary to the observed actions of the Chair.
Anderson sent out a timeline that went into great detail about the progress of Bateman’s offer. However, he did leave out one major detail: The email sent out by Layne Beck to all SCC members and party officers. In the email, Beck announces that he asked the Secretary to send the call. The rules of the party state the secretary sends out notices of meetings. Lisa Shepherd did her job.
Anderson complained about the special SCC meeting and said that the GOP attorney, who hasn’t been confirmed yet, has the opinion that the meeting is outside of GOP Bylaws. The founding documents of the party make the SCC the governing and policy-making body of the party.
One independent parliamentarian stated: ‘Nothing in the existing Republican Party Constitution or Bylaws, which are also subject to state statute, suggest that the absence of the chair or vice chair of any group, having adopted the current/present Robert’s Rules of Order imply that an officially called meeting of the State Central Committee would be illegal or inappropriate.”
The meeting was held and was arguably the most professional, efficient and courteous SCC meeting in the history of the Utah GOP. 38% of the SCC members showed up and all votes were nearly unanimous. A video, viewed over 7,900 times, of the meeting can be seen on Lisa Cummins’ Facebook page. The resolution agreeing to the deal with Bateman was passed unanimously by the 70 credentialed SCC members in attendance. The resolution effectively took Anderson out of the loop.
Kirby Glad (parliamentarian) was elected as chair pro tem for the meeting and did a masterful job. He took time to facilitate and inform with respect and humor, as it should be done, instead of acting like a dictator. One member said “I have never seen a meeting so well led as today. After attending the last meeting and contrasting the two it was patently obvious why we need true parliamentarians running our meetings.”
The meeting was attended by SCC members from all over Utah, from Cache and Box Elder Counties as well as Iron and Washington, and everywhere in between. One member said “I did not show up today as a Rob supporter. If anything, his intellectual dishonesty reinforced this week my angst with him, Joni and the entire staff.”
Wendi Baggaley stated: “Whether party officers or members recognize this or not, this ability for 25% of the SCC to call a special meeting is actually a very important check on the party chair and vice chair. In return, if the work done at the special SCC meeting is out of bounds, then the chair and other members of the SCC have the right to bring those issues up at the next meeting and vote to overturn what was done. In any case, this is a great opportunity to see how self-governing people can work out problems and move forward, despite our very human weaknesses.”
Another SCC member said “We simply want to, in a way acceptable to the generous donor, reach an agreement to eliminate the party’s debt. Not sure why anyone who supports the party would be opposed to any of that. Yet, the chair seems desperate to keep that from happening.”
One knowledgeable source said: ”Governor Gary Herbert’s pen (signing SB54 and vetoing Constitutional carry), has done more damage to the Republican party and the the God given rights of Utah residents here in Utah, then any individual ever could. It’s a shame that moderate RINO’s still support Gary Herbert and still have his back over the damage and debt Gary Herbert’s actions, or lack thereof, have caused the party by him signing SB54. The SCC and all of the good people therein that showed up to this meeting are not to blame for the Party’s troubles, they are simply doing the right thing and cleaning up the Governor’s mess.”
Another SCC organizer said: “Just for the record, I couldn’t care less about the happiness level of Rob. He is a thug and a liar who has no business being Chair of the UTGOP. He got where he is through deception, cover-up and the help of enemies of our caucus system. He is in a position way over his head. We are fighting for the soul of the Utah Republican Party against a devious underhanded enemy. With his rejection, without a reasonable counter, of Dave Bateman’s party debt payoff deal, Anderson has revealed himself as a corrupt liberal CMV puppet who can never be trusted to do the right thing!”
UTGOP settles with Dave Bateman to settle SB54 debt & move forward.
On Jan 11, 2018 Anderson announced that an agreement had been reached with Dave Bateman to extinguish the party’s debt and future costs relating to the litigation of the Count My Vote SB54 election law. Dave Bateman, CEO of Entrata, assumed all the existing ($360,000) and future legal debt (as much as $500,000) relating to the SB54 lawsuit. Bateman and tech-entrepreneur Josh James also pledged another $100,000 to help with on-going party expenses
The following is Anderson’s statement sent to SCC members: “I am very pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached to extinguish all legal debt incurred by the Party as a result of the litigation which challenges current Utah election law as a result of the passage of SB54 in 2014. We are very grateful to the generosity of Entrata CEO, Dave Bateman, who has volunteered to service this significant financial obligation, as well as the cost of any future legal expenses related to this matter going forward. We recognize this as a significant development, and look forward to a robust 2018 election year with the Party better poised than ever for electoral success.”
