Caucus Obstruction, Delegate Tampering & Voter Fraud in Utah County
News/Opinion / Published June 13, 2017 / Written by The Utah Yaks (see end of story)
edits 6/14/217 at 11:24am – concerning Jeremy Roberts making it clear that event happened at county, not state
In what could be the biggest scandal in the Utah GOP of the past decade, this tale of corruption involves two sitting Utah State Senators (Curt Bramble & Deidre Henderson), the new Utah County GOP Chair Robert Craig, legislative district officers, precinct chairs, and state delegates. Their activities include clear and blatant infractions of the GOP Constitution and Bylaws and could result in a multiple criminal investigations and charges of voter fraud.
Most republicans will tell you they want to save the caucus system, that it’s the voice of the people. Sounds good, except for one little problem: the very leadership the people elected has transgressed their trust and compromised the very integrity of the caucus system.
In this story we will document abuses of Utah GOP State & County rules that lead to improper delegate tampering, delegates possibly voting twice at last month’s State Republican Party Convention, delegates not living in the district they represented at convention, and almost 200 delegates who showed up at the convention expecting to be credentialed in, and were. In our opinion, this points to a pattern of abuse by Utah County elected officials and representatives. That this was done in such a casual and blatant manner points to a familiarity with manipulating the system and an idle disregard for the rules.
The first indicator was a report from an elected Utah County state delegate, who wishes to remain anonymous, that was arbitrarily removed from her elected position prior to last month’s State Republican Party Convention. When she questioned her removal, she was told that “they” had tried to reach her and when “they” couldn’t, they replaced her.
The voters at the precinct caucus decide who THEY want to be THEIR voice. No provision is found in the rules that allow a party leader to change the results of a precinct caucus election. No, not even in a Happy Valley political smoke-filled room of political insiders who replace delegates like unto the capture of pawns on a chessboard. ‘I can’t reach her, so let’s replace her.’ CHECKMATE.
According to GOP rules, a duly elected delegate can only be replaced in a few situations: death, physical or mental disability, no longer lives in the precinct, or a voluntary resignation. In our research, no party rule could be found that allows these party insiders to replace an elected delegate who cannot attend a convention, if ‘they didn’t hear back from a delegate,’ or if they are not supporting a particular candidate. Such actions are an evident breach of established bylaws and are ultimately a betrayal by those in leadership and are detrimental to the caucus/convention process.
So, at what point and under what authority did these party insiders remove the delegate? We discovered that the previous county party officers submitted the correct delegate’s name for the state convention according to the rules. Interestingly, at some point after the new leaders took office, a different name appeared in the delegate list. How? When? Who removed this delegate? How is a delegate protected from the party insiders?
Protection of one’s delegate status in Happy Valley is found in County Party Bylaws 5 and 9.C., which require the Executive Committee to hold a hearing after providing a 14-day notice of a breach of standards to the delegate, with an additional protection of an appeal of an adverse decision available to the Central Committee. These actions must be taken prior to forcefully removing any delegate or officer. Was a hearing noticed or held? How did this delegate infringe upon Republican standards? She didn’t. She was simply a pawn in a political game.
After the state convention, the delegate learned that her seat had been given to and occupied by her State Senator Deidre Henderson, a candidate for the Congressional District 3 Special Election to replace Jason Chaffetz.
Simply by accepting the voting credentials at the State convention, in the disenfranchised delegates elected seat, shows a wanton disregard for the caucus process and her constituents. How could a state senator AND a current candidate steal a state delegate seat FROM HER CONSTITUENT knowing that she had no right to be there? How could somebody in a leadership position ignore and offend the process so badly and then not have the forethought to at least not put a candidate in that seat? Party leaders are responsible to know and act within the rules. The bylaws are very clear about how delegate replacement is done and under what condition (the State and County rules are at the end of this story).
It is deeply egregious to hear that a sitting State Senator and candidate for Congress was willing to join the manipulation of the system to deny the rightfully entrusted delegate participation in the May convention AND upcoming convention! It is a heinous move by a candidate who claims to champion transparency and promises to “leave Washington less powerful than she found it.” Should we trust this politician to truly represent her constituents at the Federal level when she can’t even play fair in a race with her peers?
