The Penobscot Heist: When Republicans Play Like Democrats

Two of the most cherished freedoms in this country are the right to vote and the right to assemble. As part of our representative government, we have elected representatives at all levels from the local all the way up to federal, who set policy that affects our nation.

In our country, parties exist to allow individuals of like-minded principles and ideologies to come together and work to enact policy. In America, the two-party system has long been dominant. While two parties have always been dominant at any given time, parties come and go. Jeffersonian Republicans and Federalists of the first party system no longer exist, nor do the Whigs of the following system. As has been the case for well over a century, the United States of America have the Democrats and the Republicans.

The Democrats have long been the champions of big government, advocating for the expansion of the military-industrial complex and police state. In the name of humanity and improving society, Democrats will inflate the size of government and the end result is decreased civil liberties. The Constitution, as has been the case for quite some time, rests in exile from politics.

The Republicans carry the talking points of the exact opposite. Every election, conservatism steps up to the podium, discussing their adherence to the Constitution and respect for the processes that are laid out within the document. They are the defenders of the law and here in Maine, the self-proclaimed defenders of voter integrity.

Talk is cheap.

Here is a story out of Penobscot County, where the County Republican Committee held its elections for County Chair. Enter Bryan Daugherty, a dedicated man and a principled individual who has worked hard for the Republican Party, as well as the principles they claim to live by. Daugherty was a duly elected National Delegate from Maine to the Republican National Convention. A supporter of Ron Paul in the last election, he understands the principles of fiscal conservatism and limited government, and has worked hard to ensure his children will grow up to see a prosperous government under these principles. He was also campaign manager for Sam Canders, a State House candidate from Bangor, who lost to Democrat Adam Goode after a lack of support from the State Party.

Daugherty entered the race for the Penobscot County Republican Chairman. He wasn’t the only one, however. Former State Senator Deb Plowman, who last year sought the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, would also run.

2012 itself was an interesting year for Republicans. Repeated conflict between the libertarian and establishment factions led to a tumultuous primary that costed the party the general election. Instead of participating in the bickering however, Daugherty was working to elect an honorable military man to the Legislature. Canders, who served four tours in Afghanistan, lost with zero support from the Maine Republican Party. This still did not stop Daugherty from working hard to ensure an honorable, liberty-supporting Republican would be elected.

Deb Plowman would enter the race for U.S. Senate after Republican Senator Olympia Snowe announced her retirement, joining other opportunists to compete with longtime candidate Scott D’Amboise.

Given these facts, what do we supposed occurred come the evening of the election?

Pure chaos, widespread fraud, and consistent denial since.

Penobscot County Republican Ken Anderson filed an appeal of the election with the State Committee, calling upon Republicans to follow the rules and have an honest election. Shouldn’t be difficult for the party that endorses following the rule of law and embarks upon crusades against voter fraud, right?

In weeks since the filing of the appeal, Anderson has heard nothing from anyone regarding his appeal. Not even a confirmation of the appeal being received, or a notice that it is actually being reviewed instead of collecting dust somewhere.

Anderson’s appeal, which is just over five pages, details many violations of party bylaws that were allowed to stand. The party of anti-voter fraud allowed “an illegal vote to permit members who were not eligible voting members of the committee to nevertheless vote in the election of officers.” In addition to the fraud committed here, there was also a mishandling of the proxies, as well as a mishandling of the votes.

Essentially, non-voting county members were allowed to cast votes. After a year where establishment Republicans cried about supposed dirty tricks by the Ron Paul delegates in the caucus process and at the State Convention, they resorted to just these tactics.

Article 3 of the Penobscot County Republican bylaws describe what constitutes a voting member. Section 5 defines the terms as: “Positions on the Committee will be deemed to have been vacated if a member fails to attend three (3) consecutive meetings or to pay dues within sixty days of the due date. In either event, the member will not be entitled to notice of meetings and will forfeit his or her right to vote.”

This is the law. Republicans, who oppose democracy and the idea that a simple majority vote can override the law, would do just that.

According to Anderson’s appeal, the Penobscot County Republican Committee met on December 20th, 2012. Without a roll call taken or quorum announced, an “affirmative” vote was taken to suspend the bylaws to: “notify all those who attended the GOP State Convention that names can be submitted for consideration for Judge of Probate by Governor LePage; dues will be accepted as per ‘custom and practice’ and any dues paid up to and including at the January 17 meeting will entitle that member to be a voting members.”

This suspension of the rules by democratic majority rule was allowed to stand at the January 17th meeting, despite a final copy of the December meeting’s minutes never being voted on. It would appear that the wolves of democracy had decided what they were going to eat for dinner.

Anderson objected to the motion to suspend the bylaws prior to the vote being taken and after the vote occurred, he objected again, stating that it was illegal.

A draft of the minutes was been emailed to members of the Penobscot County Republican Committee, which interestingly omitted Anderson’s two objections to the illegal vote. After noticing this scrubbed event, Anderson e-mailed the Secretary and offered a correction. Just as with the appeal itself to the State Committee, Anderson received no response from the County Committee Secretary.

Already, it would appear that either there is deliberate fraud or enough people have a significant problem with communication.

