Sunday, July 18, 2021

Banished From the State Committee Meeting by Cops, But Plenty of Folks Sent us Recordings of the Meeting

 Despite being banished from the State Committee meeting and escorted out by a cop, Bennett's power hungry staff didn't manage to stop the flow of information.  People were sending us recordings of the meeting.  Below is a link to one of the more important parts of the meeting.

Listening to the hour and a half long tape recording of the State Committee meeting was interesting. My first impression was similar to a question asked of me by one of the Lahmeyer lady supporters outside the building as we waited in the sun and heat; “Who was that lady candidate at the state convention that was so angry?” The question referred to the red headed lady that ran as the abolitionist candidate for the Speaker slot. The poor woman had watched and listened while Bennett gave passionate speeches and she had tried to emulate them but wound up merely shouting at the audience instead of being passionate.

Maybe it was disappointment, in how things turned out, but what I heard from John Bennett in his opening speech was the same empty words shouted without conviction. There was talk about the Constitution and liberty, talk about unity, talk about Party principles, rules, and the Platform. We were told to be the Party we say we are.

Meanwhile the elephant in the room was that for the first time in GOP history regular Republicans were locked out of a State Committee meeting. No First Amendment allowed, no freedom of association, no fair and open process to close a meeting IF required to discuss sensitive issues, merely a Chairman and staff deciding on their own to break the rules of the GOP and exclude others.

Then there is this that will require its own story. Around 16:30 into the audio tape Chairman Bennett claimed that the General Counsel candidate had withdrawn his name due to his being “very busy doing quality stuff” . This is so far from the truth and frankly, quite insulting and self serving. Another example of how Bennett has been either failed by his staff and advisors or has been unwilling to simply let the truth be told and accept the outcome. You will find the story on the General Counsel issue going up late this afternoon or tonight, Sunday July 18th.

Around 18:50 into the tape the resolution to censure Lankford and Inhofe came up. The staff, parliamentarian, and Bennett himself were incompetent in our opinion. One point made during a point of information was that the dang resolution had not been read, no one really knew what they were voting on. At that point the resolution was read out loud by Bennett.

Around 30 minutes into the recording the fireworks started. Jonathan Krems it turns out is not a registered parliamentarian, we know that because a delegate asked that question and exposed him. Krems gave a long rambling explanation of why censuring Lankford and Inhofe and asking them to resign wasn't punitive. Punitive we are told would be asking the two senators to resign or be expelled from the State Committee. So asking them to resign from their elected office is much less damaging? If it wasn't so serious this would be laughable.

But a good indication of Krem's character and unsuitability for being a parliamentarian was around 35:01 when Krems tells a woman to calm down. You. Do. Not. Do. That. In. Public. Bennett steps in and proclaims that they were going to go forward with the parliamentarian that he appointed and that he thought Krems was capable of determining the rules.

Ouch.... Krems has been involved in two rules interpretation that I am aware of .

First was the ruling that the delegate list was somehow private and not to be released. In fact the rules state that ANY registered Republican can request and obtain the entire list ten day before the convention and another section allows anyone to obtain a list of delegates after the convention. There is no time limit or any other limit other than the requestor being a registered Republican. Even Krems admitted that he was wrong once challenged on his decision.

Next was Krem's ruling that the State Committee meeting could be closed to anyone not carrying a proxy or that was a member of the State Committee. That ruling was even more wrong than the previous screw up. Here is Rule 3A from the Oklahoma GOP Rules:

All citizens of Oklahoma are invited to join the Oklahoma

Republican Party to perpetuate this Republic. All qualified voters of this

state who are registered Republicans are members of the Oklahoma

Republican Party, and shall have the right to participate in the official affairs

and governance of the Republican Party in accordance with these rules as

set forth herein. Such right shall be sacred and inviolate, and the willful

disregard or abridgement of such right by an officer or member of any

committee of the Party shall be deemed sufficient cause for the removal of

such officer or committee member.”

There are no rules in the Party Rules that allow executive sessions or closed meetings. Roberts Rules of Order are NOT allowed to override the Bylaws/Party Rules of the GOP. These meetings have ALWAYS been open and transparent even under the worst of the tyrannical Chairmen. At the time this was being questioned, including by me, our General Counsel at the time asked Krems to call me and was told “I am not allowed to call Al Gerhart.” In my opinion, that was likely the final straw that broke the camel's back with the General Counsel that was temporarily serving until confirmed by the State Committee.

The point is that in our opinion Jonathan Krems is either incompetent or biased. He appears to believe that his client is John Bennett and that he is responsible for steam rolling any push back and achieving Bennett's agenda. Wrong, in fact his client is the GOP organization, he is to protect the Party, not the Chairman. We are very fortunate that Bennett didn't appoint Krems as General Counsel.

Of particular concern was around 35:35 where Bennett's explanation that what the parliamentarian did was of less concern as the delegates had a chance to vote yes or no, to vote it up or vote it down. This is troubling, Bennett was a legislator for eight years, he ought to have some knowledge of Roberts Rules of Order and know that an illegal motion or an illegal ruling by the parliamentarian doesn't deserve a vote. You don't just get to ignore the rules and ride roughshod over everyone else and hope you are lucky.