It was a perfect political plan until June 7, when it was leaked to the County leadership that we were looking into this story of delegate tampering. This prompted several involved to contact the former delegate and sell the idea that it was not intentional and all a mistake. Didn’t they claim she was unreachable? This time they used the phone. Representative Mike McKell, an attorney, called to assure it was a mistake and just a misunderstanding. Senator Deidre Henderson’s passive-aggressive message was more of a ‘Hey… it was a mistake and we want to get it fixed. Don’t make this into a big deal’. County Chair Robert Craig assured her that no bylaws were broken, it was just a mistake, and we’re putting you back in as a delegate. Finally, an official retreat for this pawn – oops, we mean delegate.
However, since this delegate had been unjustly stripped of her authority, and privilege, to represent her precinct at the May Convention, let’s discuss the harm perpetrated upon this delegate’s political voice. The political speech she was entrusted to deliver at the May convention had been silenced by the actions of party insiders. She was harmed and her precinct was ignored. That exciting opportunity is now gone forever.
County Chair Robert Craig is likely aware that ‘they’ broke multiple bylaws and appears to be covering his tracks. The Utah State Attorney General office and the Utah State Elections Director, Mark Thomas, have verified the Utah Code and recognizes a prescribed process for use of alternate delegates with adopted deadlines in the state party rules. What Utah County leaders did was reprehensible and not the prescribed method.
Is it possible that County Chair Robert Craig actually considers his covert actions were not a defilement of ethical standards or party rules when he forcefully removed her from the delegate seat and gave it to a candidate after the prescribed party deadline? This was done after the deadline for substitution because the duly appointed officers who were in charge of submitting the final delegate list had her name on that list.
As part of our research, we were looking at documents and spreadsheets on the Utah State GOP website and noticed a few other Utah County names that are worth mentioning. According to an online convention “Special Credentials List,” County Chair Robert Craig also authorized three women to represent precincts they didn’t live in. Susan Beckstrand, a Republican living in American Fork, signed in as a delegate to represent an unknown precinct, as her American Fork precinct was already fully represented, and the precinct name is blank. So which precinct was she given the authority to represent? Another Provo woman is listed to have represented the Lehi 4 precinct.
In a pattern of political behavior, Hannah Lockhart represented a precinct she didn’t live in. She signed in at the Problems Desk as a state delegate for Provo precinct 9. She had previously sent a resignation to the former county leadership stating that she had moved out of the county. She moved to Salt Lake County in October and voted in the Salt Lake County elections while maintaining her Provo precinct vice-chair position. Here’s where the plot thickens. On April 29, 2017, six months after she moved to Salt Lake County, she showed up at the Utah County convention, claimed her credentials as a Provo 9 precinct vice-chair, participated in the morning leadership committee meeting, and as a county delegate.
So, why did Ms. Lockhart purposely cross the county line to vote in a county and for a precinct she no longer lived in? Could it be that her father, Stan Lockhart, had endorsed County Chair Robert Craig for chair and wanted more votes? Her former precinct chair, Leo Lines, also her former district chair, also a supporter of Robert Craig, knew she had moved and happened to be conveniently looking in the other direction. It is Lines’ duty to know if his precinct vice-chair no longer lives in the precinct. Not surprisingly, Lines is a current candidate for Provo City Council and a paid campaign and official state staff member of Curt Bramble and a friend of Ms. Lockhart’s father, Stan Lockhart.
The new County Chair Robert Craig stated to a former party officer that he would be the only person that would be authorizing who could or couldn’t be a delegate and claimed that he had the full authority to do just that. He did not allow the assistance of the former officer, who had all of the necessary information and histories, to assist the new officers confirming delegate appointments by the precinct chairs. Could it be that he didn’t want her watching what he was doing?