Daugherty, also a Penobscot County State Committeeman, sent a notice of objection, declaring the meeting’s illegal vote to be in “stark contrast” to the bylaws.

Still, everything stood, despite the violation of bylaws.

The result? As Anderson noted in his appeal, “more than two-thirds of the people who were present the night of the election had not been to a single meeting since May, and perhaps longer.” There have been more than three meetings since May, which means that these individuals failed to meet the requirements of the bylaws to be legal voting members.

How can a body function without firm governing rules? Furthermore, how can voters trust Republicans to function as a body in elected positions and obey the law, if they cannot even do that within their own entity?

Anderson makes thorough note in his appeal that according to a number of major parliamentary authorities, these bylaw provisions cannot be suspended by a majority vote. Despite this, it was still allowed to stand.

What essentially occurred in Penobscot County in recent months amounts to the suspension of the rule of law to allow illegals to vote. Can you imagine the response if President Barack Obama announced he was declaring the Constitution to be suspended and moved to allow illegal immigrants to vote in the presidential election? Other than the approval of the Penobscot County Republican Committee, it would be widely denounced!

The fraud doesn’t stop here though. Beyond the illegal suspension of the bylaws to allow non-voting members to vote, there was also illegal proxies and telephonic voting that occurred. Anderson noted one of these instances involving Dixmont Town Chair Scott Fish, who had not attended a county meeting in more than six months and had not paid his dues as required by Penobscot County bylaws.

Julie Morgan, a Penobscot County Republican, according to the appeal, noted: “A woman comes in gives me her name. I tell her sorry your not on our list, she asks to be a proxy for Scott Fish. I explain that the proxy has to be in writing. She then calls ‘Scott’ and I say to Harrison [Treasurer] it has to be in writing-I thought he was going to give email address and get something in writing, but Harrison takes the phone and took the proxy against my protest. I am not sure if he collected dues from woman or not. Scott was on the list as town chair of Dixmont.”Article 5, Section 3 of the Penobscot County bylaws states: “Each member of the County Committee shall be entitled to one vote on all questions or elections at any regular or special meeting, if present in person or represented by a proxy WHO IS A REGISTERED REPUBLICAN. A proxy must be appointed in writing by the member, and be a resident of the same municipality as the appointing member.”

Another interesting point confirmed by a number of Penobscot Republicans was the presence of an individual outside making phone calls over the course of the night. Former Assistant Majority Leader Andre Cushing was suspiciously lingering at the door on the phone making repeated calls, which some speculate were to individuals casting votes over the phone. Illegally.

For those of you who attended the State Republican Convention, you might remember Cushing as one of those individuals passing out the fake slates as part of disruption tactics by establishment Republicans. Working alongside former Maine Republican Party communications director David Sorensen and others, Cushing was able to help orchestrate a chaotic and rocky ride for the Republicans present that day. A tumultuous weekend that would be blamed on the Ron Paul delegates, who were not resorting to dirty tricks and tactics.

The votes were counted by two individuals appointed by Chair Traci Gauthier, who were not legal voting members. Maria Hodge, a legal voting member, had her attempt to monitor the counting of the votes rejected. In the end, however, Plowman was named Chairman of the Penobscot County Republican Committee. To add to the obvious point that it was all orchestrated, she had a gavel on hand as soon as it was all said and done. Those who assured her she would win if she ran were right. The Chicago-style election was complete.

In the time since, a number of Republicans have been driven from the party. State Committeewoman Julie Morgan resigned her post in disgust with what transpired. The Republican Party is losing because of this unfair and illegal conduct.

A lot transpired that day, for sure. In all fairness to the Maine Republican Party, they still have time to review this issue. Pursuant to Rule 23, the Party has thirty days to act. Whether it is actually being reviewed remains to be seen, but Ken Anderson has yet to receive any indication either way. In fact, he has yet to hear anything.

Anderson’s request in the appeal is simple. Set aside the results of the election in question and conduct a new election in accordance with bylaws, with candidates each having someone present to monitor the counting of the votes.

Anderson also requests that until a new election can be conducted, no business be conducted by the executive committee and voted not be cast.

The answer is easy for the party. If you’re opposed to illegal immigration, you’re opposed to illegal members. If you’re opposed to illegal immigrants casting illegal votes, you’re opposed to illegal members casting illegal votes. If you oppose voter fraud and non-citizens voting in elections, then you oppose non-members voting in party elections.

Chairman Rich Cebra has a defining moment before him. As he reviews what is at hand and prepares to react, he can do one of two things. He can ignore the issue or accept it, which would be destructive to his legacy. The party will become divided, as it did when Charlie Webster destroyed the State Party and when Reince Priebus cost Republicans the general election nationally. 2014 will be a nightmare and despite the forecasts of Governor LePage scoring a victory in the probable three-way race, his re-election campaign will be difficult with the continued infighting.

Or, Chairman Cebra can step up and prove why so many Republicans supported his election for Maine Republican Chair.

Time is ticking. There will certainly be more of this story to tell, with time.

Chris Dixon

About Chris Dixon

Chris Dixon is a libertarian-leaning activist who is State Coordinator of the Maine Tenth Amendment Center and former Androscoggin County co-coordinator for the Ron Paul 2012 presidential campaign. These thoughts are his own, and not on behalf of any organization he works for.