Worse was Krems speaking up trying to justify his decisions on a voice vote. Krems claimed that the default vote is a voice vote. Well, only to a complete idiot if the delegates are carrying proxies and only have one voice and not multiple heads. A delegate might be carrying three or four or more proxies but they are counted as one vote during a voice vote. The other issue is that this is a punitive vote to censure and ask for a resignation from office, Roberts Rules of Order request a roll call vote so the vote can be double checked as it is a serious matter. Krems is either ignorant of this or he was told of this after the voice vote or he wouldn't have wasted the delegates time. Even funnier is that they were proceeding in a standing vote. Well, does a proxy carrier clone themselves and stand up multiple times to be counted? Do they flash Morse code to indicate multiple votes? Flash some sort of Republican gang signs?

Then delegate/Bennett appointed State Field Officer Brian Hobbs weighs in warning that they have limited time to vote so they were trying to push things forward to a vote. He mentioned the previous convention where the resolutions were never heard. This is like Nancy Pelosi telling Congress that there is no time to discuss or debate Obama Care, they have to vote for it so they can know what is in the bill. Now the time to bloviate and give speeches was not an issue at the start of the meeting nor was the idea of having a competent parliamentarian on hand thought to be of value. But now we gotta rush things?

Then, believe it or not, they have a standing vote. For people that might be carrying proxies..... Oy vey.... the incompetency and stupidity is immense. Yeah, you can hold up your little cards for proxies, but why not just have a balloted vote?

While waiting for the standing vote to be counted Bennett describes his first race, the first Republican to win that seat in Sequoyah County. With no recognition given for the Sooner Tea Party that ran ads, held a candidate debate knowing that the incumbent would refuse to show up, and spent thousands of dollars ensuring a Bennett win. And did so for eight years in a row.  Nope, no mentioned of the banished.

Around 50 minutes into the tape there is a ruckus. They announced more vote counts than delegates and proxies! The funny part was that someone suggested that they just increase the number of the delegate count to fix things.... but the staff was recounting and trying to fix the problem.

One gentleman with some sense stands up around the 52:10 minute mark and mentions that since it takes a two thirds majority vote to win this motion to continue to the vote, why not just go on to the vote since they are claiming only 50% supporting the motion to continue? I mean, if I was dictator, I would grab Bennett's Oklahoma City team by the heels and dash their brains out on a column and put this one man in charge of advising Bennett. Sarcasm alert....

Krems once again vainly tries to project his knowledge and superiority until a point of information speaker lays out that the Chairman is the one to decide things.  A bit power hungry Jonathan?  At that point Bennett mentions the need to clear out by noon and proclaims rightly so to proceed to the vote. Now, you are around 60 minutes into a meeting with zero work done other than approving a few State Committee appointees. The leadership shown so far at the meeting is a problem and no doubt that factored in in the outcome of the votes that day.

Now comes a motion to limit the debate to ten minutes per side, by a voice vote, again from a crowd carrying multiple proxies.... still knowing that things are in shambles and a noon deadline looming, the voice vote passes and people line up to debate for and against the censure resolution.

Now this is about to get interesting. It seems fifteen to sixteen people are lined up with 10 minutes total time to debate. Thirty seven seconds to 40 seconds per speaker depending upon the actual number of speakers. Okay... not sure anyone can make a case in 40 seconds.

Fear not, around 1:05:00 into the tape Amanda Teagarden steps up to the mic and gobbles up over half the time allocated to the Yes vote side, around six minutes of the ten minutes allocated. Slow clap for Amanda....

Next the No debate was heard and of course Jonathan Krems became the focus of the attack, rightfully so, for for failing to admit or failing to understand that a censure and/or a demand for removal demands a trial by the convention or meeting. And it was pointed out that a reprimand for what they did was appropriate and well supported and would pass. They had a valid point. We support censuring these two senators, if done LEGALLY. I would much rather seek Lankford squirming under questioning before his traitorous acts are rewarded.

So ten minutes later it is time to vote and Bennett asks people to line up to have their votes counted. And is interrupted by Jonathan Krems who demands another..... voice vote. What a simple fool and from the groans from the delegates signal they agree. People are carrying proxies, they only have one voice, for God's sake admit this one simple fact if you have two brain cells to rub together.

Bennett calls the vote too close to call, duh, and announces that he is going to do what he wanted to do anyway and count the vote. Now this is Bennett's greatest weakness, his lack of the ability to say no to stupid ideas. Bob Dani told me once that he had to take over as Executive Director and isolate John Bennett because the last person to speak with him won any debate, that Bennett was incapable of saying “No.”

The line forms for the Yes votes, with multiple accounts of it being the length of one wall and part of another, between one half and one quarter the length of the wall.

When the line forms for the No vote the reports state that it stretches around three walls. Yeah, proxies are carried, most of which were from the 157 elected officials that will vote No so a line that is twice as long is certainly going to be under-counted as these are the most likely proxy carriers.

The audio stops during the counting of the No votes. The motion did fail 93 to 122 with 102 missing votes. 


You can read the other stories that cover this state committee meeting, look to the right side, scroll down up or down a bit till you see the recent stories or the archives.