Back to the state convention. Ms. Lockhart, now an admitted Salt Lake County resident, also presented herself at a different credential station as a replacement delegate for Salt Lake precinct 123. Was she appointed as a delegate by her precinct chair? There was no phone number or address listed for the precinct chair so he couldn’t be reached to verify Ms. Lockhart’s credentials. Did she receive two voting pads? The process would have given the pads to her. Can you smell the swamp? This is an obvious abandonment of GOP regulations. A delegate has to live in the precinct to represent that group of people.
The same thing happened with former ousted county party secretary Jeremy Roberts. He had moved out of his precinct in Lehi where he was the vice-chair. During his caucus, he spoke to the voters about how he supported the caucus system, told some jokes, but some knew what he really thought about the caucus system. His true feelings are available on-line. He had moved out and posted on Facebook earlier, the week of the convention, that he needed people to pick up things from his former Traverse Mountain home. After he moved, his precinct chair tried to replace him, but Roberts stated that he still owned that home, and demanded the leadership and delegate seat. Unfortunately that precinct chair didn’t consult with party leadership regarding a defacto resignation as we found in the bylaws. He likely didn’t tell his caucus that he had been removed as the county secretary for malfeasance in 2011. He is also friends with Bramble and Lockhart and was campaigning for County Chair Robert Craig. (Editor’s Note – This took place at the Utah County Convention – edited 6/14/217 at 11:24am)
So, to make matters worse, on the day of the State Convention, almost 200 people randomly happened to show up, that were not duly elected delegates, from all over the state, somehow knowing that they could request to be made a delegate right there and participate. Who told them they could come? Who recruited them? Miraculously, Senator Curt Bramble, who ironically was also recently appointed as a replacement delegate by his precinct chair—HIS WIFE, who is also a district vice-chair, was there. These new arrivals were credentialed and allowed to vote. These appointments were unknown by the delegates and days AFTER the delegate challenge deadline. How could anyone challenge these new delegates if they were slipped in without adequate notice? There had to have been some serious planning and forethought to pull this off.
Here is where this becomes really opprobrious. Senator Curt Bramble was observed to be walking around at the State Convention, with a piece of paper, declaring that his paper contained the law referring to a provision to allow these unknown surprise delegates to be credentialed and vote for the new state Republican Party leadership. (Note that the new chair only won by 268 votes.)
The new Utah Chair, Robert Craig, assisted by Curt Bramble, who supported Craig in his campaign, told the legislative chairs that they could replace old delegates that were not in attendance with this throng of new recruits, who just happened to show up. But, state and county documents show that the precinct chair is the only officer authorized to do that. The County Chair unilaterally authorized the district chairs and other countywide leaders to arbitrarily switch delegates in a serious assault on the bylaws and ethics. Is it possible that since no one challenged this that Chairman Craig thinks it was OK to make these changes?
To be fair, not all these people were illegal. When a person showed up at their Congressional District credentialing table to sign in and their name wasn’t on the list, they were directed to go the “Special Credential” problem table where a county officer has the supporting information from the precinct to authorize the appointment.
How can anyone challenge the credential of a delegate three days before the convention when delegate seats were given away at the convention or after the challenge deadline? The replaced delegate could have challenged her own seat back but there was no way of knowing it.
In another breach of law and party rules, the new county secretary and chair have refused to supply a current delegate list to several interested Republicans and candidates. One response stated that a precinct chair was only entitled to the list for his precinct. This is an offense of the state code and the state party Constitution, which requires the information to be public within 14 days. Why was the county secretary withholding public information from a registered Republican or any interested party?
The state party has now provided the current delegate list on it’s website with the daily updates. So, finally some relief and transparency has been provided on the state level, but its crickets from the Utah County leadership. Unfortunately, the state party list does not disclose the names of the precinct chairs since the counties have not published their updated lists.
Here’s the rest of the equation. There are supposed to be 4,000 state delegates with each county given an specific allocation based on voter strength. A precinct could have three state delegates allocated to that precinct but in the case of the delegates from Lehi, or the person who had no precinct listed, the precinct could have 4 delegates instead of three. This is a huge issue that the Utah County Chair Robert Craig thinks is no big deal. In our opinion, this stinks of convention manipulation, delegate tampering, voter fraud, collusion and obstruction, and about any other bad name you can come up with. The final question is: Is this a criminal action or just a flagrant transgression of party rules that is worthy of expulsion? It could be considered voter fraud if someone comes in who doesn’t live in the precinct and they purposefully credential to be a delegate in that precinct. There are probably a few innocent individuals who are not aware of the rules, but a county chair and secretary?