The Agreement is Noted by Utah Media and Anderson takes credit.
Related Article: Media in Lockstep Over Bateman and UTGOP Agreement About CMV
Two headlines say it all:
What is missing from those stories is the history behind the SB54 legal challenge by the UTGOP and Anderson’s attempts to stop the lawsuit and pull the party into bankruptcy.
The SCC can confirm a “policy” as the governing body of the party, which could be that the Chair (or Vice Chair if the Chair fails to act) shall sign and execute (named specific) agreement by this-and-such day. “Failure to do so could be written into such a resolution as to say “Failure by the Chair to sign and execute shall be considered to have resigned his position. Failure by the Vice Chair to sign and execute shall be considered to have resigned her position.”
In other words, Anderson was forced to sign the agreement with Bateman. Neither of those two articles mention any of this. Instead, they showed their bias for Anderson by allowing him to paint himself as the hero, in spite of, and against the rank and file SCC members.
Neither of the articles contain any quotes from Bateman or any of the members of the self-governing SCC that stepped up and did the job that Anderson was elected to do. The following are quotes from the two articles:
“Conservatives dominate the central committee, which has pushed the lawsuit.
But moderates contend delegates tend to be extreme and choose nominees outside the political mainstream.”
“Anderson added that he just had a conversation with one of the party’s attorneys, “and he was thrilled. I told him that before I showed up, ‘you were never going to be paid, you know that?’ He said, ‘I know.’”
“This absolves me of any responsibility to take any monies and use those to pay any litigation expenses,” he said. “I’m working on relationships and getting people back to the party, and forging new relationships as well.”
“I think the legal monkey is off our back,” said Anderson.
“The party had been hampered by that legal debt as many big-pocketed donors did not want their donations to pay for a lawsuit they did not agree with as they supported the SB54 law. But, the right wing of the party kept the suit alive despite the mounting debt.”
“Now that we’ve taken the financial burden off the State Central Committee and they have an unlimited bucket of money for litigation, why not take this all the way to the Supreme Court if they continue to get an answer they don’t like from the courts?” said Anderson.
“With the burden of the legal bills off his back, Anderson says he is free to focus on paying off the operational debt of the party which was left over from his predecessor.”
Is Anderson laundering money for Tanner Ainge?
In the case of the Tanner Ainge campaign for CD3 and Anderson, their actions go way past civil concerns and likely spill into the definition of criminal activity. As if the party doesn’t have enough problems already, they could soon be facing violations of FCC rules as well as charges of money laundering.
According to his own words, Anderson put Ainge’s debt onto the GOP books which allowed Ainge’s donors to assist with donations to the party up to a limit of $10,000, instead of the limit of $2,700, to a candidate. The party did a pass-through with the money to pay for Ainge’s debt.
Chairman Rob Anderson of the Utah Republican Party, an entity that is supposed to be neutral, bent over backwards to help Ainge. A recording of the GOP Executive Committee lays out the plan. Anderson begins to explain how the (UTGOP) took over Ainge’s debt around the 11:25 mark
According to Ainge’s Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing, his campaign ended with Debts/Loans owed by the “Ainge for Congress” campaign of $65,332, the same amount of Ainge’s loans to his campaign that were not paid back. No other debts were listed.
Yet, a debt of $45,551.61, for Ainge’s campaign, is listed on the UTGOP’s books. The debt is Ainge using the party’s postage permit and is not technically a debt or an expense of the Ainge campaign that needs to be reported.
However, UTGOP Chair Rob Anderson told one party member that the party is running a debt for Ainge and that Ainge reached out to him. Anderson is quoted as saying: “He [Ainge] reached out to the party and said, ‘Look, I’m having problems. I don’t have a lot of donors but, I have a few that are willing to pay a lot, and I’m aware that you can help me out here.’ So, this was after the whole election thing and this isn’t public. There’s only a handful of people who know that Ainge is running money through the party to help service his debt.”
