- WHILE SITTING IN JUDGMENT OF OTHERS, KBB AND OTHER OFFICERS ISSUED AN ILLEGAL PRESS RELEASE CRITICAL OF A PRIMARY CANDIDATE FOR SECRETARY OF STATE.
CHARGE AGAINST CRC OFFICERS: VIOLATED PRE-PRIMARY NEUTRALITY
March 16, 2022
By Maurice Emmer
CHARGE AGAINST KRISTI BURTON-BROWN
FOR VIOLATING ARTICLE III., SECTION C. OF THE CRC BY-LAWS
IN THE MATTER OF TINA PETERS’ CANDIDACY FOR SECRETARY OF STATE
Section III. C. of the by-laws of the Colorado Republican Party Central Committee (CRC) provides: “No candidate for any designation or nomination for partisan public office shall be endorsed, supported, or opposed by the CRC, acting as an entity, or by its state officers or committees, before the Primary Election, unless such candidate is unopposed in the Primary Election.”
There is no exception from the above provision.
Tina Peters is the duly elected clerk and recorder of Mesa County. Peters is seeking the GOP nomination for Secretary of State of Colorado; she has filed the necessary documents. On March 8, 2022, a grand jury returned an indictment accusing Peters of crimes relating to voting systems in Mesa County. Peters has not been tried, let alone convicted. If a trial occurs, it is months or longer away.
On March 10, 2022, the Chairman, Vice-Chair and Secretary of the Colorado Republican Committee (CRC) issued a press release urging Peters to withdraw her candidacy because of the indictment.
Issuance of the press release was unequivocally violated Section III. C. of the CRC by-laws. It is understood that the CRC Chairman received many complaints and objections to the issuance of the press release. The Chairman has responded to some of these in writing. Instead of admitting obvious error, she attempts to defend her conduct. In sum, her defense is that a candidate under criminal indictment is not a viable candidate and that such a candidate can crowd out other unencumbered candidates. The Chairman further claims that the CRC’s responsibility to promote the election of GOP candidates is impeded by Peters’ candidacy.
While the GOP Chairman may feel strongly about her subjective determinations of the broader impact of Peters’ candidacy, the subjective opinions of the GOP chair do not supersede the by-laws. The Chairman is turning the GOP into the “ends justify means” party. She treats the by-laws like a Soviet train schedule: merely a suggestion. This is unethical and unattractive to voters.
It is impossible for the Chairman to justify issuance of the press release. The by-laws do not say, “unless the chair thinks she should ignore this rule, the officers must maintain impartiality in primaries.” The by-laws provide no wiggle room when it comes to impartiality. Why?
If there were exceptions from the impartiality rule, officers of the GOP could exercise partiality with impunity and then excuse their conduct by claiming an exception. Note that the by-laws don’t even contain an exception for open and notorious immoral conduct, an obvious impediment to electability. They do not say, “officers must remain impartial unless they have some dirt on a candidate that they feel must be revealed.” ANY EXCEPTION FROM IMPARTIALITY IS A SLIPPERY SLOPE THAT WILL BE EXPLOITED BY SOMEONE TO ATTACK CANDIDATES.
Further, if the Chairman is permitted to attack a candidate on the basis of some “special circumstance,” that will constitute the establishment of an unofficial exception from impartiality. An unofficial exception will be exploited as effectively as an official exception. If the GOP Chairman can disqualify a candidate because the candidate has been indicted, and only recently indicted at that, there will be an incentive for candidates to collaborate with prosecuting officials to indict potential electoral rivals hoping the party officials will pressure them to drop out.
In fact, an aspirant for the Democrat nomination for the Third Congressional District seat claims he just wrote to the United States Attorney urging a criminal investigation of the sitting GOP Congresswoman in that district. Is it coincidence that the CRC Chairman and her fellow conspirators issued the press release against Peters, then the next day this Democrat aspirant began to use the same tactic against his GOP opponent?
By setting this dangerous precedent the Chairman has opened the proverbial Pandora’s Box. Next, a candidate will not have to be indicted to be tossed out; an investigation will be enough. That’s what the Democrat mentioned above is hoping for. Does our Chairman lack the foresight to understand what she has done?
Some have rushed to the Chairman’s defense, claiming “party unity” is more important than following the rules. They argue that voters won’t vote for Republicans if the party rank and file insist that leadership follow the rules. The opposite is true. A party does not unify behind a leader who cheats. A lawless political party is unattractive to voters, and frankly doesn’t deserve the public trust.
The Chairman herself claims the superficial defense, “Wouldn’t it be justified to harpoon a candidate accused of a violent crime?” It might be tempting, but it wouldn’t be justified. What would be the standard? How serious must the crime be before the by-laws are violated and ignored? Besides, Peters is not accused of a violent crime. The Chairman arrogates to herself Imperial powers of judge and jury, as if she were Julius Caesar.
This incident reveals another troubling fact about the Chairman. In harpooning Peters’ candidacy, our Chairman lacked the intellect and guile to use proxies who are not bound by the impartiality rule. Not using proxies reveals a lack of reasoning ability or arrogance, or both. Neither is a qualification to retain her important position.
The conduct of the Chairman, and possibly the vice-chair and secretary, cannot be permitted to stand. They have done grave harm to the Colorado GOP and must be removed.
Colorado GOP Statement on the Felony Indictment of SOS Candidate
Basalt, Colorado – Colorado GOP Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown, Vice Chairwoman Priscilla Rahn, and Secretary Marilyn Harris released the following statement today regarding the felony indictment of Mesa County Clerk & Recorder and current Secretary of State Candidate, Tina Peters:
“It is our belief, as leaders of the Colorado Republican Party, that any Republican candidate who is indicted with felonies by a grand jury and who will be charged by a Republican District Attorney should suspend their campaign while they undergo the legal challenges associated with those indictments. The Republican Party is the Party of law and order and we need every Republican voter focused on getting Republicans and constitutional conservatives elected across Colorado in 2022. Today, we are asking Clerk Peters to consider what is best for the Republican Party in Colorado and act accordingly as she avails herself of our judicial system.”
Colorado GOP Executive Director Joe Jackson added the following: “The Bylaws of the Colorado GOP are clear, the Party must stay neutral during primary races. Per those Bylaws, we will continue to afford Clerk Peters the same information and opportunities afforded other statewide candidates unless notified by her campaign that her status as a candidate for office has changed. We will not be making any additional statements regarding this situation.”