Sunday, July 18, 2021

Gary Richardson Corrects Bennett's Version of Richardson's Withdrawal From General Counsel Slot

An Explanation of Gary Richardson's True Reasons for Withdrawing from the GOP General Counsel Nomination.

Around 16:30 into the audio tape of the State Committee meeting Chairman Bennett claimed that the General Counsel candidate had withdrawn his name due to his being “very busy doing quality stuff”.

 In our opinion, this is so far from the truth and frankly, quite insulting and self serving that we felt we needed to reach out to the person Bennett was discussing.

Below is the statement sent by Gary Richardson:

Former U.S. Attorney, Gary Richardson
  “Having been told by what I consider to be a reliable source that it was reported at the State GOP meeting this weekend that Chairman Bennett reported to the party leadership that I withdrew my name to be confirmed as the GOP General Counsel because I informed him that I was "very busy doing quality stuff", I feel compelled to set the record straight.

That would imply to me and likely others that I didn't see being General Counsel as being that important. That is not at all what I told Chairman Bennett.

What I did tell him was that I saw him as a friend, which he has been for several years, but that I personally saw what I considered to be a lack of leadership and felt I couldn't be of good service to him and the GOP as I saw it, the leadership, going in a direction that I personally wasn't comfortable being a part of.

That said, I will continue to pray for our party and for our party leadership.“

What does this mean?

Now the rest of this article is just the opinion of the rest of us and no reflection on Gary Richardson's statement..

We didn't ask specifically but we believe that the part about the direction the leadership was going in referred to the refusal to keep the State Committee meetings open as had been the custom and the legal obligation in the past. We do know that this decision to withdraw was made shortly after that decision was made by Krems but only Gary knows for sure.

A bit of clarification as well as a 'mea culpa' might be in order. Back before the State Convention and Bennett's election I was given the task of recruiting a legal team for when Bennett won the election. Of course the first pick would have been Gary Richardson, two time gubernatorial candidate, one of the two U.S. Attorneys that Reagan appointed to clean up our County Commissioner mess and send dozens of these crooked commissioners to prison, and a very successful attorney. Gary had the gravitas that no one else had so he needed to be the General Counsel if he would take the slot.

However, there are all sorts of lawyers so we recruited six or seven more awesome attorneys, I believe was the number, to share the load and to have a broad base of advice. One thing I neglected to consider was a parliamentarian. That is a special kind of skill.

But among the candidates was Edmond based Jonathan Krems. The idea of him being local and a fairly young attorney would have put him in the position of a junior partner so to speak, able to get things filed and deal with quick decisions with a few phone calls. He would have been a young attorney surrounded by giants in his field and this would have been a huge opportunity for his career.

Imagine my surprise when the Oklahoma GOP put out an email and a post on Facebook calling Krems a “co counsel”. Well there is no such critter in the GOP Rules, which by the way are also our bylaws and thus the reason for our existence as a group. There is only General Counsel, the others are part of a team recruited but the team was considered a pipeline of future General Counsels.

Worse, on that GOP email and post, Gary Richardson's name was mentioned way down near the end of the email as the General Counsel while Krems' name was way up at the top. At the time I wrote that off as inexperienced staff, looking back I believe it betrayed an undercurrent in the staff that had wanted Krems as the General Counsel. This wasn't a smart move on the staff's part but we let it go at the time.

But gradually as problems popped up in our opinion, Krems showed his lack of familiarity with the GOP Rules and indeed his lack of being able to follow the rules. Krems would read into the rules things that simply weren't there, privacy rights, time limits to obtain lists of delegates, and once discovered he was quite prickly about being corrected, some thing that comes out with bells on in the audio recording of the State Committee meeting.

Now I and others that I consulted with had assumed that parliamentarians would be recruited for the conventions and State Committee meetings, indeed they are usually appointed from a list of qualified parliamentarians. Unfortunately this wasn't done for the first State Committee meeting and Krems was appointed with only Bennett knowing if he was questioned on his abilities or education in the matter.

And looking back I could have added some long time activists with experience in the Party Rules, like David Van of Sooner Politics, again I had tunnel vision and was thinking lawsuits and courts of law being the grain for this grist mill we were building. But surely a competent attorney could read these very simple rules and interpret correctly?

A final mistake I made was when Gary Richardson asked me to stay with the legal team and be part of the organization. I felt that this was for the attorneys and like we did when we recruited and supported David McLain for Chairman, our job was over when he was elected and others could take over with our input only being needed if they ran into trouble.

Lessons learned and for sure they will not be repeated.

 But look at the contrast, Bill Shepherd was fired allegedly for "laying hands" on a man requesting a prayer at a Lahmeyer campaign fundraiser and then speaking in "tongues", and Sheppard gets a long email praising him and claiming he was returning back to his "world wide ministries".  Sheppard embarrassed the GOP and the Bennett communications team lied to prevent more embarrassment.

Then Gary Richardson, the Reagan appointed U.S. Attorney, who seems to have been motivated by the breaking of the GOP rules,  is disrespected by claiming he was too busy doing "quality" work to serve as the General Counsel.  No email for Richardson!  No respect.  Just taken for granted.  The only similarity is that Bennett's team lied about both.

Which brings us back to the original question.  Who is actually running the GOP.