Anderson went on: “Now, here’s the deal with that. Mia sent out fliers. They put the mailings through the Utah GOP and put paid for by the Utah GOP. That’s the kind of pass-through money that we agree to. Dave Hansen’s agreed to pay that off. That’s Mia’s responsibility. And I’ll tell you, Arena [publishing]has called and said ‘Your name is on there. You’re liable to it.’ So, that’s the only reason we carry it on the books is we have to report that to the FEC. And then Tanner Ainge contacted us after his candidacy. And the reason we put him on there is for individual donations, we can accept up to 10,000 federal money per person and 20,000 per couple. And he had a couple of donors that we’re looking into–they said 2,700 is the individual limit to a campaign. And so we told him that we’d put that on the books and he could raise additional money from a couple of sources to pay that off. And I think he’s raised some money. We haven’t received that yet. But that is Tanner’s responsibility, so it’s not ours.”
The member then asked Anderson “Did you just put it on your books because they ran it through your kind of postal account or something?”
Anderson: “Yes. Yes. Yes. That’s the only reason we have it.”
Member: “And that happened before you were chairman, right?”
Anderson: “And that happened before I was chair. That was last fall. And Tanner Ainge, I accepted just because I wanted to help him pay off his debt.”
In a recorded meeting of the Executive Committee (EC) meeting on September 9, 2017, Anderson explained how he [UTGOP] took over Ainge’s debt. The following is a transcript of Anderson’s comments:
3:14 – “There will be some pass-through money with the Tanner Ainge campaign. He has incurred a bunch of debt, and his donors, he’s got donors, that want to continue to contribute to pay off that debt, but they can only do twenty-seven hundred dollars per individual but they can do ten thousand to the party, so I’ve offered to clear up his debt and get him back on the street again and clean up his accounts. I’ve offered the party to allow the donations up to ten thousand dollars and so we’ll see some of that come through shortly, and we’ve been paying some of his bills in that way.”
Question: “But, that’s just pass-through, it’s not costing the party anything?”
Anderson: “We’ll have some pass through in those cases and we’ll try to help out Tanner… I guess there’s no reason to vote on it, or anything like that.” There was then some discussion about FEC regulations concerning state and federal money:
Attendee: “Taking a $10,000 state contribution and paying a federal debt… I think there has to be more to it than that.”
Anderson: “We were on the ropes before Thursday night because we can only take a certain portion of that state money and throw it over to federal, and we were above that [limit]. The way we do the budget now is, the way the money runs in the office: We get the money in… Abe’s generally not there… Peter will take it, Peter’s the central control for that, and he’ll take it over to Mike McCully, our accountant, Mike will put that in the appropriate account, and manages all that. Mike’s pretty smart on all that stuff… he’s used by other states….. He controls all of that… he’s going to keep us out of a bind. Everytime we approach those, he calls me and goes ‘look, we need this, we need that’, and I go, ‘I understand Mike, we’ll make that happen’.”
At that same meeting, Thomas Wright, a former chair and RNC member recommended against any such move for FEC/legal reasons. Because there was not a quorum at the meeting, no votes were taken. Members left the meeting believing the idea was dead.
One of the attendees stated “If Anderson did what he stated in the meeting he was doing, he did it without authorization of the party and knew he was acting inappropriately. No authorization has been given to Anderson since to take such action by the EC or SCC or officers as a whole to ‘run Ainge’s debt through the Party books’.”
Anderson now says that isn’t what happened, but instead violated postal non-profit regulations, which the party has now been told by the USPS not to do in the future. When the GOP signed an agreement with the post office for the non-profit discount, they agreed that they would not offer the discount to anyone as part of that agreement.
In the January 19 KUTV interview, Ainge claimed the money owed to the party was for mailers that were funneled through the Party, but that contradicts the 9/9 Executive Committee transcript.
A source with knowledge of campaign financing speculated “Mailing for Ainge suggests the agreement had to have been discussed during his campaign, which violates neutrality rules. If it wasn’t discussed until after Ainge’s campaign, it’s not for mailers, it’s just a huge debt that the party agreed to take on. The party essentially financed one candidate’s campaign (and still is) even if the debt didn’t transfer until recently. I think the GOP may have agreed to funnel Ainge family money to the Ainge campaign via the loophole of party committee donations.”