When we have corrupt leadership, who’s watching out for the delegates and precincts? Even with innocent mistakes, who is the final authority? Is it the state party or is it the county party? Republicans emphasize local control, but when the local control is corrupt and telling district leaders that they don’t have to abide by rules and deadlines, who protected that delegate from being replaced. Who is protecting the disenfranchised delegate or the candidates? The candidates never had a chance to campaign and personally talk to her.
The Hannah Lockharts and Jeremy Roberts situations are a big deal because they signed in at the convention knowing that they didn’t live in those precincts and lived in another county. It is this faction of the party, the Brambles, Roberts, Lockharts, and Craigs, who have breached the rules and imposed their own rules.
Instead of defending the caucus process, they appear to be trying to destroy it by mocking the rules. When a county officer arbitrarily removes and replaces a delegate, without the authority of a precinct chair or by request of the delegate, we have taken away the will of the people and destroyed the intent and purpose of the caucus system. This is a bastardization of the process in Utah County and should be condemned by all citizens, delegates, local and state officials.
If corruption is going on in a county party, the state party has no process in place to protect the voice of the people in that precinct. There is no oversight.
The new Executive Director and his two paid employees round out the state party staff despite the Party’s very public financial debt and FEC violations.
If you were elected a state delegate in your precinct caucus, you should check the delegate list to verify you are still listed as a delegate. Your county chair may have put his friends in your place. We hope the state party officers and credentials committee for this weekend’s special convention will only seat delegates who were properly elected or appointed.
We invite any person(s) affected by caucus tampering, or any other issue, to message us and we will work to hold those accountable who are violating the systems integrity, and we will protect your identity
Constitution Article IV Officers and Delegates
Delegates to State and County Party Conventions shall attend both the Primary Convention and Organizing Convention to which they were elected or appointed. Delegates to the Utah State and Utah County Conventions shall be selected in accordance with law and this Constitution. The procedures for selecting these delegates shall be established by the Central Committee.
There is no provision that allows leaders to instruct other leaders, or to replace delegates because they could not be reach or inability to attend a convention.
URP Constitution Article XII County Parties
Constitution and Bylaws. Each County Party shall, by its central committee or its convention, adopt a Constitution and/or Bylaws, which shall govern its procedures, including the selection of those party officers, delegates, and representatives who represent only that county or its parts. Any provision of those documents that is contrary to state law or to a specific provision of this Constitution is null and void.
URP Constitution ARTICLE XII CAUCUS AND CONVENTION PROCEDURES
Section 1. Precinct Caucuses
If a delegate dies, resigns, or is disqualified prior to a county or state nominating or organizing convention, the County Party precinct chair shall appoint a replacement from the precinct of the deceased, resigned, or disqualified delegate. If precinct elected alternate delegates per Section 1.B. are available, the precinct chair shall appoint the alternate delegate.
Article XII Section 2.K. K.
Counties shall submit a current, updated, and final list of state delegates to the State Party no later than 5:00 p.m., five days before the state nominating convention.
UCRP Bylaw 9.B.
An Officer or Delegate who moves out of the geographic subdivision from which they were elected or appointed shall be considered to have resigned, de facto, and shall not continue in that office nor in any ex-officio positions associated with that office.
Written by The Utah Yaks
Who are the Utah Yaks? The Yaks are a group of individuals that get together now and then to investigate and shed light on people, groups and organizations that deserve public scrutiny. We observe journalistic standards. We document everything. We are aware of the extreme dangers of ‘outing’ corruption, fraud and inappropriate behavior in the public and business arena.
We consist of a Constitutional lawyer, a farmer, a poet, a entrepreneur, a artist, a defense lawyer, a musician, 3 members of the Utah GOP State Central Committee, 2 national delegates, 4 state delegates, 3 county delegates, and 3 writers.
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