An executive level official within the FEC, when informed of the draft of this story, stated: “Calling this a loophole makes it sound tricky, but not illegal. IT IS 100% ILLEGAL. There is no legal loophole that would allow for this to be done… it is an attempt to circumvent the law and hide it from the FEC. That one point [loophole] might make some think that there is a problem with the rules and laws. There is not. Getting this report into the FEC’s hands will probably instigate a FEC civil AND Department of Justice criminal investigations.”
Other than a detailed aged accounts payable report, Anderson has refused to give the party’s audit committee the party’s financial information since last fall.
In response to the audit committee’s request, Anderson had his own interpretation about the request and role of the committee, “It is not the purview of the Audit Committee to oversee the financial dealings of the Party. Please advise once a qualified CPA firm has been appointed.”
Anderson’s behavior concerning the Ainge issue has already scared off one major donor who had recently offered a $50k commitment to the party.
One longtime Republican stated: “They [UTGOP] bent over backward for Hatch, but I have never seen them take on the debt of a candidate who never became the party’s nominee.”
On 9/22 there was a contribution to the local account from the federal account as well as an expense from the local account for a transfer to the federal account. $16,852 was transferred from the federal account to the local account and $25,000 from the local account to the federal account on the same day. Scott Keller donated $50,000 locally on 9/15 and the party put $50,000 into the federal account on 9/19. Two of these transfers, 11/7/2017 and 12/6/2017, for $5,000 each equal the amount of Lori Farnsworth’s $10,000 contribution to the UTGOP filing 11/10/2017
Ainge’s FEC 2017 year-end filing still shows the same debt of $65,331. And, the UTGOP continues to house the debt of $45,555.61 owed to Majority Strategies for Ainge’s printing. Essentially, the UTGOP is liable for the bills for the Ainge flyers that defamed the ultimate UTGOP Congressman John Curtis.
UTGOP payables also include $122,134.40 owed to Arena Communications for the Mia Love campaign, and $4,028 owed to the law firm of Caplin & Drysdale for legal fees, the same firm that also represents Count My Vote and Mitt romney.
So, who is Majority Strategies (MS)? They present themselves primarily as a “consulting strategy and management’ company that mostly does work for Republican candidates. Another service they offer is printing, but you have to dig to find that out.
According to their website “Majority Strategies is the premier influence marketing services firm with over two decades of experience across elections, advocacy and brand.” They are a foreign company based in Florida (State of Origin) with a registered agent (Michael McCarlie ) with an address in Salt Lake City. Their Utah license expired on 3/28/2017 (Failure to file renewal), about two months prior to Ainge filing to run. They were paid $77,253 for printing by Ainge for Congress between 8/4 to 9/30/2017. Michael McCarlie was also paid $2,735 by Ainge’s campaign for printing. MS also did work for Romney’s campaign.
If Ainge didn’t report the Majority Strategies debt at the end of his campaign, that means either he was under reporting, or he already had a deal with Anderson before his campaign ended, violating neutrality rules.
The question is… Is this legal (using the loophole of giving 10k to the party to pay off a campaign debt)? Our understanding of the way FEC rules work is that any one person can’t violate the contribution limits. If someone wanted to exploit a loophole and give additional money to a candidate, beyond the $2,700 x 2, through another entity like the UTGOP, then probably, in the spirit of the rule, that is not allowed. So theoretically, if one tries to do that, there is this legal fiction where they’re pretending the money they give to the state party is not intended for Ainge… it’s just money to the state party, and the party just happens to choose to give it to Ainge.
Assuming that is a rule, then who has violated the rule? Is it the donor, who intended for the money to go to Ainge, and knows that the state party will agree to give it to Ainge? Does the donor violate the rule for going above the limit? Is it the Ainge campaign… are they the ones that violated the rule because they accepted a contribution from a donor that went above a limit? Is it the state party that violated a rule because they agreed to accept the donation knowing that they were just going to give it to Ainge?
And, where in all this is UTGOP Chair Rob Anderson culpable? He probably isn’t culpable in accepting a donation. He may not be culpable in giving a donation to Ainge. Maybe, where he’s culpable, is that his stated intent was to accept the donation for the purpose of giving it to Ainge when he knew that the donor had already maxed out to Ainge. Are the FEC rules written in such a way that that’s a violation of the rules?
The party has seemingly assumed the expenses of the Ainge campaign. Is that the loophole that allows them to get donations to pay that debt? In other words, you send your donors our way and we’ll pay off your debt. But, shouldn’t Ainge’s FEC filings show an in-kind contribution from the party that the party took a vendor bill off his hands that he hadn’t paid yet. These questions will be answered when the FEC completes their investigation.
In the recorded September 9, 2017 Executive Committee (EC) meeting, Anderson stated, “I don’t know that any campaign used us in the CD3 race, so there was no income, there was no pass-through money.” The following is a transcript of Anderson’s comments:
At the 2:04 mark: “Campaigns, when they come in and they use us to get the bulk mail rate, so the money is on our books, but it really doesn’t come to us, it’s a pass-through, so the income and the outcome is about the same. So, what happened in the CD3 race is that….explained to us that anybody can get that bulk mail rate, they’ve got to use a post office that is capable to sort the mail in that method and give it to the post office in that bulk mail form. So, they didn’t, I don’t know that any campaign used us in the CD3 race, so there was no income, there was no pass-through money.”
But, In a bizarre twist to this story, and in direct contradiction to his earlier statement, time-stamped about 14 minutes before Brian Mullahy’s report, UTGOP Chair Rob Anderson posted on Facebook, and at 6:45 p.m he emailed State Central Committee members claiming that Ainge was the only candidate that had used “the discounted bulk rate with the UTGOP indicia.”
The mail permit use was a service offered to all campaigns. That raises the question of why the UTGOP would put itself at financial risk, and offer their bulk mailing rate to any candidate who self-identifies as a Republican, or even one who goes through the Party’s caucus nominating process, when the same discount rate is available at any post office in the country who can handle bulk mailing. There are at least 79 USPS locations in Utah that do that regularly.
Anderson’s statement that “This is a service available to all Republican candidates, but requires the candidate, not the Party, to remit payment for the US Postal bulk-mail cost.” is misleading because one of Ainge’s challengers was required to “pay for it at the time we used it.” However, on a Utah GOP accounts payable statement on December 20, 2017, Ainge’s debt was still sitting on Party books. This shows preferential treatment to Ainge over other candidates in the same race, violating Party neutrality standards.
Now, the Party is needlessly on the hook for around $167,692.01 of campaign debt that should have never been on the UTGOP books in the first place. That amounts to an interest free loan, with no collateral, relying strictly on the honor of a politician to pay it back, with no clause to do so, or penalty if they don’t. Is there a lending institution in the country that would do that? The SCC may be looking to get a better grip on what the party is doing in the future.
Mia Love’s campaign manager, Dave Hansen, stated in the KUTV story that “Technically, the money [$122,140.40] is owed by the party,” adding the campaign routed the mail through the state GOP, because the party pays a lower bulk rate. “It’s the responsibility of the campaign to pay it off.”
KUTV2 News asked if the campaign [Love’s], which had more than $300,000 as of late September, could take some of that money and pay off the debt. “We can take some of it,” Hansen replied. “But there are certain limits from the Federal Election Commission as to how much can be transferred over.”
An official at the USPS who is assigned to handle Political Campaign mailings stated: “No, one thing is bulk mailing rate and quite another is the Non-Profit rate. The GOP has a non-profit status but they have misused their status. The USPS National Political Strategist and myself met with BJ Griffin and we explained this to him among many other issues we addressed. I will give them the benefit of the doubt because this has been done for years and the non-profit status has been misused by other GOP chairs. We [the USPS] do not see any malice on their part. The USPS will be conducting training for all candidates some time in March. It is very likely that I will be the USPS Rep. in charge of the training.”
Dave Bateman, in his GOP bailout, refuses to pay those two debts. Nor should he. In the case of the Ainge and Love campaigns, and Rob Anderson, their actions go way past civil concerns and could likely spill into the definition of criminal activity. This is a story that transcends a single episode like the debt matter. It’s a story about the corruption of Utah’s political process (and its leaders) that should by all means be the epitome of incorruptibility.
Ainge was the spoiler in the Republican Primary election in 2017. The election resulted with the winner, John Curtis, getting only 43.28% of the votes cast. The Republicans are now saddled with a candidate that 56.72% of the Republican voters voted against. Many speculate that Ainge was inserted into the race by CMV supporters for the express purpose of spitting the vote so that Curtis would win.
Anderson’s Interference, Unauthorized and Costly Investigation into Party Secretary’s Document Re-formatting
Lisa Shepherd, the duly elected, independent party secretary office is not subordinate to Anderson, Crane, or any employee of the party. Shepherd, who campaigned as an ardent caucus supporter recently, received a formal resolution of support in her role as the UTGOP Secretary from the Weber County GOP. Shepherd was recognized (VIDEO) on February 22, 2018 by the Iron County GOP with the Lady of Liberty Award for her 26 years of dedicated service to the Republican Party.
The UTGOP has bylaws that Anderson is ignoring concerning his role as chair and his preventing Shepherd from doing her duly elected job. There’s a much bigger story here and this short section just doesn’t do it justice. A separate article will presented later. But, for now, be aware that Anderson has overstepped his bounds, wasted party money, and has retained an attorney without any authorization to do so, all in an effort to disparage the only party officer that has been shown overwhelming recognition and support from the SCC members.
Most recognize these actions ordered by Anderson as part of an erupting civil war within the UTGOP, with Shepherd as a party officer opposed to Count My Vote and the dual path (SB54 2014), and Anderson as an active supporter of the dual path in opposition of the direction of the SCC.. The last term of the SCC had Anderson regularly voting in the extreme minority of the SCC supporting the Count My Vote initiative and SB54. Unfortunately, the state delegates trusted Anderson’s claims that he was not the Count My Vote candidate to which his defiant actions against directives by the SCC have spoken louder than the words the delegates were led to believe.
At the UTGOP Executive Committee meeting on January 16th, SCC member Chris Herrod confronted Anderson about hiring an attorney (Stuart Peay) without SCC authorization, at the price of a $3,000 retainer/month. Even though the SCC had not approved hiring Peay, or the monthly retainer, Anderson just shrugged Herrod’s comments off.
A large part of Peay’s work was to do an investigation of Shepherd’s work reformatting the bylaws document. Over the next four months, Peay investigated and sent his findings to Anderson in a December 4, 2017 letter. In his letter, Peay states the following: “Early in 2017,…It appears that she then asked Mr. Evans if she could make changes in the formatting and capitalization, which she did. She presents evidence that she reported her activities to various other Party officers and at various Party meetings around this time. It does not appear to me that any of the changes were material in nature. The State Central Committee should censure Ms. Shepherd for acting beyond the duties outlined for her office.”
Shepherd stated “I did not do commas, periods, or any of that except changed one / to the word “and” to make the committee name uniform with the rest of the document. I did a few capitalization changes and the rest was general appearance reformatting. The previous chair authorized me to perform the service and what I did was customary in Robert’s Rules.”
A few people called those “changing the bylaws” as if there were substantial changes made. There was no other known activity by Peay other than his investigation of Shepherd and to recommend censure against the party secretary for the most innocent and minor, and in his words “immaterial” changes to party documents (fixing spacing or possibly typos). Several elected officials and SCC members were alarmed by Anderson’s and Peay’s actions with members recommending a censure of Anderson and Peay for their violation of Robert’s Rules procedures, and a commendation for Shepherd’s professional conduct in her service in re-formatting the party documents..
One member stated “I really don’t think many donors would approve. It was a witch hunt against Lisa at party expense and unauthorized, and it (unauthorized retaining of an unnecessary attorney) continues. No one authorized Rob Anderson to do an investigation and as a well known good politician told me “’it was designed to be a hit piece’. All his [Anderson] complaining about the party going into debt and he’s spending $3k a month ($12,000 total) on a lawyer to investigate someone doing their job??? Since the expense was not approved by the SCC, it’s out of Rob’s pocket, right?”
When Shepherd was contacted regarding this story, she stated she prefer this story not be written and that she “is busy doing minutes and transcripts” and that her “main focus at this time is for the Party to provide a fair and successful 2018 caucus and convention process.” She added that she welcomes all candidates to participate in the convention process. She concluded that the nominating conventions are her favorite part of being involved in the Party.
The 1/27/2018 SCC Meeting – One For the Books
The emotionally charged January SCC meeting had 128 members credentialed. The meeting started at 10:00 a.m. and went until 5:00 p.m. It didn’t take long for the division between Anderson and the SCC members to deepen.
In an unbelievable move, Anderson started the meeting by declaring that the 12/16/2017 SCC meeting, meeting called by the body was not valid. Layne Beck called to appeal the ruling of the Chair. Anderson argued and ignored Layne and called for the sergeant of arms to toss him out of the meeting and threatened arrest. Suddenly, Beck was surrounded and supported by many other SCC members. All hell broke out. Ultimately, the SCC overruled the Chair and voted to ratify the business of the December 16th meeting.
At that point, members were openly commenting that Anderson was acting like a tin-pot dictator for not allowing a motion, and that it was beyond time to remove him. Anderson only had two supporters in the room. The SCC could have taken this opportunity, and had the vote,s to fire Anderson as Chair, but they didn’t realize it. Opportunities come and quickly go.
Elizabeth, an SCC member stated: “I have never seen such a poorly written agenda as this meeting had. It was inaccurate, with the sequence of events out of order. There was no flow to the meeting within the agenda. It did not follow the outline that has been established. It was not written by our secretary. In this meeting, we, the members of SCC, fixed it and proceeded to take care of the needed business of the day. When the chair announced that Rob Bishop could come and speak to us out of turn, Congressman Bishop declined and did it in the order that it should be done. (The chair was not even following his written agenda.)”
The State Central Committee voted to allow Keep My Voice to circulate their petitions at the caucus. Keep My Voice is an initiative petition that was added to counter Direct Primary Elections. It was decided that a voluntary donation from each precinct of $50.00 per state delegate would be requested to help with the costs of the convention.
Anderson’s theme seems to have been to discredit the caucus/convention by making the whole process look bad, from the expenses of both the caucus and convention, the number of delegates, and the importance of being self sufficient on convention costs.
Anderson has since commented on the last SCC meeting, basically encouraging people to not follow the SCC’s directive on Caucus night to gather KMV initiative signatures. This is being seen as Anderson’s coming out moment publicly acknowledging he is the CMV candidate and he lied during his campaign speech and misled the delegates. He also acknowledged sending CMV a text “well played” when they launched their CMV 2.1 initiative.
Anderson Trashes Mitt Romney
On 2/14/2018, prior to Mitt Romney announcing his candidacy, Anderson attacked Romney for “essentially doing what Hillary Clinton did in New York”. Anderson stated : “I think he’s keeping out candidates that I think would be a better fit for Utah because, let’s face it, Mitt Romney doesn’t live here, his kids weren’t born here, he doesn’t shop here. I have two questions for Mitt. First of all, why? And how do you expect to represent Utah when you don’t live here? [Romney]has been poaching all of the talent as far as campaign and messaging and financing. Nobody wants to go out there like David and Goliath and get defeated by the Romney machine. He has never been a Trump supporter. I just want somebody to support the party platforms.”
Anderson later apologized to Romney, who reached out to him. Governor Gary Herbert, called Anderson’s remarks “uncharacteristically harsh” and criticized him for failing “to maintain a neutral position as party chairman.” It’s highly unusual for a party chairman to criticize a potential candidate as well as being against the party’s neutrality rules.
Orrin Hatch “strongly disagree with him [Anderson]” over Romney’s qualifications. Mia Love called Romney a “supporter and a friend” who is “absolutely” qualified to run.. Jason Chaffetz questioned whether Anderson is “familiar with Mitt Romney’s history.”
Anderson’s comments were heard around the world and gained recognition in over 70 featured articles. Most of the mainstream American press, both liberal conservative, had articles “above the fold” that took note of Anderson’s comments, as a GOP leader, disparaging Romney, a potential GOP candidate. It made for great fodder.
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